Coursera on Wednesday announced it has partnered with 12 top professional development programs and schools of education to open up training and development courses to teachers worldwide. The massive open online course (MOOC) provider is expanding beyond university courses by offering 28 teaching courses for free, with more to come.

Coursera says it wants to create a hub of teacher professional development courses aimed at providing teachers, parents, and anyone else who teaches with “the tools and skills to help build stronger education systems.” In true MOOC spirit, all the courses are available online to anyone interested.

Here are the 12 groups Coursera has partnered with:

  • Seven leading schools: the College of Education, University of Washington; Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Match Education’s Sposato Graduate School of Education; Peabody College of education and human development, Vanderbilt University; Relay Graduate School of Education; and University of California, Irvine Extension.
  • Five educational institutions and museums: the American Museum of Natural History, The Commonwealth Education Trust, Exploratorium, The Museum of Modern Art, and New Teacher Center.

Just like the university courses Coursera currently offers, these new additions will feature video lectures, peer forums, supplemental materials, and other interactive components. The first courses cover diverse subjects including content development, the common core curriculum, teaching through tinkering, character education, and implementing flipped and blended learning strategies. They are listed on Coursera’s course directory under the newly added category “Teacher Professional Development.”

It’s worth noting that this is the first time Coursera is partnering with non-degree-bearing institutions. It’s also Coursera’s first foray into early childhood and K-12-level education. The company clearly sees this as a necessary step if it wants to go beyond just students and address the other side of the expensive education equation.

“At Coursera, we hope to support millions of teachers around the world in expanding their skills, networks and knowledge, by opening up access to some of the best resources out there, free of cost,” said Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller. Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng added: “Many schools just don’t have the resources to provide teachers and parents the training and support they need. By providing free online courses on how to teach, we hope to improve this.”

In short, Coursera’s eagerness to include teachers in its system makes perfect sense. You can’t attempt to revolutionize education by only changing the world of learning: you have to tackle the world of teaching too. The Coursera platform is designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, which can help both students and teachers make the best of today’s increasingly online world.

See also – Online learning goes official as five Coursera courses get approved by the American Council on Education and Coursera adds 29 new universities to bring total to 62, offers first courses in Chinese, Italian, and Spanish

Image credit: Irum Shahid