Course description: Career planning is an essential life skill that can enable people to become more self-directed and empowered as they confront a rapidly changing economy and other life challenges and milestones. Career planning is itself a process of self-discovery that helps people identify what they are good at; and understand how their skills, talents, and interests translate into work and roles outside of work, such as parent, partner, and community member.

This is the second of three modules that comprise the Expanding Access through Distance and Blended Education. 

This second module reviews which learners you would like to serve, which are promising candidates for your program, how to find them, and how to support those who need preparation in order to be accepted. We will give examples of ways to gather information about their skills and resources necessary for study via distance and blended education, and how to help them address needs they may have. We will discuss how to orient students according to their strengths and gaps so they are set up for success for study offline or online. 

Drawing on the nationally recognized IDEAL Distance and Blended Learning Handbook, our team has adapted the three IDEAL courses (Modules 1-3) to reflect current MA policies and guidance from ACLS. If you took any previous to the summer of 2020, please consider taking them again because they have been updated to include successful practices for this period of remote teaching and learning in response to COVID-19.

This course will introduce you to essential and foundational information about blended learning. It includes key definitions, strategies, examples, and reflective activities primarily presented in multimedia format. The goal of the course is for teachers and administrators to have a basic understanding of the different forms of blended learning, and how they might integrate them into the courses they provide to student populations they currently serve as well as those they would like to begin serving.

This third module in the series explains how to select online instructional products, where to find the list of state-funded online instructional product licenses, supplemental resources to extend learning, and how to organize them. Options for staying in communication with learners are discussed. It also covers types of assessment, how they support instruction and learning as well as retention, and ways to carry them out in the distance learning environment. It includes a discussion forum to share ideas with colleagues, and time with an experienced coach to think through questions or to get suggestions to your program’s specific context.

In this second module in the three-part series, you will look into steps involved in recruiting new students: defining the target audience, determining where they are located, and selecting the best ways of reaching them. We will cover what to screen for that will help to identify which new learners will be a good match for your distance education or blended learning program. We will discuss how using these screening tools with current students can be an important way to know which supports to include in the orientation and to consider when planning instruction and assessment (covered in Module 3) to help them succeed. We will cover what have been found to be important elements in a distance education and blended learning orientation. These elements address the information and skills that lead to students enjoying a successful learning experience.