Online Teaching Courses Find the best online classes in education and teaching

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Kathy
Dr. Kathy Swanis Dr. Kathy Swanis a professor of curriculum and instruction…Read full bio

Teachers are given the unique opportunity to challenge themselves while directly impacting the lives of others through education. With the constant evolution of technology, it is becoming more convenient for aspiring teachers to enroll in open online courses that provide a flexible way to learn new skills and excel in the field. Those interested in learning more about a profession in teaching can use this guide to learn more about online education and teaching courses, where to find them and resources to help them find the best courses for their needs.

Find the Right Online Teaching Course for You

The increasing number of online teaching courses can be somewhat overwhelming at first. In order to alleviate some of the stress associated with this process, students can use the search tool below to help them find their ideal online teaching classes by filtering through price, course length, institution and start date.

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Explore Options for Online Teaching Classes

Online teaching courses target different target levels of learners. Those who are currently teachers can benefit from an online certificate or informational course to learn new classroom strategies and build their resumes. Additionally, those currently pursuing their teaching degree might consider a for-credit course to put towards their degree and gain additional classroom skills. The table below breaks down the most common types of online teaching courses.

Certificate For-credit Informational
Description
Certificates are awarded to students who complete the course with a high enough success rate. They can look good on a resume when applying to university programs or teaching jobs. Some online teaching courses offer college credit. These courses are usually offered by universities and generally cost the same as college courses. Informational courses are an excellent way to learn new teaching skills, but they do not award certificates to show your completion. These courses are usually free.
Who takes this type of course?
Established teachers looking to learn new teaching techniques or specialize in new subjects Students in teaching programs at a university looking to earn their degree. Anyone interested in education or considering a career in teaching.

10 Must-Take Online Teaching Courses

In the search for the best online teaching programs, it can be tricky to tell quality, comprehensive programs apart from ones that are not as useful. The top 10 online teaching courses listed below range from general technique for new teachers to innovative strategies for seasoned educators.

Diploma in Teaching Skills for Educators
  • Offered by: ALISON
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 0-15 hours
  • Format: Slideshows
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

An introductory course to help teachers keep students engaged in learning. This will give educators the tools to handle students’ individual needs to promote academic success. This course will help teachers keep their students focused and motivated.

Introduction to Art and Activity
  • Offered by: The Museum of Modern Art via Coursera
  • Price: Audit: Free. Certificate: $45
  • Length: Four weeks
  • Format: Video, quizzes, final project, online discussion forums
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course emphasizes hands-on learning and uses creative activities to make every lesson memorable. The emphasis here is teaching students to creatively express their own unique ideas. The course focuses on artwork, but the activities are applicable to any subject, even math and science.

Introduction to Family Engagement in Education
  • Offered by: HarvardX via edX
  • Price: Free. Certificate: $70
  • Length: Six weeks, 2-4 hours/week
  • Format: Video
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

Students do better in school when their families are involved in their education. This course shows what teachers can do to get families and schools working together. With a focus in community engagement, this course is for teachers who want to make big change.

The Science of Learning–What Every Teacher Should Know
  • Offered by: Teachers College at Columbia University via edX
  • Price: Audit: Free. Certificate: $49.
  • Length: Four weeks, 2-4 hours/week
  • Format: Video
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course shows how knowledge happens. Educators will learn strategies that help information stick with students, as well as tips for giving students motivation and interest to be life-long learners.

Learning Differences
  • Offered by: Friday Institute
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Six weeks
  • Format: Video, downloadable PDFs, peer-review
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course helps teachers recognize students’ specific academic strengths and weaknesses. Teachers will learn strategies for bringing out the best in students while keeping their best interests in mind.

Disciplinary Literacy for Deeper Learning
  • Offered by: Friday Institute
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Six weeks
  • Format: Video, downloadable PDFs, peer-review
  • Eligible for college credit?:No

Reading and writing can benefit students across disciplines. This course shows teachers how to encourage and improve their students’ literacy skills in all subjects.

Design and Development Games for Learning
  • Offered by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
  • Price: Audit: Free. Certificate: $99
  • Length: 9 weeks, 6-10 hours per week
  • Format: Video, downloadable PDFs, peer-review, Gameblox game editor
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This course gives teachers a fun and exciting resource to teach their students more difficult subjects through video games. At the end of this course, teachers will have created their own academic video game for in-classroom use.

Working with Students with Special Education Needs
  • Offered by: ALISON
  • Price: Free. Certificate: $23 and up
  • Length: 2-3 hours
  • Format: Html slideshows, downloadable PDFs
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

This is an introduction to special education that helps teachers recognize differences in special education students’ needs and how to best help these students learn.

Effective Teaching Strategies for Biology
  • Offered by: TrinityX via edX
  • Price: Free
  • Length: Four weeks at 4 hours/week
  • Format: Video, downloadable PDFs
  • Eligible for college credit?: No

While this course mainly focused on biology, the content can be easily applied to other topics. Educators will learn how to write their own learning objectives and how to structure their class to meet those goals.

3 Key Advantages to Taking Online Teaching Courses

Online teaching courses can be of interest to seasoned academic professionals or those aspiring to work and excel in a teaching position. The following details the main benefits of enrolling in an online teaching course:

1 Discover New Teaching Strategies

Although teaching is not necessarily a new profession, the methods and procedures are constantly evolving. Online teaching courses can help new and experienced teachers be aware of developing strategies, concepts, and technology integration in their field. By continuing their education through online courses, teachers can increase their effectiveness as educators which, in turn, benefits their students by being able to recognize and attend to their needs.

2 Increase Expertise

Online teaching courses can give experienced and aspiring educators an advantage when pursuing their careers. For aspiring teachers, online courses can advance their degree completion, give them further experience, and prove their commitment as a teacher. Those who are already employed teachers can hone their preexisting teaching skills. Online courses can help all levels gain necessary experience to become more employable and effective teachers.

3 Expand Knowledge of Teaching Subject-Matter

Teachers of all levels from elementary school up through university are tasked with keeping up-to-date with the subject matters they teach. A communications professor should read up on the newest media literacy theories, while a middle school biology teacher should familiarize herself with the latest advances in genetics research to be able to instruct their students. Taking online courses in the subjects they teach can help teachers stay on top of the latest trends, knowledge and discoveries in their fields.

Essential Apps & Podcasts for Teachers

Apps

Incorporating technology into daily curricula can prove to be a valuable tool for teachers, students and families. These apps can help teachers keep grades, feedback and other responsibilities organized while providing a platform for increased student and family engagement both at home and in the classroom. These free apps are a good place for educators to begin incorporating technology into their classrooms:

Class Dojo

Free
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Class Dojo

This app helps teachers keep parents involved in their kids’ educations. ClassDojo essentially manages multimedia report cards that can be kept up to date in real time. Teachers keep parents in the loop with class videos, pictures and announcements.

Showbie Paperless Classroom

Free
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Showbie Paperless Classroom

Showbie is a platform for digitally sharing documents in your classroom. Any reading material you want to share is easily distributed electronically and can be edited and notated in real time. You can also grade, make comments and return homework to students.

Lesson Plan Ideas

Free
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Lesson Plan Ideas

Lesson Plan Ideas is a community for educators to share their teaching innovations or access lesson plans provided by other teachers. Teachers are able to upload and access their own and peer’s lesson plans.

Socrative

Free
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Socrative

Socrative is a great in-class gauge and record-keeping app for how well students are understanding. Keep track of what areas in the lesson plan need more attention next class, as well as which students perked up for which subjects.

Common Core

Free
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Common Core

Keeping up with the common core can be a challenging necessity. Students need to meet common core standards in order to graduate. This app helps teachers keep common core standards organized in order to keep students on track for graduation.

Podcasts

Teachers can sometimes find themselves going through their daily routine without excitement and motivation. Academic podcasts are a great way for teachers to regain their enthusiasm while hearing about new teaching methods, self-care practices, and the perspectives of other educators.

Infinite Thinking Machine Ramsey Musallam and Michelle Cordy Recent Episode to Try: Mechatronics

A video podcast that looks at new opportunities for educators by detailing novel ways for teachers to direct their classroom. This podcast is a great resource for teachers who are seeking alternative teaching methods.

A.T.TIPSCast. Christopher Bugaj Recent Episode to Try: The Cornerstone of Language

The Assistive Technology Tools in Public Schools (A.T.TIPS) podcast a good resource for teachers seeking to incorporate technology into their curricula. The A.T.TIPS podcast reviews various technological programs and how to best use them in the classroom.

Talks With Teachers Brian Sztabnik Recent Episode to Try: Jodi Rice

Each podcast is a profile on a different educator and their experiences with teaching. This podcast provides specific life details useful to anyone already teaching or thinking about entering into an online teaching program.

Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers provides teachers with a weekly podcast that shares encouraging and highly-relatable stories for teachers who are working with urban or low-income institutions. This is a good podcast for those interested in personal teacher stories.

In this podcast, teachers are encouraged to incorporate technology into their classroom and lesson plans while stressing the importance of students’ digital literacy. Moving at the Speed of Creativity is a great podcast for teachers who are confused or uncertain about technology in the classroom.

From the Expert: Benefits to Online Teaching Courses

What advantages do you see to taking online courses in education?
Kathy Dr. Kathy Swanis

For practicing teachers who are quite busy, these online experiences keep them academically engaged and inspired by new ideas. These courses are very flexible and focused around topics that teachers opt into. Ultimately, online opportunities provide teachers affordable and flexible options for professional learning.

Would you recommend taking online courses to someone just beginning their career in teaching?
Kathy Dr. Kathy Swanis

When it comes to pre-service teacher education, I am pretty old fashioned about apprenticing face-to-face with methods professors and cooperating teachers. With that said, online courses, like the EdX course I am currently teaching can augment traditional teacher education to provide expertise that’s needed or to help build up student’s understanding of a particular skill or content focus.

How can online classes in education help teachers currently in the profession?
Kathy Dr. Kathy Swanis

As I said before, practicing teachers need realistic options for continuing their education and staying inspired by ideas. Online education can help to overcome some of the practical barriers and allow teachers to explore new research, instructional techniques, curricular models that help us all stay fresh in our practice.

Do you think with a student’s access to pick and choose from so many different online courses (offered by universities and institutions from all over the world) will give the student a more rounded teaching education than if they only took classes from one university?
Kathy Dr. Kathy Swanis

Having access to professors across the country (and globally) is one of the greatest strengths of online education—we aren’t restricted by locale. The last time we ran our EdX course for the Smithsonian, Teaching Inquiry with Historical Objects, we had 3,000 students take the six week course from all over the United States (Maine to Hawaii) and from the UK, India, and Germany. For social studies, in particular, it doesn’t get better than that!