Instructor Update - June 2017
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Instructor Update

Hello from a new(ish) face

Hello everyone!  If you are receiving this, this means you are a teacher for AEA PD Online, have taught for us in the past, or have made a proposal/shown some interest in teaching for us.  We attempt to send out quarterly newsletters to let our instructors know about upcoming changes and other important information.

My name is Evan Abbey, and I serve as the Program Director for AEA PD Online.  I will also be serving as the license renewal coordinator for AEA PD Online, at least temporarily.  Dr. Peggy Steinbronn is retiring at the end of June, after 6 years with us in the role of license renewal coordinator and instructional designer, and she will be missed.

Two other names to note during this transition.  Deborah Cleveland ( will be providing backup to this process, and will be taking a lead role in the instructor mentoring and recruitment phases.  Especially if you are a new instructor, you will want to get to know Deborah, as she is working hard to assure beginning teachers make it over that first-course hump.  Also, Craig Mohr (our newest instructional designer, will be providing Moodle support to instructors.

And... a new name!

As a bonus surprise, we are changing our name.  Beginning on October 1, we will be known as AEA Learning Online, as this better reflects what we do as an organization (we have not been solely professional development for a few years now).

This means a change in our logo (seen here) as well as new links to the websites (though, the old ones will forward to the new ones).

We'll keep you up-to-date as this transition happens.  If you have any questions about the transition, please let me know.

And... a new theme!

Because change always happens in threes, we are exploring a new theme for Moodle.  This theme is on the server currently, and you can pilot using it right now if you would like, though you don't want to do so mid-course, lest you throw all of your students for a loop.

The theme is more minimalistic and is built-in to Moodle, meaning that it will maintain updates more readily than our current theme (Essential).

For right now, we are keeping Essential as our base theme.  Around October 1, we are exploring the switch to Boost as the base theme.  We are learning towards allowing the instructor to choose the theme that they would like to use in their class, knowing that the orientation materials might not be reflective of a different theme.

We'll have more information as we proceed.

Course Approval - Things to Note

With any change in personnel, that raises questions of how things will change.  Each person is different, of course.  Peggy and I will, by nature, have different things we focus on in proposals.  I thought I'd share a few of my focal points.  I don't want to give the indication that these are different or changing from what Peggy focused on.  There could be no change whatsoever, and Peggy very well could be scrutinizing each of these more than I do.  I just wanted to make mention of a few things so that you aren't wondering "what's changed?"

Within the course proposal, I will be closely looking at:
1. Making sure that you have 15 in-class and 30 out-of-class hours, and those are broken down into definable tasks.  If, hypothetically, a person says something like "10 hours - Final Project", I would ask for that to be broken down into 2-hour max increments.

2. Making sure that class rubrics measure an aspect of quality and not just quantity.  That is, the rubric isn't simply saying "completed 5 posts = A, completed 4 posts = B", but rather talks about the expectations for quality in those posts, and how they are different at the different grades or point values

3. Making sure the research base references new, critically-reviewed research.  It is okay to use items like blog posts and such, but not exclusively.  There has to be some research behind the topic you are teaching that shows it leads to student achievement and the intended outcomes for your course.

4. Making sure that the course work and assignments are rigorous and worthy of license renewal work.

Within the course itself, I will be closely looking at:
1. Making sure your course has a course orientation in it.  The easiest way is to add the orientation block.

2. Evidence for the course matching up with what is proposed.  That is, I will want to make sure that if items are listed within the course proposal, they are actually happening in the course.

3. Evidence for teacher interaction and feedback.
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