Magazine article Techniques

Traditional Yet Progressive: A Twist on Teacher Preparation: Developing the CTET Curriculum to Be Delivered Online Wasn't Just a Fly-by-Night Decision. as Any Major Change Causes a Critical Examination of Current Practices, Beliefs and Goals, So Did the Process of Developing CTET Courses for Online Delivery

Magazine article Techniques

Traditional Yet Progressive: A Twist on Teacher Preparation: Developing the CTET Curriculum to Be Delivered Online Wasn't Just a Fly-by-Night Decision. as Any Major Change Causes a Critical Examination of Current Practices, Beliefs and Goals, So Did the Process of Developing CTET Courses for Online Delivery

Article excerpt

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At the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout), students can work toward earning a Bachelor of Science in Career, Technical Education and Training (CTET) without leaving home. Since 1918, UW-Stout has been a pioneer in preparing quality instructors for CTET environments. In the summer of 2006, the School of Education put a new twist on postsecondary career and technical teacher preparation; it began offering the 35-credit professional core of the degree online. Using technology for teaching is one way the program embraces UW-Stout's special designation as Wisconsin's Polytechnic University.

The bachelor's in CTET is a degree completion program for individuals with associate degrees or technical diplomas hoping to teach in technical and community colleges or serve as trainers in business and industry. The program requires 124 credits to graduate. Transfer students earning the degree must complete a minimum of 32 semester credits through UW-Stout which they achieve by completing the required core of courses online. Students may continue to transfer general education courses from other institutions throughout the duration of the program. Learners may pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time basis.

The online cohort is set up to be completed in two years, but the timeframe will differ depending on the number of courses students transfer in, and the number of credits taken each semester. Graduates teach in diverse postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) areas such as auto body repair and maintenance, welding, building construction, food service, accounting, supervisory management, computer networking systems, and dental assisting and hygiene.

As technical college programs must be responsive to the needs of the regions they serve, the CTET program must also be responsive to the needs of teachers. The program brings individuals from these diverse technical areas into a community of active learners focused on enhancing their teaching practices. The program targets individuals who are currently teaching in technical and community colleges and need to obtain their bachelor's degree. It is, however, also an attractive alternative certification option for secondary CTE teachers in many states. In addition, individuals who have worked in business or industry and now want to share their expertise through teaching at the postsecondary level pursue this degree.

Data from the 2005 Wisconsin Technical College System District Employment Report indicated that in the 2003-04 academic year, 8,270 of the 11,462 teaching faculty were part-time faculty. Teaching certification courses are included in the required professional core of classes within the CTET program which allows new and part-time teachers to prepare for their classroom roles and responsibilities. Being able to take classes without being in the classroom is frequently cited as a reason for choosing the new online degree completion option. The online format also allows students to balance the demands of work and family obligations more easily than either on-campus or weekend cohort learning can. A recent study conducted about the program revealed that 56 percent of online learners are female and 44 percent are male.

Developing the CTET curriculum to be delivered online wasn't just a fly-by-night decision. As any major change causes a critical examination of current practices, beliefs and goals, so did the process of developing CTET courses for online delivery. The program director believed it was important to maintain program integrity and uphold standards of quality that have been the backbone of the program for almost 90 years. Included in those standards are the rigor, relevance and relationship elements that have made the bachelor's in CTET the premier program for postsecondary teacher preparation in Wisconsin. Below is a discussion of some of the key components of rigor, relevance and relationships that are fundamental to the quality of the online CTET program. …

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