Frank Porter Graham Institute offers free online courses for early childhood teachers

For the first time, faculty and professional development providers can send learners to free, self-guided, self-paced, online Frank Porter Graham Institute (FPG) courses designed to provide continuing education credit for early childhood teachers. Through a new partnership between FPG’s Center to Mobilize Early Childhood Knowledge (CONNECT) and Quality Assist, Inc. (QA), these courses integrate Project CONNECT’s subject matter with QA’s interactive online learning, and the first CONNECT course, “Foundations of Inclusion,” is available now.

The QA CONNECT course topics mirror FPG’s CONNECT modules, which have been popular across the country and around the world since FPG scientists developed them in 2010 for university faculty and professional development providers. The modules use an innovative 5-Step Learning Cycle to focus on research-based practices for teaching and intervening with children with high needs, especially children with disabilities, and have made CONNECT a resource for over 90,000 online users in the last two years alone.

“We received lots of inquiries about offering CEU for CONNECT material,” says Pam Winton, FPG Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator of Project CONNECT. “The Quality Assist CONNECT courses make this possible at a time when many administrators are looking at professional development in the areas we cover.”

The new QA CONNECT course topics include:

  • learning environments that promote high quality inclusion
  • transition practices that support children and families
  • communication that promotes collaboration between professionals and families
  • building trusting partnerships between professionals and families
  • purpose and benefits of assistive technologies
  • tiered instruction
  • dialogic reading

FPG’s Project CONNECT will continue to update its modules to support and complement QA’s new courses.

By emphasizing problem solving and the importance of multiple perspectives and sources of evidence, these courses focus on building early childhood teachers’ capacities to make evidence-based decisions. Like FPG’s CONNECT modules, QA’s CONNECT courses are easily applicable to the needs of multiple audiences and contexts. Each course will include a Knowledge Assessment, an Individualized Action Plan, Parent Notes, and Follow-up Conversation Starters for Directors.

For more information, see Project CONNECT.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Pamela J. Winton, FPG Senior Scientist and Director of Outreach
Principal Investigator of CONNECT: The Center to Mobilize Early Childhood Knowledge

New course: Carolina Navigators for K-12 Teachers

This course is now open for registration. Click here to register.

This course is for K-12 teachers who would like to work with a Carolina Navigators service-learning student from UNC-CH for a semester. Carolina Navigators are undergraduate students with international experience and expertise who are enrolled in the 3-credit “Intercultural Education in K-12 Classrooms” course.

The LEARN NC course is geared towards teachers who have an idea for a global education project. In this LEARN NC course you will:

  • Investigate global education, intercultural communication, and intercultural competence through articles, videos, and discussions
  • Learn about Carolina Navigators service-learning program and expectations for working with a service-learning student
  • Create a global education project that you can implement in your classroom with the support of a Carolina Navigators service-learning student

This is a self-study class that you complete within a specific time-frame. You will receive feedback on your global education project proposal. Upon the successful completion of this course, you will be eligible to work with a Carolina Navigator service-learning student for one semester (face-to-face or virtually, depending on your location) who will help you implement your global education project. This course is open to all K-12 teachers in North Carolina.

Enroll now for LEARN NC’s spring semester online courses!

The spring schedule of LEARN NC’s online professional development courses is ready for enrollment! We are offering courses for our Carolina On-line Teacher (COLT) program, as well as Moodle training, content-area courses, and courses designed to help teachers work with special populations. As always, each course was created using a researched model of effective professional development and the online format allows participants to work at a time and place most convenient to them. All courses are aligned to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards.

The European Union: A free online professional development course

The UNC European Union Center of Excellence and LEARN NC will be offering The European Union – An Introduction for Teachers, an online professional development course beginning November 28. The course, which runs for four weeks, provides two CEUs and lots of online resources for learning and teaching.

The goal of this course is to introduce in-service teachers to the history and the function of the European Union, as well as to digital resources and methods for student learning. By the end of the course, teachers will understand the EU as an essential part of European history, government, economics, and culture, and will be able to facilitate learning about the EU through use of technology.

The final project is a standards-based technology-rich lesson plan incorporating online EU resources for each teacher’s class. Lesson plans will be submitted to the UNC European Union Center of Excellence for possible inclusion in the online lesson plan database.

For more information, contact Dr. Regina Higgins. To enroll please go to

Enroll in online professional development courses today

We still have seats open in our online professional development course sections. Whether you are interested in picking up credit hours in the Common Core, technology, literacy, ESL, or American history, we have something for you.

If you plan to teach online, don’t forget about courses in the Carolina Online Teacher (COLT) Program. Our courses cover adapting to online teaching and creating engaging activities and assignments for the virtual classroom, as well as developing an online course of your own.

LEARN NC’s online courses, which are aligned to North Carolina Educator Technology Competencies, NETS, and INTASC standards, eliminate travel expenses and substitute-teacher costs normally associated with staff development. Online professional development allows teachers to participate at a time and place most convenient to them, and collaborate with colleagues via a variety of easy-to-use electronic forums.

Fall professional development courses open for enrollment

The fall schedule of LEARN NC’s online professional development courses is ready for enrollment! We are offering courses for our Carolina On-line Teacher (COLT) program as well as Moodle training, content-area courses, and courses designed to help teachers work with special populations. As always, each course was created using a researched model of effective professional development and the online format allows participants to work at a time and place most convenient to them. All courses are aligned to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards.

Register for our new online course: Common Core Professional Development

Dive into the Common Core State Standards and learn how to make the transition to the new standards work for you. This course is action-ready; you’ll engage in activities using a lesson or unit you already teach. These activities are designed to help teachers of any grade level and content area analyze how the Common Core Standards and the North Carolina Essential Standards connect with other content areas (horizontally) and in a three-grade-level span (vertically). By the end of the course, your lesson or unit will be aligned to the new standards and ready for a new year! This course will also will help you apply this process to the other lesson and units you teach so you can feel confident implementing the new standards in your classroom.

The next session of Common Core Professional Development begins on July 11. Register today!

Changing China: History and culture since 1644

Primary Source, a program that promotes history and humanities in Massachusetts is offering a 10-week online course titled “Changing China: History and Culture Since 1644” from June 13 – August 21, 2012. The complex history of modern China and its unique place on the world stage will be the central focus for this online course, which will explore the period from the Qing Dynasty and the decline of dynastic China to the present day. In addition to the materials presented in Primary Source’s sourcebook China in the World: A History Since 1644, this course will make use of readings, videos, and web-based resources to engage educators in some of the most current scholarship and thinking on China’s development as a nation state. Topics will include the early republic, communist China, economic and political changes, internal migration, arts and literature, and China’s future in an era of globalization.

North Carolina teachers who are interested in taking this course will receive a 20% discount off of the $375 course fee for a total cost of $300. The optional fee for two graduate credits is an additional $200.

Educators can send a registration request to For more information, please contact Abby Detweiler at

Summer online professional development courses open for enrollment

LEARN NC’s summer schedule of online professional development courses is available for enrollment! All LEARN NC courses are asynchronous, so you can work on them at any time and at any place.

If you’re interested in becoming an online instructor, we have lots of Carolina Online Teacher (COLT) courses to choose from. Please visit North Carolina e-Learning for Educators for a full list of available courses.

All courses are aligned to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and are based on a researched model for effective online professional development.

eLearning for Educators courses available for enrollment

There’s still time to enroll in spring eLearning for Educators professional development courses! There are many courses to choose from. Check out the following courses:

Differentiating Instruction in Online Courses
Reach every learner by tailoring your instruction to address students’ unique learning styles. You’ll develop differentiated components for your own online course by creating practical assignments and by modifying content and assessments.
The Connected Writer: Using Blogs and Collaborative Tools to Improve Student Writing
Embrace blogging as a way to enhance your students’ writing and to reach your own curriculum goals. Writing platforms like blogs, wikis, and forums inspire opportunities for collaboration, peer review, and critical thinking that traditional writing assignments cannot.
Using Models to Understand Fractions
Learn to use a variety of mathematical models like Cuisenaire rods and pattern blocks — both virtual and “hands on — to teach fractions to your 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders. This course offers alternative ideas for fraction instruction and is founded on the belief that students can come to understand fractions in a number of different ways.
Teaching Writing in the Elementary Classroom

Participants will explore how to teach their students about the traits of good writing through mini-lessons and writing workshops, and how to use established criteria to evaluate writing. Participants will also recognize that writing is a process and consider how to organize instruction to guide students through the stages of that process.
Crossing Cultures I: Self-Awareness
This course will help you improve your effectiveness in interacting with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. By learning intercultural theories, including a cultural value framework, you’ll gain a greater awareness of your own cultural background, as well as acquire tools to interact appropriately and effectively with people from a variety of cultures.
Reading, Writing and Research: Integrating Literacy across the Curriculum
Explore reading and writing skills instruction and information literacy concepts, and learn to effectively integrate these skills into the teaching of other subjects.