UT Arlington joins White House technology initiative to improve teacher training, student learning

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The University of Texas at Arlington is one of more than a dozen universities that will be included in a new White House initiative aimed at empowering teachers and students nationwide to use technology in the classroom.

During a news conference in Washington D.C. today, President Obama announced ConnectED, a program that partners with online learning platform edX to offer free professional development courses and their accompanying certifications to teachers, along with courses to prepare students for Advanced Placement exams.

UT Arlington’s College of Education and the Learning Innovation Networked Knowledge (LINK) Lab, will offer one massive open online course, or MOOC, in 2015 called Technology, Literacy, and Diversity in Education. The course will likely be followed by additional courses through 2018.

“As an experienced leader in offering online classes and degrees, UT Arlington is proud to participate in this national program of impact for educators and learners,” said Samuel “Pete” Smith, UT Arlington vice provost for digital teaching and learning.  “UT Arlington’s deep faculty expertise and experience in the areas of online learning, digital literacies, and success of all learners online make it a natural partner for this nationwide initiative.”

The University provides fully online bachelors and master’s degrees in education, nursing and public administration. In Fall 2014, 17,185 UT Arlington students took at least one class online, with 13,245 students fully online. UT Arlington has more than 40,000 students worldwide.

UT Arlington began its first-ever edX MOOC, a course on learning analytics, in October. The University has also announced its intention to offer an engineering MOOC targeted for high school students as part of an edX initiative to bolster successful transitions to college. That course – Introduction to Engineering and Engineering Mathematics – begins in May.

Anant Agarwal, edX chief executive officer, said the ConnectED courses will empower teachers to use technology in the classroom in creative and personalized ways.

“EdX and our university partners are pleased to stand with President Obama to offer U.S. teachers and school districts free, innovative resources to improve teaching and learning outcomes,” Agarwal said.

ConnectED’s main goals include upgrading broadband and high-speed wireless connectivity, providing access to educational devices and software and training teachers to use technology effectively to improve student learning.

All courses will be open for registration on edX.org within the next 12 months. EdX partners participating in the ConnectED initiative include:

Teacher Professional Development:

  • Boston University     
  • Davidson College      
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • MIT
  • Rice University
  • Teachers College, Columbia University
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas Austin
  • University of Texas System      

Courses to Prepare for AP* Exams:

  • Boston University
  • Cooper Union           
  • Davidson College      
  • Georgetown University
  • Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Rice University
  • UC Berkeley
  • Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

During his announcement Wednesday, President Obama said: “We have to yank our schools into the 21st Century when it comes to technology, and to providing the tools and training that teachers need to use that technology to prepare all of our students for the competition that they’re going to face globally … We’re going to have to step up our game if we’re going to make sure that every child in America can go as far as their dreams or talents will take them.”

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 40,000 students in Texas and around the world and is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.