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Indian River State College Prepares K-12 Educators with New Online Learning Courses

With the recent passage of the Digital Learning Now Act, school districts throughout Florida are facing new requirements to establish virtual learning options, including a mandate that all students take at least one online course prior to graduating high school. In an effort to better prepare the state's K-12 educators for online instruction, Indian River State College (IRSC) will create a series of courses designed to overview the various methods associated with teaching and learning in the virtual environment. IRSC will partner with e-learning provider VSchoolz to deliver the courses.

"As education transitions from traditional classrooms to virtual learning environments, it is imperative for teachers to learn new skills, and become adept in the use of new technologies and associated pedagogy if they are to effectively engage today's students," said Marta Cronin, director of the School of Education, Indian River State College, in a prepared statement.

According to IRSC, courses will be built around standards developed by the International Association for Online Learning (iNACOL) and Quality Matters, providing applicability beyond the state of Florida.  "The fact that the course is built around international standards will make it more applicable to K-12 teaching nationwide," said Cronin.

Design of the first course in the series has been completed, and will be offered later in the spring in a self-paced, online format that leverages various Web-based tools and resources. Teachers will have the option to take courses for college credit or take individuals modules of instruction.

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Chris Riedel is a freelance writer based in Illinois. He can be reached here.