The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $175,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Education that will provide funding for a new online teacher academy for K-12 teachers in Arkansas.
The 2021-2022 Online Teacher Academy Endorsement program will provide training for K-12 teachers in the state to learn more about online teaching and course creation by taking courses through the UA Little Rock Learning System Technology Education program in the School of Education.
During the academy, participants will earn 15 hours of graduate credit as well as an endorsement in K-12 online teaching by the Arkansas Department of Education upon completion of a state assessment. The grant will cover tuition, books, and a state assessment for 20 K-12 teachers who are participating in the online teacher academy.
Dr. Daryl Tate, assistant professor in the School of Education and coordinator of the Learning System Technology Education program, will serve as the director of the online teacher academy, while Sharonda Lipscomb, instructional design coordinator, will serve as the program administrator.
“Educators in the 21st century need to have certain skill sets to be effective in their classes, whether they are teaching hybrid, fully online, or face-to-face classes,” Tate said. “This grant from the Arkansas Department of Education will help us prepare K-12 teachers to deliver quality online learning to their students.”
During the academy, teachers will create an online course that they can use in their schools. During the spring showcase on April 9, 2022, teachers will present the design and development elements of their course to UA Little Rock faculty members for review. The participants will also have the opportunity to share ideas and receive feedback from UA Little Rock eLearning instructional designers.
“What happened with the pandemic really got people’s attention focused on the quality of online learning,” Tate said. “Some teachers seamlessly moved over to online versions of their courses, while some were not ready for the fast transition caused by the pandemic. People want to be prepared, and teachers who complete this academy will enhance their online teaching and course development skills.”
Teachers participating in the online teaching academy also have opportunities for further learning. Participants who complete the academy will earn the graduate certificate in Learning Systems Technology Education with the completion of one more course. They may also earn a master’s degree in education with the completion of six courses after the graduate certificate.