FutureLearn, the global leader in online social learning, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the leading voice on educator preparation in the US, are partnering to offer educators across the globe free, world-class training in assessment, accreditation and program improvement.
The online courses are aimed at teacher educators and K12 professionals looking to develop their skills, improve their practice and document evidence for quality assurance. The partnership is launching with two courses, with more slated for rollout later in the year. The first free three-week course, “Designing Assessments to Measure Student Outcomes,” teaches participants to create local assessment instruments that are valid, reliable and fair; use rubrics and surveys effectively; and become familiar with assessment models in use around the world. The second course, “Using Data to Improve Student Outcomes,” helps educators to understand and act on data in order to target interventions to enhance student learning. Within the course, learners focus on different aspects of data, identifying sources and interpreting them to establish actions for improvement.
“AACTE is excited to partner with FutureLearn to deliver high-quality online learning to not only our members but educators worldwide,” said Sharon Robinson, President and CEO of AACTE. “Already, the first run of the course on designing assessments has demonstrated the power of the FutureLearn approach, bringing thousands of professionals together to interact and learn from each other with high levels of social engagement. These courses are a key component of AACTE’s Quality Support Center, which boosts educator preparation programs’ effective use of data and assessment to document success and drive improvement.”
FutureLearn is very proud to work with a wide range of world-class universities, corporations and membership organisations to offer learners of all backgrounds, age and aspiration the chance to increase their skills and cultivate their opportunities – Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn
Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said: “FutureLearn is very proud to work with a wide range of world-class universities, corporations and membership organisations to offer learners of all backgrounds, age and aspiration the chance to increase their skills and cultivate their opportunities. We are thrilled to be working with AACTE to combine their impressive high-quality education programs with our social learning methodology, to be able to build the effectiveness of teachers all over the world, multiplying the impact of this essential sector.”
The FutureLearn approach is based on a social learning pedagogy that is designed to support learning through conversation on a platform with an award-winning user experience that works on any device with internet access. Its courses can reach huge scale, the largest so far being the British Council’s course, “Understanding the International English Language Testing System,” which attracted learners from more than 150 countries, including large areas of the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Over 1.5 million people have enrolled in this course across five runs.
AACTE’s assessment course launched in late January and has just completed its three-week run, but remains open for learners to continue interacting. This initial course attracted around 5,400 enrolments with learners posting over 6,000 comments on the course forums to date. hanks to the FutureLearn platform design, participants were able to both access the full learning community and create smaller conversation groups by “following” other learners of their choice. Although designed primarily for teacher educators, the course drew enrolments from educators and quality-assurance professionals spanning many fields.
Learner Matt Broadhead from the UK commented: “I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and look forward to enrolling in future courses with FutureLearn. I feel that I have learned a lot during the three weeks (of AACTE’s course) and have designed a new rubric last week for summative assessment of a furniture-making course. Thank you for the experience and to all that have provided feedback. I have enjoyed the insight from teachers outside of the UK.”
Like all FutureLearn courses, AACTE’s online seminars are free, or there is the option to upgrade for £59 to get extra benefits. The two introductory courses will be repeated regularly, and a program of four additional courses is planned for later in 2017 focused on accreditation.