Professional Certificate in Online Education


PCOE at-a-glance

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When: Starts Sept 16, 2014

Cost: $1,295

Continuing education units: 7 CEUs (70 hours)

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The Professional Certificate in Online Education (PCOE) will help you apply proven strategies to enhance your knowledge, skill, and credibility in teaching online.

Key topics:

  • Contextual factors of online education
  • Essential teaching and learning principles for online environments
  • Effects of technology on education at a distance
  • Writing learning objectives, creating online activities and designing online assessments

The certificate culminates in an ePortfolio in which you will demonstrate your skills in planning online learning and making sound instructional design decisions.

Why earn the PCOE?

Practical: This totally online, flexible certificate prepares you with foundational knowledge, understandings and skills that are essential for any instructor or designer working in online environments. You can begin applying new knowledge and skills immediately.

High quality: The certificate models a principles-to-practice approach. Course content reflects only the most reliable, research-based knowledge in the field of online education, which is then translated into practical strategies for instructors and designers.

Personalized: In course-based assignments, you will apply new knowledge and skills to your own teaching or design needs, reflecting your unique students, subject area, and context. You will create several tangible products that can be immediately applied within your professional context.

Marketable: Your certificate ePortfolio serves as a demonstration of your knowledge and skills in online education, which can be shared with current or potential employers or supervisors.

Expert feedback: DEPD instructional staff, experts in online education, provide feedback on your ePortfolio and are available for consultation during your certificate program coursework.

Professional community: Collaborative courses provide a way of making connections with other professionals in the field.

How the PCOE works

Start-up coursework: 3 weeks, self-paced
Approximately 10 hours of coursework at your own pace during the first 3 weeks of the certificate in 099 Certificate Orientation and 100 The Changing Landscape of Online Education.

Asynchronous, scheduled course: 101 Basics of Online Learning and Teaching, 6 weeks
A scheduled, collaborative, asynchronous course requiring approximately 4-5 hours per week. In this course you will interact with other learners through discussions and group activities.

Self-paced coursework: 4-5 months (summer accelerated: 2.5 months)
Approximately 30 hours of coursework at your own pace in the remaining certificate courses (listed in recommended order):

  • 200 Writing Objectives for Online Learning
  • 300 Basics of Online Assessment
  • 103 Basics of Instructional Design for Online Learning
  • 350 Basics of Online Discussions
  • 500 Learning ePortfolio

Course Descriptions

099 Certificate Orientation

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 5 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to beginning 101

This course orients participants to the certificate program, its requirements, technologies that will be used, program policies, and the role of DEPD instructional staff. In doing so it also models one way to provide support for learners in online programs. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Self-assess their own readiness for online learning and prepare strategies to address any gaps
  • Craft and articulate their own goals for the program
  • Make necessary technological preparations and explore technological help resources
  • Choose an ePortfolio platform and create an ePortfolio entry

100 The Changing Landscape of Online Education

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 5 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to 101

This course provides a brief overview of the past, present and future of online education, including current trends that are impacting the evolution of the field. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Explore examples of online education (courses, trainings, programs, etc.)
  • Review resources about online education that pertain to their own context
  • Reflect on their own or their institution’s relationship to the changing landscape of online education

101 Basics of Online Learning and Teaching

  • Asynchronous, scheduled, collaborative, cohort-based
  • Estimated time required: 4-5 hours per week

This course provides essential understandings about how people learn, the effects of distance on the online learner and the implications of these effects for teaching and designing online courses. Learning theories and frameworks are reinterpreted for the online environment. The competencies needed by online teachers and students, the role of interaction and active learning at a distance, and strategies for effective design and instruction online will be addressed. All required course activities and assignments must be completed by April 14, 2014. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Engage in small group activities with other course participants
  • Complete reflection exercises
  • Begin articulating an approach to teaching or designing for online learning
  • Create a course product

103 Basics of Instructional Design for Online Learning

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 10 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to program deadline

This course presents the key components and methods of the process of designing instruction, and it demonstrates how to apply a systematic, problem-solving approach to planning and designing learning experiences. Emphasis is placed on a model that provides guidance through five phases of the instructional design process: analysis, design/development, implementation, evaluation, and quality control. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Follow a case study through the five phases of instructional design
  • Apply the 5 phases to a personalized design project

200 Writing Objectives for Online Learning

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 5 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to program deadline

This course addresses the role of learning objectives in enhancing the effectiveness of instruction in online learning. It introduces criteria for high quality learning objectives and methods for creating objectives that promote higher order thinking skills. Attention is given to how the online context affects the construction of learning objectives and to the importance of alignment of objectives in improving course design. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Complete practice activities for assessing and creating objectives for online learning
  • Draft and refine learning objectives for an online course

300 Basics of Online Assessment

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 10 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to program deadline

This course introduces major concepts, methods, issues, and strategies involved in assessing student learning in online environments. Special emphasis is given to designing an assessment plan that fits the learning objectives. Planning considerations and strategies for selecting appropriate assessment methods are discussed, leaving the learner with a variety of practical ideas to develop and implement effective assessment approaches in the online environment. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Complete interactive tutorials
  • Begin designing an assessment plan

350 Basics of Online Discussions

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 5 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to program deadline

This course introduces a variety of practical strategies for designing and managing online discussions to improve participation, address potential challenges, and promote a sense of community. The course provides a basic skill set as core knowledge that can be applied to designing discussion assignments. In addition to reviewing course content, learners will:

  • Engage in reflection and automated practice activities
  • Begin designing a discussion assignment

500 Learning ePortfolio

  • Self-paced
  • Estimated time required: 5-10 hours
  • Deadline for completion: prior to program deadline

In this course, learners synthesize their knowledge, understandings and skills in teaching or designing for online learning by creating a portfolio of learning artifacts. These artifacts build on and augment coursework completed in each of the certificate courses, and in additional ePortfolio assignments, the learner articulates the rationale underlying their instructional or instructional design plans. The ePortfolio is assessed by DEPD instructional staff in accordance with a rubric that outlines core certificate competencies.

Frequently asked questions

Are discounts available?

How firm is the program deadline?

I completed DEPD 0136 to receive my Basic Online Instructor Professional Development Certificate. Can I still enroll?

What kind of interaction with instructors can I expect in the PCOE?

What is a self-paced course? What is an asynchronous, collaborative course?

What technologies are used? How tech-savvy do I need to be to enroll in this certificate program?

Can I do the PCOE on my tablet or phone?

How do you assess my performance in the certificate?

What is an ePortfolio, exactly?


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