PD, FREE-D: At the Superintendent Summit in DC today, President Obama announced a new partnership with Coursera, in which the MOOC provider will offer free verified certificates for over three million teachers who take its professional development courses. (A verified certificate usually costs $30 to $100.) Teachers can use these verified certificates to receive formal professional development credit, provided their districts are participating in the program. (District administrators can fill out an approval form here.) This program will start January 1, 2015.
Over the past year and a half, Coursera has been developing a library of 80 courses for teacher professional development. Certificates will be available for 50 of the existing courses. With this announcement, Coursera's certificates will carry more weight in a professional structure where credits open up new career paths and, in some cases, are tied to salary.
The President said that the Boston-based edX and its partner universities would also offer free verified certificates for teacher training courses to all U.S. teachers for one year. (Teachers in high-needs areas can continue earning the certificates for free for up to four years.) Students in high-needs areas will similarly be able to earn certificates for AP courses for free for up to five years .