Online teaching credential programs with virtual student teaching- does this exist?

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by mdwolfsong, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    Let's face it; online learning is the present and the future. Since I caught wind of the possibility to study online, back in 1999, online learning has become much more accepted by the masses. In fact, you can get a teaching credential 100% online, but the student teaching component is still face-to-face. While I understand the issues at the K-12 level of wanting teachers to be 'highly qualified' by means of face-to-face internships and supervision, it doesn't make sense to me that the many online public K-12 schools want to hire traditionally credentialed folks to teach online K-12 classes. Does that make sense to you? The pedagogy for online learning is different than face-to-face learning. A professional preparation program geared specifically towards online K-12 licensure would make the online teachers more 'highly qualified' in my opinion. The idea would be that those credentialed to teach K-12 online classes could only teach online; not in face-to-face classes. Likewise, someone with a single subject credential for face-to-face classes would not be able to teach in the K-12 online classes. I have scoured the internet to try to find a program that is offering online student teaching as a component of their credentialing program to no avail. If you know of such a thing, please share!

    Thanks :)
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I know of no US state that allows student teaching internships to be completed through online teaching.
  3. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    I know, but it would be nice if they came out with a program, no? Thanks for the reply :)
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    As a teacher, I can tell you with certainty that there are no student teaching assignments that you can complete online. The purpose of student teaching is to give one experience with students. Anything but direct student teaching in a real classroom would be useless. You will never be able to get out of that one and still be credentialed by your state.
  5. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    I was hired under a provisional license back in fall of 2005, and my first year of teaching counted as student teaching. Still, I couldn't get a real license until that year was up. I can pretty much guarantee that all teachers would agree that you learn more in your time as a student teacher than you do reading textbooks about teaching. Experience in the classroom is extremely important.

  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    There is not substitute for experience. It would be like a doctor getting his internship online!
  7. AdjunctInstructor

    AdjunctInstructor New Member

    Very good point!
  8. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    Yes, but do you really think that the face-to-face teachers at the K-12 level have the experience to all of a sudden be given an online class, when they do not have any online teaching experience or training? My suggestion is not to credential people online only and then let them teaching in a face-to-face classroom. There are many obvious problems with that idea; rather, I was thinking that the online K-12 schools should seek some type of credential for their teachers that a person who wants to teach online only would be able to complete. The classroom management issues that someone else mentioned are not going to be the same in an online class as in a face-to-face class.
  9. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I think you should gain the expereince in the area you want to be credentialed in. One experience does not automatically qualify you to teach on another meduim.
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Online classes are mostly pre-formatted (canned) and do not require much technique from the teacher. The teacher would need good online communication skills and an indoctrination into the platform being used. These skills can be quickly learned in a few weeks of training, which instructors at most schools have to attend before they are given online classes.

    On the other hand, face-to-face teaching is a skill that takes most individuals a number of years to master and student teaching is an attempt to provide a head-start into that. It does not usually fully equip a teacher to handle a classroom, but it is still very important and it's a skill that develops slowly. Most new teachers struggle the first year or two. It's unthinkable to drop a teacher into a classroom with no experience. K - 12 teaching is something that seems easy to outsiders but the reality is that it is very difficult.

    Nobody is going to give you a credential or a job without at least a little experience. Matt was able to do it a few years ago, but things have changed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2011
  11. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    I was able to do it because the person they hired quit the week before school was supposed to start and they were hard up to find someone. I was lucky that the principal knew me (I was her morning office helped when I was in middle school) and she knew I had a degree in the subject area. My first year I really didn't know what the hell I was doing! However, that year was an excellent learning experience for me.

    There are other instances in which individuals do not student teach. We have career switcher programs which do not have traditional student teaching. They get hired in a way similar to the way I was and are assigned a teacher mentor to work with them. They also have a great deal of support from the college they go through.

    As for getting credentialed to teach online, since states are the ones who grant licenses to teachers, the states would have to create some sort of online teaching license for K-12 schools that are administered by the state. If the K-12 school isn't state accredited, I suppose it wouldn't matter. Then it would be a private school, and they don't have to follow the same regulations that state schools do. Heck, private schools in Virginia can hire people without degrees or licenses to teach whatever they want.

  12. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    "As for getting credentialed to teach online, since states are the ones who grant licenses to teachers , the states would have to create some sort of online teaching license for K-12 schools that are administered by the state."

    Yes! This is what I was getting at in the first place :)
  13. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    "Nobody is going to give you a credential or a job without at least a little experience. Matt was able to do it a few years ago, but things have changed."

    Yes, but traditional face-to-face teachers are given jobs with little to no experience. A few weeks, or a couple of months, of face-to-face student teaching experience hardly makes a person uber qualified. In fact, many public schools give teachers jobs who don't even have teaching certifications yet. My husband was hired many years ago without a valid state teaching certificate. They needed Spanish teachers, there was a shortage, he had a Bachelor's Degree and they hired him. A few years later, we went to Texas and he began teaching at a large school there. They were short on teachers and offered me a job; I didn't even have my Bachelor's Degree done at the time. This was a public school teaching job.

    Online classes are mostly pre-formatted (canned) and do not require much technique from the teacher . The teacher would need good online communication skills and an indoctrination into the platform being used. These skills can be quickly learned in a few weeks of training, which instructors at most schools have to attend before they are given online classes. "

    These statements are a bit offensive and I am not sure if you meant them that way. There is a wealth of pedagogy associated with online instruction. Solid empirical research backs the techniques that an online instructor uses when teaching a course. Just as an online instructor cannot just jump into a face-to-face teaching experience without proper training, I do not think a face-to-face teacher should be able to teach an online course without proper training as well.

    My original point was that I think states should come up with an online component to the K-12 teaching credential programs. People could train for both face-to-face and online credentials, or they could pick one or the other. If they only chose one, they would be limited to that delivery format in terms of teaching prospects.
  14. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    Do you think there are enough state run online K-12 schools to warrant the creation of some sort of licensure endorsement? I'm still not sure I'm on board with your thoughts that a traditionally licensed teacher couldn't just jump into online teaching. Many teacher-ed programs are actually incorporating more technology-based courses and pedagogy. My program with Walden, though it wasn't a licensure program, sure did.

  15. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    No offense meant, sorry if it was offensive. Do you teach now? If so, what format do you currently teach?

    As for the statement about not getting work if you don't have the experience, you reply that credential graduates are not qualified to teach and their student teaching does not prepare them adequately. I would concur with you on this. That, however, does not change the fact that, in general, you will not be hired without it. Matt brings up a few exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions to the general rule.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2011
  16. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    @Matt- Yes, I do think there are enough state-run online k-12 programs to warrant a bit of restructuring as far as teacher licensure goes. I still am not quite on board with the idea that online teaching is something that "anyone" can do. There is a great deal of empirical research going on about online teaching and a strong pedagogy behind it. There are also entire degree programs dedicated to the craft, so I do not think it is something that a face-to-face teacher could do well by just taking one course in Educational Technology, or the like. I just finished the Online Teaching Post-Master's Grad. Cert. program at Walden and I do think a program like that is something an online instructor needs to take. I opted to take this program even though I have been teaching online since 2008 because I wanted the credentialing to back my experience. What I don't understand is why, at the K-12 level, a similar certificate is not being demanded, or issued.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this issue :)
  17. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    @ SurfDoctor- Yes, I do teach online (Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Orientation Gen Ed classes, Career Counseling classes, since 2008) and taught face-to-face classes for 7 years before that; however, I taught overseas. Thus, my face-to-face teaching experience is not recognized by the K-12 public schools here in California. Everyone has to start somewhere and I do not mean to get down on new teachers coming straight out of programs; we have all been a newbie at one time. I just think that the attitudes in the world of education about the caliber of online instruction need to become a bit more refined. No one wants unprepared teachers in face-to-face classes; so why is this acceptable in an online class? Is a two week, company paid, training program really enough? Is a class in a traditional credentialing program about Educational Technology really enough? I got started teaching online as an online TA. I learned a great deal in that first year; information above and beyond the training session. There are techniques that online instructors need to employ in order to create a student-centered learning experience. The job is not just about saying 'hi' in a discussion board and grading papers. People leave online programs because they do not feel that 'human presence' from the instructor. Online teaching programs help would-be instructors learn how to convey that 'human element' and keep students engaged. Also, if the facilitation of the discussion boards is done correctly, the instructor is actually pulling in empirical research to enhance his/her responses to students' posts.

    Thank you for your dialogue on this topic :)
  18. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    I would contend that the issue is the use of discussion boards themselves.

    IMO, it is not an effective replacement for in-class discussion for a few reasons:

    1) Everyone usually responds to the same prompt. How many classroom discussions have twenty people all answer the exact same question?

    2) Requirements tend to be quantitatively-focused. Did you make the word count? Did you cite the proper number of sources? Did you reply a sufficient number of times? Even in qualitative assessment, the use of rubrics has the potential to reduce a post to a matter of checking boxes.

    3) Discussions are artificial. I've participated in a number of discussion boards that required essay-style responses to prompts. The problem is that people do not generally interact in essay form. There is a place for formal response to essays, but I highly doubt anyone would use this as a substitute for in-class discussion in a brick and mortar environment.

    4) Online discussion boards may discourage risk-taking. There are times when I would like to throw some "fuel on the fire" in a discussion board, but I regularly choose not to do so because it is not worth the risk to my grade. In an in-classroom discussion, I will sometimes raise controversial and/or minority-opinion positions on a given subject to stimulate discussion. I don't necessarily have the time or inclination to do so when it would require me to compose the equivalent of a two-page essay on the topic, especially when it is only fodder for discussion. I can simply compose my standard response and receive my grade.

    5) Not everyone has a relevant opinion on every topic. There is this wonderful ability in a B&M classroom to sit down, to shut up, and to take in the subject matter. There have been times when I did not fully understand a topic, but, through listening to discussion, I began to grasp the relevant concepts. I did not have to put in my two cents before I knew what my two cents were.
  19. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    I would also add that Discussion Boards are usually asychronous, whereas real discussion is not. Sitting in a classroom with peers and having a real discussion just cannot be replaced by an online discussion board. It's a good attempt, sure, but it's just not the same. The real time aspect of discussion has a certain zing to it that, in my opinion, gives the discussion more credibility. Now there are some online programs that DO require real time discussion. I have not experienced one of those, however, so I can't speak to its effectiveness.

  20. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you for this information about online instructors. I have now taken 26 online classes and rarely, if ever, had an instructor who does the things you speak of. Most are just paper graders. It's because of this I'll admit that, at first, I thought your idea about online credentialing was superfluous. But you are convincing me and I am beginning to see the light.

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