MOOCs and Teachers as Learners

Lifelong learner.  Every teacher is familiar with this phrase.  Someone somewhere might have even placed it in your school system’s objectives.  You might have used it on a resume.

In what ways, are you a lifelong learner?  Maybe you attend workshops.  Maybe you read books on pedagogy or in your subject area.  Maybe you’ve amassed a rockstar Twitter PLN.

If you haven’t checked out some of the MOOC courses, I suggest you give it a try.  Take a course in your subject area.  Or some other area.  I’ve been taking Coursera courses off and on for about two years, and I’m a fan.  It’s free.  It’s relatively stress-free, and you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

Though there are some courses that offer grades and certificates, I actually prefer to audit courses at my leisure and participate at my leisure.  I’ve actually never completed a MOOC from the beginning to the end, but I didn’t waste my time either.  I enjoyed watching the lectures, and I’ve enjoyed the assigned reading.  Whether I actually do the assignments or not, I do think about them.  As I’m mowing the grass or driving, I think about my response to that discussion question or how I’d approach that assignment.

And for a moment, I’m thinking like a student again, and THAT’S the important part.

I’m also a thief… I steal little ideas here and there and use it in my classroom.  It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a college course, and I didn’t attend an Ivy league school even when I did.  I’ve benefitted from listening to another teacher’s approach to a concept.  Because I’ve taught for a number of years, I appreciate the artistry of the lecture and the questioning strategies in a way that I  didn’t always appreciate as a student.  I’ve also benefitted from seeing how other’s manipulate an online learning environment, and I’ve modified my resources in the online classes I teach.

These professors are modeling best practices for me.

And I’m modeling lifelong learning for my students.

Here are a few resources for you to check out:




Note the start date of courses that pique your interest, and add them to your calendar.  There’s no pressure to complete it once that date rolls around.  Chances are, you won’t get professional development credit for it.  Your grade won’t matter.

You might just find yourself learning for the fun of it.



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