Just a quick announcement, folks -
CUE, along with iNACOL, ISTE and 15 other nonprofit, university and governmental groups, announced a program to certify educators beginning with online teachers at the CUE Conference last week in Palm Springs.
The program, called Leading Edge Certification, will be national in scope, and will launch in July of this year. Lainie Rowell is the coordinator of the project, and Allison Powell of iNACOL has assisted in its development. It is led by an Alliance of the groups referenced above, gathered by CUE over the last 10 months.
iNACOL standards are the basis for the curriculum, and participants will create an online portfolio to demonstrate completion of certification requirements. Future certifications will focus on classroom/hybrid teachers, administrators, librarians and professional developers, but all flavors are being developed for face-to-face, online and hybrid delivery.
More details will be included in the official press release, going out tomorrow, but I wanted iNACOL members aware of the program prior to that announcement.
If your organization is interested in joining the effort, and providing training that would lead to certification, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
More info: http://www.leadingedgecertification.org
Executive Director, CUE
Immediately following the announcement, my good friend Ray Rose (also known as the e-Learning Evangelist) asked:
The term “Certification” is interesting. Certification is most often associated with the formal “teacher certification” which is teacher licensure provided by individual states. Are any SEAs part of this effort or is this actually a certificate program, providing courses that lead not to a degree but a certificate showing participation in a program with a specific focus?
Personally, I would add a couple of questions beyond Ray’s confusion about the term certification. I’d ask what is the value of this kind of certification? The announcement indicates that the certification will be based on the iNACOL standards. Standards which have not be validated and have not had any published research to support them (see CIDER – Validation Study: Online Learner Competencies for a discussion of this issue).
Beyond the issue of basing a program on standards that have yet to be proven reliable or valid, I still ask what is the real value of this? Does it lead to any kind of endorsement to a teacher’s state-based certification? This is an important question. For example, there is an online teaching endorsement in the State of Georgia and at present both at Georgia State University program and Valdosta State University offer graduate level courses that would lead to this endorsement. Why would an online teacher in Georgia opt for the Leading Edge Certification when it gives them nothing in the State of Georgia beyond a line on the resume and a meaningless piece of paper. In the State of Michigan the online teaching and learning standards make up approximately half of the standards in the educational technology (NP) endorsement. Most instructional technology programs in Michigan, including my own at Wayne State University, offer Master’s and Educational Specialist’s degree programs that allow students to meet this endorsement. Why would an online teacher in Michigan choose the Leading Edge Certification over one of these programs?
Beyond the issue of it not leading to any additional endorsement to their teacher certification, I still ask what is the real value of this? For example, can it be used towards a Master’s, Educational Specialist’s or doctoral degree at any university? As I read through this I’m reminded of a conversation that I had with a statewide virtual school about three years ago when we were first planning out our Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching at Wayne State University. We had started having discussions about a joint certificate program, similar to the partnership that Virtual High School has with their Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning that they have with Endicott College or Plymouth State University. Instead this virtual school opted for these five to six week courses that they offered and upon completion of several of them (I believe it was three or five) they awarded a certificate or some sort. Why would an online teacher take one of these glorified online professional development opportunities, at roughly the same price per time commitment, as opposed to taking courses that lead to a university certificate and can also be used towards a Master’s, Educational Specialist’s or doctoral degree?
The bottom line is what does this new online teacher certification actually achieve? As I see it, potentially a stream of revenue for those organizations involved… But not much more!