MOOC company Coursera has made a huge splash in the online education market, offering people from around the world access to classes from some of the finest universities in the world.
Thus far however, most of their teachings have been aimed at tertiary markets. Recent news however shows how they are beginning to target the school age market as well.
The site is to begin offering teacher development courses this year. They have announced that they have signed up a number of new partners, including education schools that train teachers.
It would be up to the schools or districts that employ teachers to decide whether the courses meet their requirements, but Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller said she expects they will find them high-quality.
As with all Coursera courses, they would of course be free for learners, which will no doubt prove attractive to school boards throughout the world. The classes could also offer a more flexible method of learning for teachers with busy lifestyles. The large class size also provides a ready network of like minded learners.
"If you're the sole physics teacher in a small town somewhere, you really don't have a peer network Relevant Products/Services," Koller said in a telephone interview. "This is creating a nationwide and in fact a worldwide peer network."
Coursera currently offer 341 free courses, with almost 3.5 million students enrolled on them.
The new offerings will include courses with titles such as "Art and Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies For Your Classroom" and "Surviving Your Rookie Year of Teaching." Dave Levin, co-founder of the KIPP schools network, will offer a course on "Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms."