Online Teaching Certificate:
Traditional Programs are Going Online

An online teaching certificate may be fast and economical. But don't lose out on important experiences from a traditional campus setting.

Many students who earn degrees online mention the lack of face-to-face contact with professors and fellow students.

Now traditional colleges and universities are offering some courses online, so you may have the best of both worlds.

The bottom line: Doing your research before starting a degree program can put you on the right track to earning an online teaching certificate.

Heather from Lake Forest, CA, earned her teaching certificate from Idiana University. A traditional campus-centered program, but with online opportunities to expedite her degree.

She now teaching high school Japanese. Learn what she has to say below.

Describe what you liked best about your online educational experience:

I liked that I could finish my online class in just two weeks. It was an intensive class, we had to write about 10 3-5 page papers in 2 weeks' time. VERY busy work, but I was a mother of a newborn back then, in 2005, and the class which I was taking was geared towards my major, and helped me to finish requirements for my teacher certification extremely quickly. If I had not taken the class, I would have had to be away from my newborn daughter in ANOTHER class for hours every day for several weeks - the alternative was a live classroom. This way, well, I was very very busy for 14 days, but I could do all the work at home, I was just tied to the computer for hours every day, but I could do the work on my own schedule, which was great. Whenever my daughter was sleeping, I was at work.

Describe what you liked least about your online learning experience:

I disliked writing papers every day for 2 weeks. Is there anyone out there that would like to do something like that? After a while, I really felt burnt out and like I was just searching for words to fill empty space. I am not sure that that constitutes actual learning. I was going through the motions to fulfill the requirements of the course, and didn't really have time to actually THINK very much about what I was reading or typing. Given that it was an educational course ON EDUCATION, I would have to say that the course was more or less all the wrong ways to go about teaching future teachers. Teachers are supposed to engage students, appeal to their imagination, encourage them to think. Having a class where you crank out paper after paper is like, assembly-line education. That's not how its supposed to be. But, after spending years in live classrooms, it was a change. I only hope that classes I take in the future will concentrate more on quality than quantity of work. And less on speediness. An authentic classroom gives students more time to reflect.

How has this university degree helped or hurt your career?

It has helped my career, but I would have to say that it helped only because Indiana University is, and was, first and foremost, a place where live classrooms exist, with professors interacting with students face to face, every single day. People are aware of IU's background and can see from my resume timeline that I attended most of my career in a face-to-face setting, before online classrooms ever existed.

What would you say to others who may be thinking of earning an online teaching certificate?

I would tell students to make sure your university also offers live classroom interaction, where you must attend classes on occasion, in the traditional format. You really need that type of background to get a good sense of what you're studying, I think. I think it's ok to take some of your courses online, but not all.

Heather - Lake Forest, CA, USA - Indiana University - Language Education - Online Teaching Certificate

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