Why You Should Consider Opening Up Your School’s Professional Development

Why You Should Consider Opening Up Your School’s Professional Development

Today’s topic is so great for our We Learn Together Blog because it gets to the very heart of why this blog was created. We Learn Together. As we all know, in life we don’t always have all the answers. Sometimes we need to lean on other people to help us solve problems. This is where the concept of “opening up,”  or making professional development (PD) classes available to all teachers can be extremely  important and useful.

Many K-12 schools offer PD classes for their own teachers, but did you know, these schools are missing out on a variety of opportunities by not allowing outside teachers in their classes? We will discuss some of those reasons in this post. Continue reading “Why You Should Consider Opening Up Your School’s Professional Development”

How to Open a School Exclusive Class to All Teachers

How to Open Up a School Exclusive Class To All Teachers

In a previous post, I wrote about the reasons why your school or district should consider opening up your school exclusive K-12 professional development classes to all teachers. This post is a short follow up to assist interested instructors on how to open up their professional development class. The process is simple and doesn’t take any additional effort. If you would like to know more about school-exclusive classes, read this post.

Once you or your school/district has made the decision to open up your professional development class to all teachers, you fill out the course approval paperwork.  If you have previously offered the class, then this process is the same as it always is. The only difference is, you would let Barb Schumacher, professional development coordinator, know you want the class available to all teachers.

From there, our office does the rest of the work (you still have to prepare for and teach the class though; we don’t do that part for you). If you want to know what kinds of things our office does to notify teachers that your class is available, please continue reading. Continue reading “How to Open a School Exclusive Class to All Teachers”

Ways to Promote Your Class

girl with social media all around

Secretly, we all do things we hope will end up being successful beyond our wildest dreams. Because, really, does anyone start something with the intention that it will be mediocre at best? NO – even if we don’t say it, we are not hoping for a mediocre outcome. We want the opportunity to say, “Look what I did; I did that!”

Instructors for our K-12 professional development classes are no different. If you go to the effort to become so good at your topic that you are qualified to offer a professional development opportunity, you design the class, write a topical outline, develop a syllabus, and address a rubric for grading, it’s fair to assume you are going to want some guarantee that you will have students in your class, right?

I have been marketing K-12 professional development classes for almost 14 years and in those years I have seen one thing in common with our most successful classes. Well, actually there are quite a few things in common, but there is one main thing these instructors do different. Continue reading “Ways to Promote Your Class”

School Exclusive Classes: What are they?

School exclusive Classes: what are they?

The term “school exclusive class” isn’t a term most of our k-12 professional development participants hear much about. That is because it is really a term we use in our office to describe professional development being offered for an exclusive audience. “District exclusive” is another way to describe these classes. But school districts may refer to them as partner courses or simply stated as, “credit offered through NDSU.”

While you may not need to know the industry jargon for these classes, it is useful to know about these type of classes. Let’s break down what a school exclusive class really is. Continue reading “School Exclusive Classes: What are they?”

Pricing and Compensation for K-12 Professional Development Classes

Pricing and Compensation for K12 Professional Development Classes

Pricing and compensation are two important factors in k-12 professional development classes. Pricing is one of the most important aspects of nearly anything. After all, if price wasn’t important, we would all be driving around in the newest car model. But product pricing is important. When you shop online or in a store you probably look at two things: quality and price. It is very much the same for k-12 professional development classes. Compensation for instructors is also very important because it drives the availability of classes, as well as the quality.

Base-Price Formats

Because pricing and compensation are so intertwined, we will discuss them side by side with the pricing models Distance and Continuing Education at North Dakota State University (NDSU) typically uses. Continue reading “Pricing and Compensation for K-12 Professional Development Classes”

When to Offer a K-12 Professional Development Class

When to Offer a K12 Professional Development Class

Finding the best time to offer a professional development class for teachers seems pretty straightforward. Really, you can offer a class at any time throughout the year, but finding the best time to offer your class has a lot to do with the number of participants you are able to attract. Let’s discuss some of the issues to think about regarding the timing of offering your class. Continue reading “When to Offer a K-12 Professional Development Class”

Modes of Instruction for Professional Development

Modes of Instruction for professional development

Many years ago there was only one way to earn professional development graduate credit. This was by attending a class or workshop in which all participants and the instructor were at the same location. Experts in various teaching topics often crisscrossed the state to conduct workshops in rural schools and districts. At the time, this was considered an efficient way to teach about new techniques.

Eventually, new modes of instruction came along, which included classes in print-based, interactive video, CD-ROM (Does anyone use this term anymore?), and DVDs, which allowed instructors more freedom and a broader reach. K-12 teachers benefitted by the freedom to learn wherever they were at.

Fast forward to the internet era where there are now even more efficient ways of conducting professional development classes. Let’s take a look at the three teaching modes in which k-12 professional development classes are generally offered at North Dakota State University (NDSU). Continue reading “Modes of Instruction for Professional Development”

How to Write a Well-Formatted K-12 Professional Development Syllabus

How to Write a Well-Formatted K12 Professional Development Syllabus

There was a time, before the internet and global positioning systems (GPS), when an essential item for a road trip was a paper map. You had to know how to use a map, because, unlike GPS, the map didn’t show you where you were and how to get where you were going.

When we think in terms of education, the equivalent of a map is a syllabus. I won’t spend much time on what a syllabus is in this post, because you, dear readers, are teachers and as a result you have either worked with a syllabus in your own class or have most definitely seen one in the classes you took to obtain your teaching degree. We will, however, use the concept of a map as we discuss the writing of a well-formatted syllabus for your k-12 professional development class offered through North Dakota State University (NDSU).

Let’s start off by taking a look at the course syllabus form NDSU uses and then we will break it down line by line. Fair warning: the content in the rest of this blog post is a bit dry, but nonetheless, very useful information. Continue reading “How to Write a Well-Formatted K-12 Professional Development Syllabus”

Writing a Captivating Class Description

Writing Captivating Class Descriptions

Writing a class description for your professional development class seems like the least important part. Just whip something up and you’re good, right?

Wrong.

I would argue this is the most important part of developing your class. After all, this is the first interaction you, as a teacher, will have with your class. Most often, decisions about whether or not they will take your class are made based on what your class description says. This is why I tell instructors to make sure their description is a good one.

Of course, I am a marketer and it’s all about perspective. Barb Schumacher, our professional development coordinator, would say it is the syllabus. But… she’s not writing this article, so we’ll stick with the class description as the most important part of your class.

Let’s continue our discussion on why writing a captivating class description is really important. Continue reading “Writing a Captivating Class Description”

Who Can Teach a Professional Development Class?

Who can teach a professional development class?

I used to attend more k-12 professional development conferences to promote classes offered through NDSU. While I don’t get out to those conferences as much as I used to, I remember talking with a lot of teachers. I loved hearing their stories and listening to them discuss the types of courses they were interested in or were required to take.

I often found that, in certain areas, there was a lack of available classes. This lack of classes wasn’t just at NDSU; this was a lack of classes in that specific content area for a lot of professional development programs. Or, at least, a lack of classes that were acceptable for their license or their district’s pay scale. At the time, it hadn’t occurred to me to ask if they or someone they knew were interested in teaching a class for us to help fill that void.

In more recent years, I have put a greater emphasis on asking individuals at the conferences I go to if they are interested in teaching a class for our office. There is a lot of expertise out there that could be tapped into, but often it is a matter of asking.  Continue reading “Who Can Teach a Professional Development Class?”