Enhance your craft with the 30 Best Online Courses for Teachers.
Everybody has room for improvement: cooks, presidents, musicians, bankers—everybody. Many people, when they finally begin their profession, ignore continued education. Sometimes, they’re tired of schooling. Other times, they think that there’s no more room for advancement. These people, of course, are wrong. Whether you’re a new teacher or a veteran teacher, consider the 30 Best Online Courses for Teachers.
Teaching Isn’t What It Used to Be
Teaching has changed significantly in the past two decades. Primarily, education is now built around technological advancements. These days, it’s not surprising for every student in a high school class to have their laptop out. Many schools require a computer, and some teachers now teach their courses online.
Furthermore, some subjects—especially the sciences—have evolved, adding new theories and disposing of old ones. Depending on the subject you teach, you may be behind on the latest advancements. Thankfully, you can learn everything online these days.
What Can I Learn Here?
So you’re a teacher, and you’re looking to improve in your craft, right? Well, there are many ways you can improve your work. Usually, though, your school district will take care of imparting hard skills and new lesson plans.
Thus, the classes featured here focus more on soft skills and adapting to an online learning environment. From unexpected shutdowns to more diverse course offerings, online courses are booming. Many of the classes in this list will teach you how to design and adapt to the online context.
Other classes in this list cater to creating more inclusive learning environments. Teachers are educators, sure, but they’re also guides for their students. By creating more inclusive, asset-based teaching plans, students will feel at home in your class.
Getting an education or going back for more education can be a costly endeavor, sometimes with hit or miss results. That is why we at Online Course Report take our jobs seriously and provide you with a ranking of the best online courses for teachers based on weighted factors. With the amount of time and money you will be investing in these courses, we want to be as transparent as possible about the criteria with which we rank our courses. Some of the criteria and questions we asked ourselves when formulating our ranking include:
- Price: Is the course reasonably priced for the amount of content taught?
- Content: Is the content of the highest quality and conveyed in an easy to understand way?
- Proven Track Record: Does the course have a proven track record of producing competent students?
- Learner Satisfaction: Are the students who take this course satisfied with the type of education they received?
What Are the Best Online Courses for Teachers?
You’re probably a pretty good teacher, but do you know how to design and teach a class online? While the goals between teaching online and in-person are the same, the context is different. This alters the content—different teaching mediums require different teaching strategies. In this free online teaching course, you can learn to teach online like an expert.
This course will give you a working understanding of successful online teaching strategies. Additionally, it’ll pair your specific teaching strengths with the right platform and technologies for you. As part of this class, you’ll design—and reflect on—an online learning activity for students.
You don’t want to be the teacher who lectures students to sleep. To teach effectively, you need to teach well. Lately, teachers and teaching institutions are parading around ambitious teaching, a combination of innovative teaching practices. Of note, ambitious teaching principles encourage teachers to plan collaboratively, consistently have students apply what they learn, and improve their writing skills.
In this free online class, students will explore the meaning and value of ambitious instruction. Beyond that, they’ll learn the importance of technology in ambitious teaching. Upon finishing this course, you’ll be able to lead students through transformational change. And you’ll be a better teacher, too.
This MicroMasters program is part of a robust education course, which includes Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning and four other classes. The other courses are Designing and Leading Learning Systems, Improvement Science in Education, Case Studies in Continuous Educational Improvement, and Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement Capstone.
This program costs $1,045, which we admit is no small fee. If you have the time and the money, though, and you want to improve your teaching skills, there are no better teaching courses out there. As long as you invest two to four hours per week in the class, you’ll finish the program in ten months or less.
Education changes as quickly as the world, and the world is changing every day. How can a teacher keep up? Well, they can’t keep up with every innovation, but they can learn the widely accepted principles and patterns of pedagogy. Interested? If so, check out this fantastic course. You can either audit this class, gaining access to everything besides graded items, or you can buy the full program for $49.
This class will teach you about new learning innovations, didactic and authentic education, and transformative education. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to make purposeful choices and link particular theories to individual and group learning goals.
For one reason or another, it can be more challenging to focus on an online class than an in-person class. It’s probably a matter of available distractions: In an in-person class, you have nothing better to do than pay attention to a dull lecture. At home, though, you can find thousands of alternatives that are more captivating than a boring lesson.
In this free online course, you’ll learn how to create dynamic and interactive online classes for students of all ages. Among other things, this class will teach you about using multimedia for teaching and learning, encouraging student collaboration, and providing high-quality feedback to students.
Like most things, learning can be reduced to a science. What makes us learn something quickly? What makes us remember new information? Why do certain memories stick, while others seem to float away? These are some of the central questions to the science of learning. This class caters to K-12 teachers who want to learn the best teaching practices.
In this excellent course, students will learn about the science of learning. First, students will learn about common misconceptions about learning. These misconceptions can alter a teacher’s strategies, which can hinder students’ learning abilities. Then, students will learn about effective instructional strategies, develop assessments, and design learner-centered curricular units.
No two learners absorb information in exactly the same way. One may be a visual learner, while the other needs to write everything down to remember it. Some students cope with learning disabilities, which alters how quickly they can absorb information. As a college teacher, how can you balance the teaching landscape to cater to everybody’s needs?
In this free online course, you’ll learn how to establish and support an inclusive learning environment. This class will walk you through critical steps, such as setting explicit expectations, promoting inclusion through course content, designing all course elements for accessibility, and cultivating critical self-reflection.
The consensus is clear—positive reinforcement leads to quicker improvement and better attitudes than negative reinforcement. Sometimes, it’s tough to be a positive teacher. You may have a bad day or a student may be getting on your nerves. Well, look: You’re allowed to have bad days. Everybody is. The point of this course is to stress the value of your good days.
This class examines the foremost ideas of positive psychology and shows how excellent teachers apply those lessons to maximize student participation and accomplishment. In this free online course, you’ll learn how to implement character-based objectives into your teaching methods.
Remote learning environments are booming around the world. From schools closing because of pandemics to classes designed for remote learning, teachers should get to know different platforms for online teaching. Of note, Google Classroom is an excellent platform for creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way.
On Google Classroom, you can create tests and quizzes that grade themselves. This $19.99 Udemy course will walk you through designing a platform, inviting students, learning best practices for creating online learning environments, and communicating with students. For an affordable price, this class will teach you to grade remotely.
Let’s say you’ve recently graduated with a teaching degree, or maybe you, for whatever reason, have been unemployed as a teacher for quite some time. You know that teaching is for you, but it’s difficult to find a job in this competitive job market. What do you do? This Udemy course will teach you powerful techniques for finding and securing your dream teaching job.
For $124.99, this class will teach you how to use unconventional job search techniques to find a job before your competition does. Additionally, it will give you the tools to teach a demonstration lesson that impresses students and teachers. Finally, you’ll be empowered to walk into an interview already knowing the frequently asked interview questions.
Reading and writing don’t come easy for everybody. Imagine being the student who can’t finish a page before the time their peers finish the chapter? It’s frustrating, embarrassing, and stressful. As a teacher, you’re responsible for maintaining a respectful learning environment and accommodating the needs of students.
In this free, online course, you’ll learn about writing systems and models of reading acquisition. Then, the course will teach you the definition of dyslexia and show you how to identify it. In the next unit, you’ll learn about the psychological issues that stem from dyslexia. Finally, you’ll learn practical teaching approaches that accommodate students with reading and writing issues.
No matter whether you teach the fine arts of mathematics, “artful thinking routines” can enhance your classroom environment, catch your students’ attention, and improve your lessons. Artful thinking focuses on the value of observation, description, reasoning, questioning, and investigation.
In this free online class, you’ll learn how to use artful thinking routines to strengthen your teaching strategies. You’ll also learn how to use the method to facilitate meaningful conversations in your classrooms. The rest of the 14-20 hour online course will focus on creating dynamic learning environments, stressing the use of evidence-based reasoning, and creating immersive learning activities in your classroom.
This online course caters to all teachers and all teaching contexts. It doesn’t matter if you are a kindergarten teacher, university professor, or workplace trainer—this class suits every teacher, everywhere. This online program seeks to improve your skills in teaching, professionalism, assessment, and more.
This class comprises three units: Professional Knowledge and Understanding; Professional Practice; and Professional Values, Relationships, and Engagement. More specifically, you’ll explore questions like “How good is my classroom?” and analyze your classroom in terms of its utilities. The class will also focus on how to teach in an ever-changing world, implementing new technologies and recently accepted theories.
Teaching can be stressful. It’s an often underpaid profession with a lackluster work-life balance. Yet, who can stop a teacher from teaching? Nobody. It’s their passion, and nobody should discourage a person from pursuing their passion. Still, though, teachers can benefit from seeking mindful methods to implement into their teaching and at-home lives.
This $449 course explores ways to create a sense of balance in and out of the classroom. These methods include being present and authentic, developing a class vision, having an overall healthy approach, and being mindful. While this class doesn’t teach hard skills, soft skills are at least as beneficial, especially when they improve your peace of mind.
Even the best teachers must adapt and learn new practices to handle an online class. They need to learn the critical technological tools to run a class and adapt their teaching methods to an online format. This course was initially designed for teachers who were soon to begin teaching their first online class at Texas Woman’s University.
This course focuses on seven principles that enhance an educator’s online teaching skills. Some of these principles are “Good practice encourages student-faculty contact” and “Good practice develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.” The free course comes with supplementary resources that put each practice to the test. Additionally, you’ll receive a list of strategies to implement your newfound principles.
Anxiety is a student’s worst enemy. A student can be intelligent, interested, and capable. Once anxiety hits, though, a brick wall lies between them and the information you’re trying to teach them. Anxiety prevents them from doing homework or studying the class material. As a teacher, you must be an educator, but you should also be an emotional guide for students facing anxiety.
In this course, you’ll access insight on understanding and supporting students with anxiety. Additionally, you’ll use the cognitive behavior model (CBT) in real-world situations to help students process behaviors related to anxiety. You will also gain access to a slew of coping mechanisms that students can use in the classroom.
#17. Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Planning for Teaching and Learning by Commonwealth Education Trust
To teach a lesson, you first have to create a short and long-term goal. Lessons don’t stand alone. Rather, they are a component of a full plan. As a teacher, the first thing you have to do is know where you’re going. Otherwise, how are you going to navigate in any direction?
In this free online course, students will learn how to develop appropriate learning goals for individuals and groups of students. Additionally, they’ll learn how to plan learning activities to engage their students in ways that will achieve these goals. If you want to become a more organized, goal-oriented teacher, this is the class for you.
#18. Pivoting to Online Teaching: Research and Practitioner Perspectives by the University of Texas-Arlington
Online teaching is spreading everywhere. You know about that already, obviously—that’s why you’re here. While online teaching is ubiquitous, high-quality online courses are not. Many teachers lack the energy, technological understanding, and the attitude required to design and teach online classes.
In this free online course, you’ll learn about research-informed, effective practices for online teaching and learning in college institutions. If you’re teaching undergraduate, postgraduate, or any higher-level courses, this class will teach you the critical strategies to enhance online learning environments. The instructors host weekly live sessions and invite experts in the field to supplement the course material.
#19. Introduction to Data Wise: A Collaborative Process to Improve Learning & Teaching by Harvard University
Data is the center of our lives. It informs us about every subject, from public health to political tendencies to teaching and learning. Here’s an example: Imagine you write a math test, which includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Students perform well in addition, subtraction, and multiplication, but they don’t score well in the division section of the exam.
In this free online Harvard program, students will learn about the “Data Wise Improvement Process”, an 8-step process for using a wide range of data sources to improve instruction. Students will learn to analyze data sources, identify the next steps to support a culture of collaborative inquiry, and understand all aspects of the data wise process.
Our classrooms are more diverse today than ever before. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to create inclusive lesson plans and an all-are-invited teaching environment. Otherwise, you risk socially isolating minorities and ignoring their needs in an academic environment. Thankfully, professors and researchers at Cornell have designed an inclusive teaching framework with multiple entry points for reflection and exploration of the research on learning and diversity.
In this free online course, you can learn about that framework. You’ll reflect on your formative experiences as a learner and teacher. Additionally, you’ll learn strategies and exercises that you can use to communicate effectively, ease discussion, and model inclusivity.
If you’re finishing your Ph.D. or you’re a high school teacher thinking about teaching on a college campus, this course is for you. University teaching is in its own league of the academic world. Rather than teaching kindergarten or high school classes, university teaching involves high-level theories and adult students. It isn’t the toughest thing in the world, but it’s no cakewalk either.
This free online course will teach you about the inner-workings of university teaching, the latest research in teaching at higher-level institutions, and instructional designs that cater to students’ needs. Additionally, you’ll learn successful pedagogical theories and assessment and feedback practices that can help students learn more effectively.
Your classes and students are only as organized as you are. That presents teachers a challenge—if they are overtly juggling several tasks at once, students are going to notice. The more respectful students will become disorganized, and the class clowns will find every opportunity to speak out of turn.
In this free online class, you will learn how to plan ahead, juggle many goals at once, access tools for tracking time commitments, and create a personalized organization system. Essentially, you’ll build an organized system to keep your things together, and give you the guise or disguise that you are 100% organized at all times.
#23. Assessment in Higher Education: Professional Development for Teachers by Erasmus University Rotterdam
Higher education teachers have a lot on their plate. They lecture hundreds of students, grade their assignments, and have supplementary activities like research and article writing. It’s difficult to balance. Often, professors in the best universities are better researchers than teachers. This free online course will improve your teaching abilities in higher education.
This class will teach you to design an assessment that’s aligned with the course objectives and activities. Additionally, you’ll learn how to choose and weigh criteria to construct high-quality assessments. Lastly, you’ll analyze assessment results and form future improvements for assessments. If you want to improve how you assess students, this course is for you.
Have you ever taught a class where no student was looking at you? Instead, they were looking at the ground, their phones, or each other? Does it make you frustrated when your students don’t focus?
Many new teachers are familiar with the leading theories, lesson plans, and strategies for teaching. Often, though, they lack the in-class presence to engage students. And if a teacher can’t captivate their students’ attention, students will ignore the teacher’s lessons. If you want to be a high-quality teacher, it is critical to improve your in-class presence. In this $19.99 online course for teachers, you will learn about an innovative solution that helps teachers engage with their classrooms.
#25. e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age by the University of Illinois
Many teaching institutions are behind on technology. In the recent coronavirus outbreak, many universities, which had no online learning option, had to scramble to organize their materials on the internet. Technology has an impressive impact on learning systems, but it doesn’t necessarily change education. Still, though, educators should become more familiar with technologies in the digital age.
Students in this free online course will learn about the seven affordances of e-Learning ecologies: ubiquitous learning, active knowledge-making, multimodal meaning, recursive feedback, collaborative intelligence, metacognition, and differentiated learning. If you want to become familiar with the 21st-century learning landscape, this course is for you.
Historically, teachers plan lessons around students’ disabilities. They treat students according to their needs rather than their assets. This mindset is problematic. What if, instead of accommodating students for what they don’t have, teachers catered to what they do have? Neurodiversity focuses on using strength-based strategies designed to help students with special needs to be successful in life and in school.
This $449 online course is one of the best learning resources on neurodiversity anywhere. This class will teach you to focus on the positive aspects of neurotypical and neurodiverse students. It also focuses on delivering methods to support and provide for students’ needs.
Field trips to museums introduce students to ideas, technologies, art, and sciences of the past. At a museum, students are encouraged to ask questions, make observations, and form hypotheses. Museums provide a free-thinking intellectual space. For some reason, though, teachers ignore that they can bring this mindset from the museum to the classroom.
This free online class focuses on integrating works of art into your classroom with inquiry-based teaching methods originally developed for in-gallery museum education. This course has four modules: Why Engage in Inquiry Around Art?, Close-Looking and Open-Ended Inquiry, Activities in Inquiry, and Putting it all Together: Making Connections Across Curriculum.
Schools should be a safe place. They should be inclusive and bully-free, and they should accommodate the needs of all students. Unfortunately, there is a gap between how things should be and how things are. Bullying in schools is rampant and it’s not going to slow down unless teachers and school administrators make changes.
This $449 online course details six strategies for reducing bullying in schools. The class outlines how to prevent and intervene when bullying occurs, and setting rules and structure to create a safe and respectful school climate. This course is relevant for all content areas—if bullying occurs at your school, try this class.
The best way to maintain a student’s attention is to use dynamic teaching methods. Lectures, interactive activities, collaborative activities, and lessons across different mediums are conducive to a healthy learning environment. Digital storytelling is one of the best new methods to engage and educate students.
This free online class examines how to plan and create fixating digital stories. The class comprises five units: Choosing a Topic and Defining your Purposes, Writing an Effective Script and Creating a Storyboard, Recording Audio Narration, Assembling Story Elements, and Reflecting Upon the Course. If you want to create more dynamic activities for your students, try this course.
Children are some of the most responsive beings on the planet. Give them a good story, and they’ll listen. Act apathetic, and they’ll care as little as you. Mindsets matter. Through the adoption of growth mindsets, students can learn and grow in astonishing ways. In this class, you’ll learn strategies to ensure your students are challenged.
Furthermore, you’ll make sure they think critically and can embrace failure as a necessary step of eventual success. This philosophy will aid you as a teacher, and promote personal and academic success for your students. This $449 class includes a hard copy textbook that will help you along the way and act as a resource forever.
Why Can’t I Design an Online Class as I Would Design an In-Person Class?
Many teachers ask this question. What’s the use of learning online teaching techniques when you already know how to teach? What’s the difference, anyway? Look at it this way. In an in-person class, the teacher is usually speaking, and you’re usually listening. Sometimes the material is less than fascinating, but you still listen because there’s nothing else you can do.
Now, put that same dull lecture online. Guess what happens? The student is no longer reading the lecture, but looking at Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter, and finding anything to do that’s more captivating than your online class. There are two things we can conclude here. First, the internet has far more distractions compared to the classroom. While a student can’t distract themself in a classroom, they most certainly can online.
This brings us to the second conclusion: In-class teaching strategies can improve, too. If the only reason a student isn’t distracting themself in your classroom is that they can’t, that’s not saying much. The only thing that says is that a restricted environment forces focus. But instead of increasing engagement, this type of learning environment just forces students into their own shells.
They don’t gain any satisfaction from learning, and they form poor learning habits. The point here is, your teaching methods should be more dynamic whether you teach online or in class. The only difference is that it’s more clear in online classes.
How Can I Make My Classes More Engaging?
If you want a detailed answer, choose one of the many courses on this list that provide a highly regarded solution. Here’s the short answer, though. In school, students are saturated with information. Most of the information is important, but each student will hang onto the material that seems most relevant to them. Or, students hang onto the material that captivated them.
You’ve probably seen Bill Nye the Science Guy’s material, right? He’s not necessarily the most accomplished scientist, and he’s certainly not the most respected scientist in his field. Yet, if you asked an elementary school student to name a famous scientist, as many of them would say Bill Nye as Albert Einstein. Why? It’s because Bill Nye knows how to engage with his audience. He knows how to make otherwise boring material very fun instead.
So how can you make your classes more engaging? Teach with different mediums: video, lecture, storytelling, collaborative assignments, and interactive assignments. Try experiential learning strategies, where students interact with what they’re learning. The more ways a student engages with a single thing, the more likely they are to memorize it. Show students how fun it is to learn. That way, students will want to learn.
I’m So Busy. How Can I Balance These Courses With the Classes I Have to Teach?
Teachers are very busy. They must balance creating lesson plans, grading assignments, and working at school throughout the day. If you’re a teacher, you may be wondering how you can add another task to your busy life. It may sound like torture, right?
The fantastic thing about most, if not all, of the courses on this list is that they’re mostly self-paced. You can study for ten minutes today, an hour tomorrow, and skip the next day without missing assignments, forgetting the content you learned, or making your teacher hate you. Here’s what a self-paced class means: You can read through lessons and lectures at your own pace. If you forget something, you can always return to the lesson and re-read the information. Many online platforms allow you to highlight or screenshot the most essential information, too.
Many online courses don’t have assignments. Those that do usually don’t have a fixed due date. Rather, you must complete an assignment before moving forward. When you do that, though, is entirely up to you. So don’t worry! We know you are busy, and that’s why we only chose courses that can accommodate your needs. The courses on this list are self-paced, interesting enough to catch your attention, and important enough to put time aside.
If you’re interested in pursuing online education, then you should check out The Best Schools for Autism Students and The 30 Best Online Courses for Working Professionals!
List of Courses:
- Learning to Teach Online by UNSW Sydney
- Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning by the University of Michigan
- Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement by the University of Michigan
- New Learning: Principles and Patterns of Pedagogy by the University of Illinois
- Get Interactive: Practical Teaching with Technology by the University of London
- The Science of Learning – What Every Teacher Should Know by Columbia University
- Inclusive Teaching: Supporting All Students in the College Classroom by Columbia University
- Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms by Relay Graduate School of Education
- Teaching with Google Classroom by Udemy
- The Complete Guide to Getting a Teaching Job by Udemy
- Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing by the University of London
- Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art by SmithsonianX
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Introduction by the Commonwealth Education Trust
- The Mindful Approach by Learners Edge
- Promising Practices in Online Teaching and Learning by Texas Woman’s University
- Anxiety Awareness: Empowering Students with Help and Hope by Learners Edge
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Planning for Teaching and Learning by Commonwealth Education Trust
- Pivoting to Online Teaching: Research and Practitioner Perspectives by the University of Texas-Arlington