Certificates for Practicing Teachers

These 12-credit (four-course) certificates offer teachers at all stages of their careers an opportunity to learn deeply about a topic of interest. All courses are seven weeks in length, online, and three credits.

Any certificate can be taken independently, transferred directly into one of our Master of Arts in Education programs, or taken post-MAED. 

Computational Thinking and Coding 

  • This certificate prepares teachers to integrate computational thinking and coding into their existing curriculum or to design curriculum around these computer science topics.

  • Graduates help their students to see computer science as it applies directly to their interests and career aspirations -- and, in general, as a technical means to either solve a human problem or to tap into human creativity. In other words, graduates of this certificate help their learners recognize that computer science is for everyone.

  • Teachers will be prepared to teach their students active learning strategies (with or without computers) that develop their skills, content knowledge, and conceptual understanding of computer science. Teachers with this certificate often help their school or district to articulate a scope and sequence of computer science learning across K-8. 

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

  • Completion of this certificate will meet the Minnesota Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board requirement for culturally relevant pedagogy.

  • This certificate improves teachers' abilities to deliver curriculum and design their classroom to be supportive of the needs of all students. Culturally supportive pedagogy promotes social justice and builds on the social-emotional well-being of students. To lead transformational change in classrooms and schools that eliminate the achievement gap, teachers must learn and be comfortable talking about:

    • The social construct of race and the ways in which it has been used to reify White Supremacy through colonialism, the law, banking, social alienation, racism, and sexism in economic systems including banking, employment, access to housing, transportation, food, and safety;

    • History from the perspectives of people of diverse racial, class, and ethnic backgrounds;

    • The ways in which teachers and school systems perpetuate racism, inequality, and the school to prison pipeline;

    • and; the experiences and interests of students from diverse backgrounds.

  • How teachers understand the lives of their students dramatically influences the nature of learning that happens in a classroom. This certificate facilitates teachers' critical reflection on their understanding of students' lived experience and their development of a repertoire of respectful approaches leading to academic success for all.

Digital Video

  • Learn to communicate in the most powerful and ubiquitous medium of our time: Digital Video. Students will learn to teach K-12 students how to tell their own stories in ways that are worth watching and that reflect developmentally scaled skills and techniques in line with filmmaking fundamentals. Teachers find that when the medium for telling stories is digital and reflects an understanding of the filmmaking basics, they have their students' complete attention.

  • Teachers, librarians, or media specialists enrolled in this certificate will learn how to create videos and short films using the basic foundational language and understanding of filmmaking to involve their students in telling the stories of their own lives in digital videos, documentaries, and animations.

  • Courses develop participants' visual storytelling skills in order to demonstrate the many ways media makers capture audience attention and compel them to watch a story to see what will happen, step into the shoes of a different perspective on a topic, or learn something new.

  • Graduate students in this certificate learn skills for narrative fiction, non-fiction, animation, and journalistic approaches to this communication medium. 

Literacy Leadership

This certificate is perfect for those currently serving in leadership positions as well as those interested in literacy leadership. The main objectives of the two required courses include:

  • Developing leadership skills specific to literacy coaching, aligned with the International Literacy Association Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017); and

  • Being able to analyze the statistical data on learner outcomes accurately for student, family, and district needs. 

Elective courses allow teachers to focus attention on literacy areas related to their individual needs or interests. 

Special Education for the General Education Teacher

In today’s inclusionary settings, students with exceptional learning needs work with both Special Education faculty and General Education teachers.  The responsibility for meeting the needs identified in a student's IEP or 504 is a shared responsibility of the classroom teacher and special education team. 

Familiarity with the different categories of exceptionalities enhances the capability of general educators to meet the needs of all learners.  Teachers who complete this certificate will become familiar with the characteristics of students with exceptionalities and how to meet the diverse learning needs of their students.   This certificate will directly address a teacher's ability to meet the needs of students with IEPs or 504s, as well as improve their success with students from historically marginalized populations. 

A goal in this course is for teachers to develop a positive niche construction of neurodiversity so that PK-12 grade students may flourish in the “least restrictive environment” setting of schools.

STEM

In the STEM Certificate teachers choose four courses from at least three different focus areas: 

  • STEM Integration

  • Technology (Computer Science)

  • Engineering or Math

  • Science

Courses facilitate teachers' use of innovative, inquiry-based, hands-on learning at developmentally appropriate levels. External evaluation of our certificate in 2016 found that K-8 students taught by graduates of our STEM certificates improved their own STEM identities. Teachers completing the STEM certificate had significant improvements to their confidence, competence, and comfort with teaching STEM content and skills.  

Technology Integration

  • A sampler package that allows teachers to take courses in a wide range of academic technology integration. This degree is co-offered with the Master of Library and Information Sciences Department. Teachers or Librarians enrolled in this certificate learn how to shift their students’ orientation to their digital tools from being "consumers" to being “creators.” 

  • Teachers improve their ability to reach and retain the attention of all learners in fully online, hybrid, or one-to-one learning environments.

  • Technology is not always the right way to approach teaching or learning but used correctly, it can increase student engagement and transform their learning opportunities.

  • Teachers who complete a degree in this area will be confident online teachers, if that is what they want or need to do, or may move into a leadership position such as a TOSA for Tech Integration.