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E-Learning Update: Online Teacher Certification Derailed

According to this AP article, a bill in the Idaho legislature that would have required online teachers to go through a certification process showing they're qualified to teach online has been derailed. Apparently, officials from the state department of education there felt that the requirement would provide a financial burden on teachers.

Ensuring teacher quality is certainly an issue for online schools, as it is for any school, and as I've heard many times from online learning experts, just because a teacher is effective in a face-to-face classroom does not mean he or she will also be a good online teacher. In fact, teaching online requires a unique set of skills, according to experts.

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning has a few resources that can help outline what those skills are and what good online teaching looks like. This is its "National Standards for Quality Online Teaching," for example, and here is a report available from its Web site called "Going Virtual! Unique Needs and Challenges of K-12 Online Teachers."

What do you think? Should teachers be required to have a separate certification to teach online? Or is that an unnecessary hurdle?

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