Jump Start your Professional Learning with a FREE LTC Online Course

18 Feb 2021 8 min read
Matt Jacobson
Matt Jacobson
Online Learning Coordinator, Learning Technology Center

No matter how you look at it, today’s educators are busy people. Planning new lessons, assessing student performance, communicating with parents – and that’s not to mention managing a remote or hybrid classroom. With so many tasks on their plate, even the most organized teachers can find it hard to fit professional learning into their schedule outside of regular in-service days.

Here at the Learning Technology Center (LTC), we understand this dilemma. As part of our mission to support Illinois schools through technology initiatives and professional learning opportunities, we want to make learning new classroom-ready skills easy and intuitive.

That’s why we offer a variety of online courses covering topics from Google Forms and Google Drive to Microsoft Teams and Keynote for Mac. Many of these courses are free to join and are entirely self-paced, meaning that you can engage with the coursework on your own schedule. Plus, when you’re finished, you’ll earn PD hours that can count toward your annual licensure renewal!

Interested in learning more? Check out some of our most popular online courses and enroll today over on our “Online Courses” page!

Our Most Popular Courses

Already, hundreds of educators from across Illinois have taken part in one of our numerous self-guided online courses. Here are some of their favorites – many of which can help educators at any grade level enhance their remote or hybrid classroom:

Create Digital Assessments with Google Forms

Self-Paced / 1.5 PD Hours / Free

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Most people know Google Forms as an information gathering app. However, this free app can also be used to assess student performance, both during in-person and remote instruction. In this course, participants will learn everything K-12 educators need to know about building forms specifically for formative and summative assessments. Participants will also learn how to distribute these assessments via an LMS (such as Google Classroom) as well as how to analyze student data generated by their assessment forms.

Move Your Class Online with Google Classroom

Self-Paced / 1.5 PD Hours / Free

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When it comes to shifting a classroom online, many educators face a learning curve related to digital documents organization. For those utilizing G Suite for Education, Google Classroom is the solution. In this course, participants will learn how to create an organized workflow using this platform as well as how to:

  • Create and manage a class of students
  • Create and share digital files with students
  • Provide feedback to students
  • Understand the ways Google Classroom connects with 3rd party applications

Google Drive Basics

Self-Paced / 1.5 PD Hours / Free

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Is your Google Drive a mess? Do you struggle to find your files in a timely manner? This course will help you get your Google Drive in shape in no time. In this course, participants will learn to effectively navigate Google Drive and organize their files in a system that makes sense to them. Participants will also learn about Google Drive’s special features, including ownership permissions, editing privileges, sharing settings, and more!

Up-and-Coming Favorites

The LTC also offers a variety of online courses on new and emerging topics. Here are just a few courses that educators across the spectrum utilize to stay up-to-date on the latest edtech software:

Meet the New Google Meet

Self-Paced / 1 PD Hour / Free

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In this course, participants will become acquainted with Google Meet, a popular solution for facilitating remote and hybrid classrooms. In particular, participants will walk away from this course with the ability to:

  • Join and host Google Meet online video conferences
  • Manage participants in a Google Meet conference
  • Improve the quality of Google Meet conferences and associated presentation tools
  • Use Google Meet in a variety of classroom and remote learning activities

Get to Know Microsoft Teams

Self-Paced / 1.5 PD Hours / Free

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While businesses around the world have already embraced the powerful connectivity potential of Microsoft Teams, many schools and districts are still learning precisely how this app can be used as a hub for educational communication. This course will teach participants how to leverage this platform in an educational setting by introducing them to each of the app’s most useful, education-centered features.

Keep It All Together with OneNote

Self-Paced / 2 PD Hours / Free

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Microsoft’s free OneNote platform provides a versatile set of tools for student note-taking. It can also be an outstanding platform for creating student-centered texts that support in-person and remote learning activities. In this course, participants will learn how to get started with OneNote as well as some practical ways to apply their command of OneNote in the classroom.

Opportunities for Administrators

While many of the LTC’s online courses are geared toward teachers and instructors, we also offer professional learning options for administrators. Here’s one of our most popular online courses among current school and district administrators:

Cybersecurity for Administrators

Self-Paced / 2 PD Hours / Free (for IPA Members)

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Cybersecurity threats are everywhere today, making it imperative for school districts to stay up-to-date on the latest prevention and response techniques. This course will help school and district administrators understand the nature of these contemporary threats, as well as what they can do to prevent their institutional networks from falling victim to an unauthorized intrusion or data breach.

This course was created in partnership with the Ed Leaders Network, the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology, and the Illinois Principals Association. Principals who are IPA members may take the course for free. Meanwhile, educators at Ed Leadership Network schools can participate in a similar, teacher-focused course for free.

Learning for Parents and Caregivers

During this time of remote and hybrid learning, many parents and caregivers have had to step up to support their children’s day-to-day educational needs. The LTC has created the following online course to fill this need, ensuring that parents and caregivers have the knowledge they need to keep their child on the right track:

Parenting in a Pandemic: Brain-Based SEL for Caregivers

Self-Paced / 0 PD Hours / Free

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Supporting your remote or hybrid learning student can be a challenge. But one of the best ways to facilitate at-home virtual learning is by establishing a learning space in your home. In this course, parents and caregivers will learn how to do that as well as incorporate social-emotional learning skills, like self-regulation, into their child’s daily learning routines.

Micro-credentials – A New Horizon for Professional Learning

Online courses aren’t your online option for acquiring new professional skills remotely. Micro-credentials are also becoming increasingly popular, with many participants prizing their ability to offer customized feedback and research-based content – all in a self-directed and personalized format.

The LTC is currently piloting its own micro-credentialing program, which is open to the public. Any and all interested educators are welcome to join the remaining sessions, all of which focus on different aspects of remote learning:

  • Managing Remote Learning Experiences – Begins February 22, 2021
  • Designing Remote Learning Experiences – Begins March 1, 2021
  • Supporting Students with Special Needs during Remote Learning – Begins March 8, 2021
  • Feedback and Assessment during Remote Learning – Begins March 15, 2021

To learn more about the research behind micro-credentials and to sign up for our pilot program, check out this recent blog post.

Supporting your Professional Learning Journey

Whatever direction your professional learning journey takes, the LTC is here to support you. Besides our catalogue of free online courses, the LTC also offers an assortment of webinars and regional workshops geared toward keeping educators at the top of their game. The LTC’s highly-trained team is also available for in-district training, which can be customized to fit the needs of your school or district’s faculty.

Matt Jacobson
Matt Jacobson
Online Learning Coordinator, Learning Technology Center

Matt designs, develops, and evaluates the LTC’s digital professional learning, including working with subject matter experts to create learning objectives, conducting needs assessments, and delivering interactive online PD opportunities.