Exploring the Use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a Source of Professional Development for Teachers of English Language Learners (ELLs)

Bergey, Rebecca, Curriculum and Instruction - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Mintz, Susan, Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, University of Virginia

Demographic changes in the US (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015) are creating classrooms comprised of a growing number of English language learners (ELLs). At the same time, new rigorous standards are pressing all teachers to consider and address the role of language in learning (Bunch, Kibler & Pimentel, 2012). This context of a large number of ELLs in classrooms guided by rigorous standards requires that all teachers are prepared to meet the unique linguistic needs of ELLs. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer a potential form of professional development (PD) to reach a large and widespread audience of educators, but up to now there has been limited research on the use of MOOCs and their function as PD. This study examined participant learning experiences in a MOOC designed to prepare content teachers to use conversation to integrate language and content in instruction. Findings are useful for MOOC designers to understand and improve the design of MOOCs for PD as well as for district and state education leaders to inform decisions about the use of MOOCs as a form of PD for preparing teachers for working with ELLs.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
English language learners, Professional development, Massive Open Online Courses
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