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Rio Salado College Works with New York Times System to Deliver Teacher Training

A community college in Arizona is teaming up with the New York Times to produce online teacher preparation courses. Rio Salado College, the largest by student population in the Maricopa Community College District, will be working with the Times' Knowledge Network to develop and deliver a national online post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program. The new offering is designed for people who already have a bachelor's degree and want to earn a teaching certificate for elementary, secondary, or special education.

The courses, which will also include "brick and mortar requirements," will be taught by Rio Salado faculty and supported by the Knowledge Network's learning management system (LMS), Epsilen. The LMS features course management, access to the New York Times content repository, and collaboration functions--blogs, wikis, forums, private student groups, and chats--that put students in touch with other. Epsilen was developed at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and is now majority-owned by The New York Times Co.

Initially, the courses will be tested out within the state of Arizona. Future plans include expanding the program nationwide. Participants will be able to begin their course work on one of 48 start dates throughout the year.

The program is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education. According to the college, certification is accepted in many states nationwide. However, Rio Salado in a statement emphasized that admittance to the program and state certification are based on state-by-state requirements. "It is the responsibility of the student to verify those requirements," the college noted.

For the current year, starting July 1, pricing of the program for in-state tuition runs between about $2,900 and $3,900. Out-of-state tuition is between $12,000 and $16,200. Several of the courses include in-person time. For example, the class, "Classroom Management," calls for 25 hours of in-person practice.

"By weaving online course content together with 'real world' application, through school observations and hands-on interaction in preK-12 classrooms, teacher preparation students are very prepared to enter their own classrooms upon program completion," said Janet Johnson, faculty chair of education for Rio Salado College.

Rio Salado College, with about 62,000 students, was started in 1978 and serves one of the largest online enrollments in the United States. It is Arizona's largest provider of adult basic education.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.