The x-Factor in elementary teacher prep

See all posts
There's no question that our elementary content knowledge standards will stretch teacher candidates and require significant coordination across many university departments to get right. But laying such a challenge before the field of teacher preparation is entirely justified: elementary teachers, after all, are responsible for making sure their students get the fundamentals of every academic subject.

A new online learning initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) might make meeting this challenge a bit easier: how about outsourcing some of these core requirements to that august institution through the new MITx initiative? MITx is a new non-profit setup by the school that will offer a selection of MIT courses online using a platform that will customize the pace of the course, provide for interaction between students, and assess mastery.

The catch? We can't find any.

It's all free.  Any anyone can take the offered courses. And, MITx will award a certificate to students who demonstrate mastery of the course content (the certificate will have a modest fee).

So, here's an alternative: permit teacher candidates to submit certificates from MITx for core requirements. They will have demonstrated mastery of rigorous content that teacher preparation programs can review themselves, since all course materials will be freely available online!

Rob Rickenbrode