Friday, March 25, 2011
CUE's Certification program
In case you've missed the announcement, CUE, along with ISTE, iNACOL and 15 other organizations are creating something they're calling the Leading Edge Certification for online teachers. Michael Barbour in Virtual School Meanderings has the announcement that was posted in the iNACOL forum, my quick comment, and a longer more nuanced and thoughtful comment of his own.
I find it interesting that these folks are so willing to use the term certification to describe their program. I don't know if it's arrogance or marketing. In the late 1990s I was working with a colleague at University of Virginia to develop an online education program to prepare online teachers. It was clearly not a certification program because, at the time, there were no online teaching certifications for any states.
The program was offered through the Continuing Ed program because the School of Ed wasn't interested, so it wasn't offered as a Master's program or with connections to an existing degree program. That is a concern which Michael raised about these types of prgrams in general, and one I do agree with. (We do frequently agree) But, UVA was very careful about what the program was to be called because it wasn't a program connected to a degree, nor was it a program that lead to a (state issued licensure) certification.
For anyone who's interested in becoming an online teacher, follow Michael's warnings about selecting a program, and I have an additional concern. The leading virtual education programs created their own teacher preparation programs because there weren't online teacher education programs available; because they wanted a program that prepared teachers for their particular program, their particular pedagogy, and that was built to support their particular policies.
Other than the VHS program with Plymouth State, and a program in Florida connected with the Florida Virtual School, any online teacher training programs are generic. Michael should know more about the focus of some of these programs than I do, but I know, from helping to think about the UVA program, that there's not enough time to develop a good understanding of all the different pedagogies that can be found in the range of online education programs, so the choice is either to be narrow, or only provide a taste. That's not worthy of certification in my opinion.