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Essentials of Online Instruction for a Blended World

The skills built over the duration of a teaching career are impressive and vast. And as the field of education moves forward, deepening expertise in distance learning will continue to be top of mind. With Essentials of Online Instruction for a Blended World, individuals and teams gain research-based teaching strategies applicable to virtual and blended learning that will move students toward success today and in the years to come.


Why educators choose this course:

  • Rooted in research
    Designed specifically for secondary educators, the course is built on ACUE’s Effective Practice© framework and Dr. Robert J. Marzano’s The New Art and Science of Teaching framework. Together, these evidence-based frameworks are backed by more than five decades of research and work synergistically to prepare educators to provide student-centered virtual instruction.
  • Effective teaching in action
    This course is thoughtfully designed to model effective remote teaching practices in action. First, participants learn a specific set of strategies. Next, they are prompted to practice implementing the strategies in their own remote classrooms. Finally, they carefully review and reflect on the learning experience. When it comes to developing a new skill, this unique cycle of learning, practicing, and reflecting is unmatched.
  • Trusted expert guidance
    Taught by 14 nationally known experts, the course offers deep and meaningful insight from thought leaders who are living this work. Count on them to offer unique points of view and openly share what’s worked for them and why. With their guidance, educators acquire brand new remote teaching strategies along with practical ways to refine practices already in their toolkits.

Essentials of Online Instruction for a Blended World is comprised of six modules

Total Professional Learning Time: 12 Weeks, 15 hours

Each module includes:

  • An introduction to the area of study
  • Insights from nationally recognized experts in K-12 teaching and learning
  • Videos of current practitioners modeling best practices in online teaching
  • Opportunities for participants to select a practice, try it in their classroom, review their progress, and reflect on how the practice impacted teaching and student learning
  • A facilitator who provides feedback, manages online discussions, and scores the reflection assignments
  • Planning guides and resources so that teachers can immediately begin using strategies and best practices in their classrooms
  • Opportunities to learn and collaborate with a cohort of peers
Alex Kajitani

Module 1: Building Relationships

In this module, you will focus on two specific components of building relationships:

1. Using verbal and nonverbal behaviors that indicate affection for students

  • Send a welcome message and relevant materials prior to class
  • Open classes with an informal greeting
  • Use humor and friendly facial expressions

2. Understanding students’ backgrounds and interests

  • Develop learning profile surveys or interest inventories
  • Become familiar with student culture and integrate it into class when possible
  • Build student-to-student relationships
Woman working on module

Module 2: Maintaining Engagement

In this module, you will focus on three specific components of maintaining engagement:

1. Noticing and reacting when students are not engaged

  • Monitor individual student and overall class engagement
  • Successfully re-engage individual students
  • Boost overall class energy levels through movement or brain breaks

2. Maintaining a lively pace

  • Ensure instructional segments occur in a brisk, but unhurried, fashion
  • Speed up or slow down the pace to meet students’ engagement needs (synchronous)
  • Utilize motivational hooks (anecdotes, video clips, or other short attention-grabbing media) to spark students’ attention

3. Demonstrating intensity and enthusiasm

  • Approach content with excitement
  • Be fully present with students
Mona Tonchef

Module 3: Using Procedures

In this module, you will focus on three specific components:

1. Establishing procedures

  • Share the purpose and relevance of the procedure
  • Break down procedures into specific steps for clarity
  • Practice and repeat procedures as necessary
  • Check for clarity of the directions and procedures, and invite questions
  • Modify procedures with students

2. Acknowledging student adherence to procedures

  • Provide affirmation to students when they follow procedures

3. Demonstrating withitness

  • Be proactive by anticipating what could go wrong, and take action to avoid such scenarios
  • Organize course and content from a student’s point of view
  • Conduct a technology check
Woman working on module

Module 4: Delivering Initial Lessons

In this module, you will focus on two specific components of delivering initial lessons:

1. Prioritizing standards and providing clear learning goals

  • Choose essential standards for the unit
  • Clearly articulate learning goals for the unit or lesson
  • Ensure students understand and can articulate the learning goals

2. Previewing, chunking, and processing content

  • Activate students’ prior knowledge and engagement with “bell ringer” activities
  • Chunk content into short, standalone segments
  • Create opportunities for students to process content together
Jasmine Kullar

Module 5: Facilitating Student Practice and Application

In this module, you will focus on three specific components of facilitating student practice and application:

1. Using structured practice for skills, strategies, and processes

  • Use modeling
  • Provide practice opportunities and monitor progress

2. Engaging students in cognitively complex tasks

  • Utilize knowledge application tasks

3. Generating and defending claims

  • Assign activities for students to generate and support claims
Woman working on module

Module 6: Assessing and Providing Feedback

In this module, you will focus on three specific components of assessing and providing feedback:

1. Using informal assessments of the whole class

  • Use quick checks to gauge whole-class and individual student understanding
  • Use data to inform your instruction

2. Using formal assessments of individual students

  • Utilize common assessments
  • Assess through observations

3. Ensure your feedback is effective

  • Provide timely, targeted, and actionable feedback
  • Recognize both strengths and areas for improvement
  • Use student self-assessments

About Redwood Learning

A partnership between Solution Tree and ACUE, Redwood Learning represents both organizations’ ongoing commitment to providing educators with quality, efficacious training that leads to measurable increases in student learning.

Rooted in intentional learning design, Redwood Learning’s core focus is preparing educators to apply evidence-based teaching practices for the benefit of all students. Our web-based course design targets the research-based competencies and skills educators need to grow as teaching and learning professionals.

All Redwood Learning courses align to the evidence-based teaching competencies defined in ACUE’s Effective Practice Framework©. The Framework is a research-based consensus statement of the instructional skills and knowledge that educators should possess. It is based on decades of research from the scholarship of teaching and learning and discipline-based educational research. The Framework was independently reviewed and endorsed by the American Council on Education.

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What is the framework that the course design is built upon?
Developed by Dr. Robert J. Marzano, The New Art and Science of Teaching is a thoroughly researched instructional framework that details specific, proven actions educators can take to improve student learning outcomes. The course is also aligned to the Association of College and University Educators’ Effective Practice Framework©, a research-based and independently validated set of core instructional competencies embraced across higher education. For this course, the frameworks’ competencies include practices specific to a remote learning context.

How does the course work?
The course is provided online and managed by a facilitator who provides feedback, manages online discussions, and scores the reflection assignments. Facilitators communicate with participants approximately bi-weekly to introduce the week’s coursework, encourage participation, and share other cohort details. They also work with individual participants to help them stay on track and answer general course questions. Facilitators track the progress of the cohort, beginning with tracking acceptance to the course and continuing by monitoring progress through the modules. Since the first two weeks of the course are crucial for ensuring that all course-takers understand how to complete each module, facilitators often follow up with participants to make sure they submit complete reflections and know how to make adjustments when necessary.

From whom will I be learning in this course?
The courses were built with nationally recognized K-12 teaching and learning experts who contributed to the creation of high-quality demonstration videos, interviews with experts, teaching resources, and planning guides. Each class is managed by a facilitator from ACUE, with a strong knowledge of teaching and learning, who provides instructional feedback, manages online discussions, and scores the reflection assignments within the course. Facilitators are responsible for guiding course-takers through the microcredential.

How do you ensure course efficacy?
We offer expert-led online professional development through a research-based learning design shown to increase teacher efficacy and improve student outcomes.

How long does it take to complete one course?
The course has a defined start date and takes approximately 12 weeks to complete.

How many modules are in one course?
There are six modules in the Essentials of Online Instruction for a Blended World coursework.

How much time does each module take to complete?
Each module takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete. This includes 1 hour of logged-in course time and an additional 1 to 2 hours to try a practice in the classroom and reflect on implementation.

How many educators can I register from my school or district?
Each course includes up to 33 participants.

Can I register as an individual?
Yes, the course is available to individual registrants. You will be placed in a course with up to 32 other participants.

I want to be in a cohort with a colleague. Will you guarantee that we can go through the course together?
While we cannot guarantee positions in a cohort, we will do our best to accommodate special requests.

Can course participants earn microcredentials and CEUs?
Yes, course participants have the opportunity to earn microcredentials issued by Redwood Learning and endorsed by Solution Tree and ACUE. A certificate with 15 contact hours will be provided upon course completion. Continuing education credits are good for renewing teaching licenses in some states/provinces. The actual requirements vary by state. In some cases, even if they are not your state’s standard, CEUs can be converted into the unit that is prescribed. Please check with your state’s department of education to verify your state’s standards.

What organization backs the microcredentials?
Microcredentials are issued by Redwood Learning and endorsed by Solution Tree and ACUE.

What will I receive as I earn my microcredential?
Participants will receive a digital badge after successfully completing each module. Each course offers a culminating microcredential and badge which is delivered through Badger.

How might I utilize the badge I have earned?
Badge-earners use badges in different ways. Choose to download badge(s) to print, insert badges into your email signature, or share your achievement on social media.

Our district’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds are available. How might we use the funding for this course?
Our professional learning course, Essentials of Online Instruction for a Blended World, addresses the best strategies for equitable remote teaching and how to mitigate further student learning loss due to the pandemic. As the outcomes of this course are directly related to addressing effective remote instruction, possible ESSER I and ESSER 2 funds may be used to purchase and provision Essentials of Online Instruction for a Blended World to teachers now. Please review guidance from your state or school district office for details.

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