Press release

Teaching Online Essentials: National Institute for STEM Education Introduces Micro Certificates Focused on Virtual Teaching Skills

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While a majority of educators say schools should stay closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, they also say they are less effective working from home, according to a new EdWeek Research Center coronavirus-focused survey. In addition, less than half of teachers say they have taught live, interactive classes during closures, which is raising questions about what teaching will look like in the fall. To help K-12 teachers enhance their virtual teaching skills, the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE) has introduced a series of Micro Certificates called Teaching Online Essentials.

Teaching Online Essentials includes eight online courses that focus on how to implement evidence-based, hands-on strategies in the virtual classroom. Priced at $39, each three-hour course can be completed anytime, anywhere. Teachers who complete two courses in a specific area of practice earn a Micro Certificate. The four Micro Certificates are: Establishing the Virtual Classroom, Building Community in the Virtual Classroom, Achieving 21st Century Outcomes in the Virtual Classroom, and Implementing Meaningful Assessment in the Virtual Classroom.

Teachers who complete all four Micro Certificates earn the Teaching Online Essentials Certificate. Teachers can also choose to complete any individual Micro Certificate or course.

“When schools closed, many teachers had to shift to a virtual environment with little or no training in strategies for teaching online,” said Judy Zimny, Ed.D., vice president of NISE. “Teachers know how to deliver good instruction. They just need help applying this information to delivery in an online format. In the end, educators will seamlessly blend the strengths of both delivery models, which will be beneficial this fall and for years to come.”

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About the National Institute for STEM Education

NISE is more than a certifying body. It is a research-based support system for campuses and teachers seeking to strengthen STEM instruction and outcomes. Based on 15 STEM Teacher Actions that evolved from STEM professional development originally created at Rice University, NISE’s Campus and Teacher Certificates help school leaders and teachers understand and apply research and best practices in STEM, 21st-century learning, and professional development. For information, visit