Vanderbilt to offer free online teacher courses

Peabody partnering with Coursera

Vanderbilt University, through its graduate education school Peabody College, has formed a partnership with a fast-growing online education provider to offer free professional development course for teachers.

The online courses will let PreK-12 teachers across the country take a professional development course from Vanderbilt University faculty in 2014 via the university’s partnership with the massive online open course provider Coursera.

“Teacher professional development is one of the thorniest challenges in PreK-12 education. Teaching suffers because teachers lack the necessary networks of professional support as well as access to new knowledge based on research,” said Camilla Benbow, the Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development. “The partnership with Coursera will enable teachers to learn from scholars at leading education schools and to support each other better in strengthening their teaching skills.”

In addition to VU, six other schools will offer free teacher professional development courses through Coursera as part of a new initiative. They are the University of Washington; the University of Virginia; Johns Hopkins University; Match Education’s Sposato School of Education; the Relay Graduate School of Education and the University of California-Irvine Extension.

Peabody’s four-week course will be offered starting in January and will explore how teachers can capitalize on the ideas, perceptions and misunderstandings students bring to the classroom to advance the learning of all students in the class. Registration and course materials are free. Anyone can take the course, but it is especially geared for teachers who are already in the classroom.