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UC Irvine Partners with Coursera to Offer Professional Development Courses for Teachers

Free, Online Courses are Designed to Provide Core Education for Online Teaching

IRVINE, Calif. – May 1, 2013 – The University of California, Irvine, a leader in the open education movement, today announced that Coursera will offer its Virtual Teacher program through its open learning platform, for free. The Virtual Teacher program consists of online training and development courses for instructors and others who want to learn to teach in an online or blended classroom environment. The Coursera launch is part of the MOOC provider’s entry into early childhood and K-12 level education.

“This initiative is very important, as we focus on helping teachers best serve the evolving needs of K-12 students, in California and nationwide,” said Melissa Loble, Associate Dean of Distance Learning at UC Irvine. “There is an increasing need for qualified educators who have specific skills in online instruction, and this program prepares teachers to step into those positions.”

Teaching online requires the knowledge of all state curriculum standards and to have the ability to address new teaching standards for online instruction. Virtual teachers are tasked with creating a personalized academic path for each student while maintaining a sense of support and community for the entire class. UC Irvine’s courses address the skills and knowledge required to be prepared to successfully teach in virtual schools and in online and blended learning settings. The courses also provide core education in the tenets of online teaching.

UC Irvine will offer two of its University Extension courses, Foundations of Virtual Instruction and Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual Classroom. Both courses will last 5 weeks and will be led by course developer and instructor, Cindy Carbajal. UC Irvine plans to partner with Coursera to offer four additional courses in the following term.

“Teachers are among the most important assets for supporting the next generation, and peer support and ongoing professional development can be crucial factors in teacher retention and successful educational outcomes,” said Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller. “At Coursera, we hope to support millions of teachers around the world in expanding their skills, networks and knowledge, by opening up access to some of the best resources out there, free of cost.”

UC Irvine is joined by other leading institutions in its partnership with Coursera including the College of Education, University of Washington; Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Match Education’s Sposato Graduate School of Education; Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; and Relay Graduate School of Education.

To register for a course on Coursera visit Coursera.org.

About Coursera

Coursera believes in connecting people to a great education so that anyone around the world can learn without limits. Coursera is on a mission to educate millions of people by offering classes from top universities and organizations online for free. Coursera combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students a unique online learning experience. Coursera has partnered with top-tier universities and organizations to provide courses across a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, literature, history, computer science and the arts, among others. Coursera is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, visit Coursera.org.

About UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare Initiative

The University of California, Irvine was the first University of California campus–and West Coast University–to join the OCW Consortium. UC Irvine's membership in the OCW Consortium is consistent with its public- and land-grant missions and its desire to play a significant role in contributing to the social welfare of the state, the nation and the world. Open educational resources (OER) showcase the University's high quality education and makes courses and course materials free for everyone in the world. UC Irvine's OCW is a large-scale, Web-based resource that houses educational assets that are discoverable, searchable, modifiable, and, best of all, free and easily available. Through the OCW movement, UC Irvine provides University-quality courses and learning assets to populations of self-learners that are underserved and in many cases, unable to participate in formal education at a university. This site also offers access to UC Irvine’s online continuing education offerings. For more information about UC Irvine's OCW initiative, visit http://open.uci.edu/, e-mail open@uci.edu or follow us at Twitter.com/UCI_OCW and Facebook (UC Irvine OpenCourseWare).

About UCI Division of Continuing Education

The University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE) provides lifelong learning opportunities to thousands of students worldwide each year – fulfilling the school’s 60-year curriculum platform to connect degree programs to the world of work and achievement after graduation. The Division offers a broad range of certificate programs, specialized studies, and sequential courses to local, regional and global markets through online, on-campus and on-site delivery. A leader in the open education movement, the Division offers free Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and content through the UCI Open initiative. For more information about UCI Division of Continuing Education, visit ce.uci.edu.

About the University of California, Irvine

Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit uci.edu.