MOOC Launches Jan 12

Hello Course Participants, all 345 of you,

I have noticed that many of you have been signing up for blog updates before the course starts on Monday, January 12th. Yay! I am excited about the launch of the course. I am Dr. Scott Petri, your instructional co-host for Helping History Teachers Become Writing Teachers. I want to welcome you to the MOOC and describe the overall format of the course.

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As schools and districts implement the Common Core, we know that all teachers need to become writing teachers. Unfortunately many History & Social Studies teachers have not had sufficient instruction or practice in historical writing. Very few teacher professional development seminars focus on this topic. I hope this MOOC demystifies the writing process and encourages you to increase the amount of writing you assign in your classroom.

Each week, there will be an introductory lecture explaining the theme of the module. A featured reading, or series of readings on the topic. A quiz on the reading. Then outside video lectures and resources that will elaborate on the topic and assist you with implementation. Lastly, discussion board prompts will help you apply the content to your classroom practices.

Please understand, I am a classroom teacher, not a professional broadcaster. You are not going to get top-end production values in my video lectures. The resources in this MOOC were collected on the journey I have taken over the last five years as I have moved from fill in the bubble testing to assigning more authentic writing tasks as assessments. I do not consider myself “the expert” on this subject and the resources curated here are a mere fraction of what is available on the internet to help you introduce more writing into your classroom. A Japanese proverb states “one of us is not as smart as all of us” This sums up a key benefit of the MOOC format. It is participatory and collaborative. With several hundred participants contributing, you are bound to find something that moves your thought process and improves your practice.

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I encourage you to share your resources, techniques, and systems with our course participants. It has been my experience that teaching is all too often a solitary act. Connecting with a supportive community of educators that encourages experimentation and innovation is, quite frankly, what is missing from many school site or district professional development programs. I hope we can create that type of community within this course. Thanks for joining us. I look forward to meeting you on the discussion boards.

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