Five Benefits of Online Learning for Teachers

Students are living in a global world. Teachers must be prepared and online learning can help. Photo: iStockPhoto

In recent years, technology has offered educators the opportunity to benefit from online professional development and continuing education. As more of our work becomes digitized, it is important to understand the many benefits of online learning. Here are a few to consider:

1. Flexibility: The one thing educators need more of is a flexible way to gain the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs better. Online learning encourages this by offering a variety of schedules and times for asynchronous and synchronous learning. Courses can be taken from the comfort of one’s own home, or during time off from work.

2. Continuous Reinforcement of Content and Skills: Unlike one-day workshops, online courses offer on-going opportunities to learn new content and skills, thus providing the time for educators to receive continuous support to help master specific skills.

3. Real World Application of Theory: Through the use of multimedia - including chat rooms, video, and interactivity – educators can begin to see how particular educational theories can come to life in the classroom. By demonstrating specific practices through the use of video, theory can come to life.

4. Save Time: Time is one of the most precious commodities for educators. By eliminating the need to commute to a university during evenings and weekends, educators can spend more time on learning concepts than traveling to class.

5. CEU and College Credit: Many online learning opportunities provide specific means to calculate professional development hours. This convenience can help educators “climb the ladder” of success in a convenient way.

The Global Competence Certificate Program (GCC) is the premier, online, graduate-level certificate program in global competence education for in-service educators that provides all of the benefits described above. The GCC is designed to increase the number of K-12 teachers who are able to teach for global competence, and effectively prepare students to be globally informed, engaged citizens. Developed by leading experts in the field of global competence education — Teachers College, Columbia University, World Savvy, and Asia Society — and taught by renowned educators, the Global Competence Certificate program addresses a critical need faced by schools and educators to prepare students with the real world skills that they need to succeed in a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. The program is available for 12 graduate credits or 48 continuing education units (CEUs).

The program is comprised of 3 specific components:

1. Online Academic Coursework (three interrelated elements):
Think: Courses that promote learning about the world as an interdependent system; the relationship between humans, non-human animals and the environment; and ongoing efforts to teach for comity, justice, and sustainability (e.g., global education)
Learn: Courses that promote learning about human rights, urbanization, poverty, global economy, supranational political structures, and aesthetic experience
Do: Courses related to curriculum, pedagogy, and instructional practices, including digital learning, inquiry-based learning, discussion leadership, public pedagogy (e.g., museums/community spaces)

2. Fieldwork: Participants engage in two to three weeks of domestic or international fieldwork with partner institutions from across the globe to extend and deepen their learning and apply core understandings in a practical way. Countries include: Uganda, Ecuador, Colombia, and Bangladesh.

3. Collaborative Practice Groups: Participants will work collaboratively in small cohorts to develop a capstone project that supports implementation of global competence education. This component is designed as a capstone project to enable participants to apply key learning and insights that they have developed through course and fieldwork experience. In an online space, participants are matched in an interdisciplinary cohort and are encouraged to pursue interests developed during their Global Competence Certificate studies. All projects and resources will be collected in an open-source library to grow the collective body of work dedicated to global competence and internationalization.

Students can apply for cohorts starting in June, September, or January.

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