Online Summer Institute Courses for Educators at Landmark College
Landmark College, widely recognized as America’s leading college for students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD, has announced online versions of its renowned Summer Institute Courses for Educators.
Over the past two decades, Landmark College’s expert faculty have shared their unique insights about students who learn differently with thousands of educators from all over the country. In response to a growing demand from those who are unable to travel to the Putney, Vermont campus, the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) has developed online versions of many popular course offerings. These courses are identical in rigor and depth to the Summer Institute courses. Each course runs for five weeks and can be taken for an optional three graduate credits, by special arrangement with The Union Institute.
Why take online courses?
The best teachers are never content with the status quo: they are always seeking ways to reach more students, more effectively. Moreover, licensing and recertification standards demand that teachers constantly upgrade their skills and knowledge. Yet the hectic reality of teachers’ lives leaves little time for serious scholarship. Caught between the demands of an intense work day, family obligations, and a host of volunteer activities, many teachers dread signing up for additional course work when it entails a tedious commute, as well as hours of reading and thoughtful reflection.
Online courses offer an ideal way for teachers to gain new skills and knowledge without the hassle of travel and fitting into someone else’s schedule. Participants access the course from the comfort of their living room or home office, at their own convenience, any time of the day, night or weekend. Even though they work in private, they are part of a dynamic, highly interactive cohort of fellow students. They gain practical insights and experiences from colleagues across the country who share their questions and classroom challenges. All that is needed to participate is a computer with an internet connection. Even an old-fashioned dial-up connection will do.
Still, many teachers shy away from online courses because they fear the unknown or feel they lack technical expertise. LCIRT’s online courses are designed to make the online experience extremely user-friendly. Anyone who uses the internet, even tentatively, will be able to access the lessons and assignments easily. Lessons are clearly laid out, with a consistent look and format from lesson to lesson and from course to course. Assignments are submitted directly through interactive surveys and quizzes or via email attachments. Technical support is just a phone call or email away and is guaranteed to respond within twenty-four hours. As one participant said, “WebCT (the course platform) was easier to get used to than I thought it would be. I’ve never done an online course before, and I was very nervous. The instructor and the help person responded very quickly to everyone’s questions.”
Benefits of LCIRT courses
Course content is created by Landmark College faculty who serve as subject matter experts; all course instructors are veteran Landmark College faculty with years of rich classroom experiences to draw on. They provide timely instruction, moderate discussions daily, and respond personally to assignments which are linked to teachers’ own classroom situations. Award-winning instructional designers contribute to the clean, easy-to-follow format which makes course participation intuitive. Courses go through a rigorous development and review process which includes testing for usability (ease of use) and accessibility (usable by people of varying ability.) For example, many lesson segments come in alternative formats: video clips and audio files also have written transcripts; video clips are available in different formats to match various computer hardware and internet configurations. LCIRT courses are designed for learners with a range of diverse learning styles, just as the Landmark College curriculum serves students who learn in distinctive ways. They are grounded in evidence-based learning strategies that incorporate advances in technology and scientific knowledge about brain function. Most importantly: they embody Landmark College’s unique and extensive experience in the field.
Current online offerings
The next round of online courses will be offered in March-April, 2007. They include:
• Teaching Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities and/or AD/HD
• Teaching Reading and Study Skills to Students with Learning Disabilities and/or AD/HD
• Technology Solutions for Students with Learning Disabilities and/or AD/HD
• Designing Accessible Educational Content
There are also a limited number of openings in LCIRT’s innovative “Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension in the Content Areas”, developed to serve teachers in grades 4-12 in Vermont schools, but applicable to other regions as well. For more information and updated registration, see www.landmark.edu/teach, Linda Hecker, Director of Educational Services, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training.