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EdX Launching MOOCs with Free Certificates for Teacher Training and AP Prep

MOOC nonprofit edX has signed on for ConnectED, the White House's program to connect "99 percent" of America's students to broadband and high-speed wireless in schools and libraries and improve the skills of teachers through the use of technology. The announcement came during remarks made by President Obama during a ConnectED event that draw superintendents from districts all over the country, which took place this week in Washington, D.C.

edX AP Biology prep

One of edX's AP Biology prep courses

EdX delivers open, online massive courses developed by MIT, Harvard, the University of California, Berkeley and other institutions. EdX partner universities and colleges will offer professional development courses to teachers and advanced placement exam preparation courses to students. Both programs will also incorporate free "verified" certificates; courses will be open for registration through edX over the next year.

As Obama noted in his remarks to the group, "EdX has already offered its advanced placement level courses for free. Now it's making the certification for those courses free as well. If you're a student who has mastered the material but can't afford the certification that proves [it], edX will provide it. They're offering more than a dozen training courses to teachers nationwide for free."

The teacher certificates will be issued for one year to all U.S. teachers who pass one of the teacher training courses. That will be extended for an additional four years for Title I teachers and others in high-need districts. Classes will train teachers on the use of technology in the classroom, teaching in a blended environment, and learning theory and leadership.

Those classes will be available from Boston University, Davidson College, Teachers College at Columbia University and six other universities.

The organization is also pursuing students in high-need and rural school districts around the country to take courses to help them prepare for advanced placement exams. Over the next five years students will be able to earn free, verified certificates in 40 different courses. AP prep MOOCs will be made available by the Cooper Union, Tennessee Board of Regents, Rice University and five other institutions.

"EdX and our university partners are pleased to stand with President Obama to offer U.S. teachers and school districts free, innovative resources to improve teaching and learning outcomes," said edX CEO Anant Agarwal. "These courses will empower teachers to use technology in the classroom in creative and personalized ways."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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