Free Distance Learning Modules for Texas Middle, High School Educators Thanks to New Partnership
AUSTIN, TEXAS, Aug. 13, 2020 — One of The University of Texas at Austin’s signature initiatives, OnRamps, is partnering with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide five free modules from OnRamps Distance Learning Catalog to be included in TEA’s Strong Start Resources.
The OnRamps Distance Learning Catalog is a comprehensive series of online professional development modules that equips Texas middle and high school teachers with skills and pedagogical knowledge needed to teach in distance or hybrid-learning environments.
The catalog is comprised of 20 modules categorized by the themes of belonging, learner-centered design, assessment, and technology. Five of the 20 modules are available for free through the TEA website. The remaining 15 modules, and access to forthcoming content, can be obtained through a campus or an individual license.
“This is a timely and powerful offering that our University is pleased to make in service of our great state,” said The University of Texas at Austin’s interim President Jay Hartzell. “By providing resources to assist Texas middle and high school teachers with distance learning, we not only help them and their students navigate the pandemic, we also help those students continue to receive a high-quality education. This will ensure that they don’t miss a beat and continue to thrive now and in the future.”
In partnership with the TEA, the following five modules will be offered to Texas’ more than 180,000 eligible middle and high school teachers:
- Cultivating Authentic Student-Teacher Relationships in Distance Learning
- Aligning to Synchronous and Asynchronous Experiences
- Learner-Centered Design
- Facilitating Feedback at a Distance to Improve Students' Awareness of Learning Progress
- Student-Driven Self-Monitoring within a Distance Learning Cycle
“OnRamps is closely aligned with TEA’s mission to improve outcomes for all public school students across Texas,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “The modules offered in the Distance Learning Catalog reflect the evolving needs of teachers and districts and will allow teachers to explore concise, curated content at their own pace. At a time when the success of remote learning is critical to student success, this partnership is a win for public education in Texas.”
Through participation in the modules, educators will receive feedback on their learning based on competencies related to distance learning. All modules are self-paced and feature downloadable materials for educators to utilize in their own classrooms. Teachers who complete these modules will meet requirements for both synchronous and asynchronous modalities and will be awarded one hour of CPE credit per module.
“Our extensive history and success in distance education and professional learning and development allowed us to recognize a need and desire for tested and evidence-based remote instructional methods that we could provide Texas teachers to continue their critical work with students, regardless of modality,” said Dr. Jennifer Porter, managing director of OnRamps. “We recognize the significant challenges teaching in the current environment has presented teachers and are eager to support educators and districts during these uncertain times.”
Dr. Porter will be leading a live webinar about the Distance Learning Catalog on Tuesday, August 18, 3:00-4:00pm CT, via Microsoft Teams. More details can be found on TEA's Strong Start Implementation Supports.
OnRamps is one of The University of Texas at Austin’s signature initiatives designed to expand access to high-quality educational opportunities across Texas. It offers distance education through a dual enrollment model for high school students to engage in authentic college experiences and robust professional learning and development for their teachers to deepen their content knowledge and impact in the classroom. Serving tens of thousands, in partnership with districts and higher education institutions across the state, OnRamps is helping to reduce barriers to college readiness and increase the number and diversity of students who are on the path to postsecondary success. Learn more at onramps.utexas.edu.
ABOUT THE TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY
The Texas Education Agency is the state agency that oversees primary and secondary public education. It is headed by Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. TEA improves outcomes for Texas’s 5.5 million public school students by providing leadership, guidance, and support across the state’s 1,200 school systems.
The agency’s mission statement is included in the current Strategic Plan (PDF); TEA’s current strategic plan can be found on our Strategic Plan webpage.
To learn more about TEA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Guidance, please visit the agency’s regularly updated COVID-19 website.