New Online Secondary Education Credentialing Program a Success

When David Wellman entered Humboldt State’s Secondary Education Credential program last fall, he knew he wanted to teach high school mathematics but he didn’t know where.

That’s where his advisers stepped in to help. They placed Wellman in a student teaching position at McKinleyville High School near Arcata, where he spent one semester observing and another semester teaching basic math.

Now, just a few months after receiving his secondary education credential through HSU, Wellman is teaching algebra and pre-calculus to 9th through 12th graders at McKinleyville High. He credits his career success to the teaching experience he gained while a student at HSU.

Wellman is one of three dozen graduates of the new online format of HSU’s long-standing secondary education credential program, a one-year combination of online instruction and classroom training that prepare students to teach grades 7 through 12. Since implementing the new format last year, the program has graduated 36 new teachers, with 39 enrolled this year.

2012-11-7-SecondaryEd.jpg
The new online format of HSU’s long-standing secondary education credential program prepares students to teach grades 7 through 12. The program has graduated 36 new teachers since launching last year.

The 38.5-credit program consists of 20 courses, spread over two semesters. The fall semester focuses on classroom observation and building a theoretical understanding of the teaching profession with classes in educational psychology, classroom management and multicultural issues in education.

The second semester focuses on solo teaching at a local middle or high school, with videotaped assessments and guidance from a mentor teacher and university supervisor. Out-of-area students are placed in public schools in their area of residence and receive feedback remotely from faculty.

Shannon Morago, program leader and secondary science methods instructor, says that virtual learning can be intimidating territory for students and teachers.

“A big part of teaching is building relationships and responding to body language—nodding, eye contact, smiling—so the challenge is finding ways to connect without face to face contact,” Morago says.

She and other instructors use Elluminate, a web-based program that facilitates online learning with features like live video, a chat box and virtual whiteboard. Students can raise their hands, indicate understanding, confusion and even amusement with the click of a mouse.

Student Alyssa Guerrero says the program’s simultaneous video and chat box function allows broader student participation. Despite the initial learning curve, she says online learning has its perks.

“I can be laying down or sitting outside in the sun going to class. When the instructors do it right, just as much learning can occur in a virtual classroom,” she says.

HSU’s online secondary education credential program is only one of its kind in the California State University system, says Field Coordinator Anna Thaler Petersen. The new online format means that anyone in California who meets eligibility requirements can earn a preliminary single-subject teaching credential. Students can choose from eight areas of specialization: art, English, social science, music, math, physical education, world languages and science.

The preliminary teaching credential is issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) and is valid for five years. During that time, candidates who wish to continue teaching in California must earn a professional clear credential by completing a CCTC approved Induction Program.

In addition to holding a college degree, program applicants are expected to have earned a CPR certificate and passed the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), among other requirements. The deadline to apply for Fall 2013 is Feb. 1, 2013.

The School of Education will hold two orientation meetings: Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. in Gist Hall 218; and Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. online.

To register or for more information, visit humboldt.edu/education/programs/credential-programs/secondary-education.