Professional Learning

Online Professional Learning for Graduate Credit

Performance Matters and Literacy Solutions and more recently unveiled a new opportunity for our Premium Library subscribers: the ability to earn graduate credit for courses taken. Susan Ruckdeschel, Founder/CEO of Literacy Solutions and more, took a few moments to dig a little deeper into this unique opportunity.

Performance Matters: Why is online professional learning so appealing to teachers?
Susan Ruckdeschel: For a few different reasons. The convenience of working from home or anywhere with an Internet connection, salary increases for obtaining a Masters degree (in some states and districts credits above-and-beyond a master’s), in-service credits, and remaining current with certification credentials. Most importantly, keeping a highly qualified teaching staff is in the interest of every DOE and district in the country. Research continues to support the quick movement of theory to classroom practice with access to resources, scholarly discussions, and the pooling and sharing of new ideas, all made readily available through online and blended professional learning opportunities. It just makes sense.

PM: What’s the value in offering online courses for graduate credits? 
SR: Taking courses for university credit makes online learning even more appealing to teachers because, in addition to meeting credentialing requirements, the same hours when taken for graduate credit can often qualify for in-service and salary increases. Many states, like New York State, require that teachers obtain a master’s degree within five years in order to continue teaching. This same master’s degree will satisfy the requirement for graduate semester hours in respective core content areas for professional learning.

PM: What is the cost of online graduate courses?
SR: One would reason that online courses would “cut a break” to the students. However, often because of the convenience they offer, they do not offer much of a discount and are sometimes even on par with the cost of attending a brick-and-mortar class. Partnerships between universities and third party vendors can often provide a cost effective solution to this by passing along savings due to the scaling back of resources universities need to provide in teaching them. This allows third party vendors with less overhead to pick up that cost and pass along the savings to students.

Performance Matters, in partnership with Literacy Solutions and more, now offers courses for graduate credits through the Premium Library. A selection of 30 to 50 15-hour courses will be made available each semester, resulting in one graduate credit each. Transcripts will be issued from Adams State University. One-credit courses are $395.00 per one-credit, or 15-hour course, and $695 for a 3-hour course. This compares to upwards of $1,995.00 per 3-credit course at most other online universities.

PM: Who covers the cost of such courses?
SR: Reimbursement or in-service approval for taking graduate coursework outside of a teacher’s district state may hinge upon the district’s policy with regard to out-of-state coursework. While most districts and State DOEs will support credits from out-of-state universities, it is important to check first. If it is district-supplied professional learning or learning that is already used by the district, it is more likely they will be accepted given they’ll be familiar with the pedagogies and topics as they align with district initiatives.

With the convenience of online learning, increasing mandates for teacher recertification, and the World Wide Web at everyone’s disposal, it makes sense to engage in online learning for continuing education.

Want to learn more about the Performance Matters Premium Library and the benefits it offers your educators? Schedule a demo today!