Course Development & Goals

We base our approach to planning and building course offerings on classroom and school needs, trends in education, and continual feedback from teachers - regularly updating our existing catalog and developing new courses.

Course authors are content experts with extensive subject matter credentials and classroom experience who work closely with our development team to build an experience that is relevant, highly practical, and aligned with industry standards. Courses are not just filled with innovative techniques, but also illustrate how to apply these tools in practice. With each course, you’ll develop tangible products such as lesson plans or assessments that can be immediately used in your own class.

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Authentic & Personalized

Because every subject and grade range has its own needs, and every educator has their own individual needs as well, we have designed our courses to put you in control, allowing you to actively engage in the learning process, set goals, and direct your learning outcomes. You’ll determine the specific approach to the coursework and assignments by making choices relevant to your own personal life experiences, professional role, and environment.

Courses also include authentic assessments that mirror the type of work teachers do in the classroom. With case studies, active reading exercises, and time for developing student-facing activities, our courses provide consistent opportunities to express learning in a genuine manner that uniquely matters to you.

Each online course also allows you to choose your preferred method of engagement: take the course fully online, maximizing the convenience and technology available - or if you prefer, download or print the course activity packets to read and complete offline.

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Why Online?

All courses are online and self-paced, meaning you can choose to complete your work at 2 am or 2 pm, from the comfort of your home, or anywhere else the day takes you. You are not required to participate in synchronous, real-time conversations or activities, giving you maximum flexibility.

Online courses also include a variety of web-based resources in addition to traditional texts, allowing us to offer much more dynamic sources of information in a timelier fashion.

Additional benefits of web-based resources

  • Expands access to learning

    Provides access to materials at any time and allows for unlimited access even after course completion.

  • Meets more learning styles

    Allows for a much more immersive, descriptive experience by incorporating video, audio, and other content, rather than just text in a textbook.

  • Promotes easier sharing

    Whether for students in a classroom or discussing with colleagues, web-based resources are already in a shareable format. We even offer parent-focused resources that teachers can share with parents, extending their classroom strategies into the home!

  • Allows for quick circulation

    Information may be disseminated rapidly - especially when compared to information published in textbooks or journals, which may take months or even years to become available. Quick availability of material increases the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.

  • Increases diversity of perspectives

    The use of web-based resources provides a wider array of perspectives on the subject matter.

  • Creates exposure to new resources

    Often introduces our educators to websites they did not know about, opening a whole new repository of resources they incorporate into their craft.

  • Provides access to frequently updated information

    Unlike textbooks and other static sources of information, web-based resources can be improved quickly through direct editing by users or through solicitation and incorporation of user feedback.

  • Expands ability to align with different guidelines and standards

    Allows us to align course content with a variety of federal, state, technological guidelines, frameworks, and standards (CCSS, Danielson, ISTE, P21, etc.) used in the K-12 environment.

  • Meets expectations of K-12 students

    The use of web-based resources more closely reflects the experience students need and expect in the classroom.

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Professional Learning Community

Whether you’re looking to incorporate new teaching strategies, connect with other educators and course participants, or enhance your lesson plans, we’ve created a space dedicated to the K-12 community. All learners receive lifetime access to our online Professional Learning Community (PLC) which fosters engagement and offers ample opportunities for learners to interact on a variety of topics or within course discussion forums. This is a place devoted to learning from one another, sharing resources, discussing ideas, and interacting with other experienced education professionals in a comfortable environment.

You will be able to read or post to existing discussion forum threads, begin new ones on new topics, share websites, files, videos, etc. with one another, and easily access an ever-growing database of relevant resources. Course instructors also highly recommend that our learners broaden the feedback and input they receive on assignments by posting certain portions, diversifying the perspectives and input you’ll receive about your work.

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Facilitiation and Feedback

With proven track records of supporting teachers across content areas and grade levels, our instructors guide learners through their courses by answering questions, offering detailed feedback on assignments, and more. Instructors have a deep understanding of national standards like the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and feedback is always constructive, research-based, and thorough.

Instructors are selected for their excellence in teaching as well as their commitment to providing meaningful professional development for K12 professionals. They are seasoned classroom educators who are highly qualified and passionate about learning. In addition to their knowledge of the unique subject matter of a course, they must meet strict credential and in-classroom tenure requirements.

All Advancement Courses’ instructors must:

  • provide detailed, subject-specific feedback that aligns with course- and assignment-level objectives. Feedback is always positive, highly supportive, constructive, and rubric driven.
  • demonstrate mastery of and comfort working within the Danielson Framework.
  • show impeccable written communication skills and the ability to support educators tactfully and effectively.
  • respond in timely manner and bring in relevant outside information including applicable standards, pedagogy, and resources.
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Focus on Student Success

Fostering student success in both academics and social-emotional growth is a major focus of all our courses. Our courses are filled with strategies, techniques, and activities that are directly tied to improving student achievement in the classroom.

And while many professional development courses may tack on a section at the end, we believe that knowledge of special populations is integral to all subjects and grade ranges. That’s why our courses include direct strategies for working with these exceptional students (special needs, English Language learners, at-risk students, and gifted and talented students).

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Higher Education Rigor

Course Experience

In addition to clear alignment between objectives and assessments, and robust supporting course material, our assignment and feedback structure aligns with established best practices in online instruction to help our learners achieve classroom success using the tools they develop in our courses. To help ensure continuity of these efforts, we include the following in each of our courses to help learners understand and address course and instructor expectations:

  1. The Reading/Viewing/Listening resources for all modules include contextual and/or guiding questions surrounding the web links or chapter assignments, to more clearly embed them in the course.
  2. The discussion forums include higher level Bloom’s Taxonomy, Depth of Knowledge verbs.
  3. The checkpoint assignments provide the learner an opportunity to develop a component of their comprehensive final project.
  4. Final Projects include:
    • Detailed output guidelines, including a high word count and the required use of outside resources.
    • A request intended to enhance critical thinking and final project rigor

Example Request

Include a description of the specific challenges you anticipate may arise as you implement your artifact, and strategies that you will use to overcome those challenges. How will you practice self-accountability through these challenges, and ensure that you pursue implementation of your artifact when obstacles present themselves?

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy of our courses is intentionally designed to account for student achievement over time. The first activity in our courses is a goal setting activity, where we ask our learners to set measurable goals for themselves that they’re able to test throughout the course. Specifically, this activity asks our learners to do the following:

Before beginning, please take a moment to reflect in a short paragraph on the factors that have motivated you to take this course. What about your experiences or your professional practice made you want to learn more about this topic?

Then, please set 1-2 personal or professional goals that you hope to be able to achieve as you work on or after you have completed this course. You may structure your goals in any way that you like - for example, if you prefer the SMART model for writing goals, you are welcome to use it.

Then, the culminating project of each course provide our learners a way to test their goals through a scaffolded summative assessment, including:

  • aligning their goals with the course content and learning outcomes
  • applying the course content in a personalized and authentic way to an audience that best aligns with their intended goals
  • applying the course content in a personalized and authentic way to an audience that best aligns with their intended goals
  • devising an implementation and evaluation plan for their projects

By the end of the course, our learners compile all the above artifacts and submit them as their culminating final projects.

All final project assessments evaluate four key areas: knowledge, application, and implementation of course content, and an evaluation plan for implementation. Regardless of the artifact learners choose to create, learners must demonstrate skills in these four areas. Examples of these final assessments include but are not limited to unit plans, parent contact strategies, and professional learning presentations for an audience of administrators or peers.

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