September 7, 2010
Vol. 2, No. 1
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Apply Now for Online Teaching Academy


All levels and areas of education are increasing online offerings, including adult education. To support programs and teachers in the area of online instruction, OTAN is initiating an Online Teaching Academy (OTAC) directed towards increasing online instruction for adult learners. OTAC will accept 12 experienced and/or aspiring online teachers and provide training and support for the initiation and development of online instruction. Subject areas may include ESL, ABE, ASE, GED, especially those focused on transition to employment, job training or postsecondary, and CTE courses with basic skills and/or work skills integrated into the curriculum.

OTAC will provide an environment of open sharing, collaboration, and personal and professional growth in the area of online instruction. Participants will learn about challenges and best practices in online teaching, and will work on creating their own online or blended course material using Moodle as a course management system. Projects can include supplemental materials to support classroom instruction, support for an existing online curriculum such as GED Connection or Crossroads Café, or even complete stand-alone courses.

Applicants must be nominated by an administrator. The nomination form is part of the online application. More information and the online application are available on the OTAC site.

Applications are due September 30, and participants will be notified the first week in October in order to plan for attending the first training days in Sacramento on November 9 and 10. Interested instructors must be nominated by a program administrator in addition to submitting their individual application.

OTAN Hiring Distance Learning Coordinator

Distance Learning

OTAN is currently hiring a Distance Learning Coordinator. This person will be responsible for a number of new projects in the area of encouraging and supporting online instruction for adult learners. Projects include overseeing the development and piloting of sharable online courses, coordination of the new Online Teaching Academy (OTAC), and planning of a Technology and Distance Learning Symposium scheduled for next spring.

The successful Distance Learning Coordinator candidate should have experience in adult education as a teacher or administrator, project management experience, and expertise in online learning. Please help us spread the word about this excellent opportunity. For additional information, contact Marian Thacher, or view the listing on OTAN.

Online Course Pilots

OTAN is looking for a few teachers to pilot two online courses this fall. One is a wrap-around Moodle course to support USA Learns 2nd Course for Intermediate ESL. For distance or classroom teachers who will be having their students use USA Learns 2nd course, this Moodle site will add writing assignments, a discussion board, journal reflections, increased vocabulary work, and the opportunity to build online community among the students.

The other course is an 18 week advanced ESL course. The course outline is available on request. The pilot class doesn't need to be totally online, as long as students can access the course materials as a supplement to classroom activities, and the teacher can support students in the course and provide some feedback to OTAN. There will be a stipend offered for participation in the pilot.

What the program and teacher get:

  • A 20 unit online curriculum in Moodle for Intermediate ESL students who are also completing USA Learns 2nd Course, OR an 18 week Advanced ESL course. These courses are not self-paced - the teacher will have a role in providing orientation to the students, facilitating instruction, reviewing student work and giving feedback.
  • An orientation to Moodle for teachers (2 hours, online). This will get you started, and you can contact Penny at any time for further help if you need it.

What we need from pilot teachers:

  • Complete the Moodle orientation
  • As you use the course with your students, make notes on our wiki about what works and what needs further explanation or tweaking.
  • Participate in one online meeting in October (1 hour) and one in January (1 hr) when your class is finished.

Feedback will help us improve the course, and also develop complete teacher and student orientation materials. Please contact Marian Thacher,, if you are interested in participating.

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

Document Library

Join in the nationwide celebration of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (AEFL), September 13-19, 2010. 

Approved by Congress for a second year in July 2010, this effort is an opportunity to work with policymakers, the media and the community to raise awareness and support for adult education and family literacy.   

The National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) is providing support and materials to assist programs and practitioners in planning events to celebrate the week.  Link directly to NCL or AEFL for resources and ideas, including:

  • the latest fact sheets on adult and family literacy issues, sample press releases, marketing materials and other resources for Program Directors
  • a special section on ideas for ways  Instructors  can become involved
  • ideas for working with Partners and community organizations

Be sure to also check out the Campaign page to 'help create a buzz' about adult and family literacy by creating or joining blogs, twitters and sharing photos.

Global Education Conference

Global Education Conference

The 2010 Global Education Conference is a collaborative effort to significantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting education activities and initiatives. The conference will be held online November 15 - 19, 2010 in the Elluminate (now Blackboard Collaborate) platform. Sessions will be free, broadcast live in multiple time zones and multiple languages, and available in recorded formats afterwards. The dates of the conference coincide with International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State.

Presentation proposals are now being accepted.

Distance Learning Professional Development

Distance Learning

As you get ready for the new school year, here are some professional development opportunities related to distance learning. Register for these webinars soon!

Distance Learning Offers New Solutions
Wed. Sept 8, 2 - 3:30
Lynn Bartlett will review where we are with distance learning, and answer questions you may have about your Innovation Programs application which is due Sept. 30th, along with the evaluation for 2009-10. View the new and improved application process and hear the latest information on curriculum and program requirements. Learn about new federal guidelines and how they will apply to your agency. Share ideas about how to thrive in challenging times.

So You Want to Teach Online?
Thurs. Oct. 7, 4-5:30
Penny Pearson and Kate Crawford will review the ways in which teaching online is much different than teaching face-to-face in a traditional classroom. Attend this webinar to learn what those differences are, what it takes to be a good online teacher, what technical skills are needed, and where you can find additional help for all of the above. Expect to participate in discussions and share ideas and concerns among the participants.

Creating a Quality Online Course
Thurs. Oct. 23, 3:30-5
Review the 6 basic areas of creating a well-designed online course. Review specific guidelines on creating good content, principles of instructional design, elements of student assessment, technology requirements, course evaluation and management and the implementation of 21st century skills within your course. There will be short discussions on each area and rubrics to measure a current or future course will be provided.

Find out more about OTAN Online and Face-to-Face courses.

Technology Plan Webinars Coming Up

Distance Learning

The Technology Planning form is available now online, and is due January 31, 2011. The technology plan includes a survey of technology skills fo teachers that focuses on a broad definition of technology integration and on classroom as well as personal skills. Each teacher completing the survey now has the option to create a professional development plan based on the survey results.

There are a few changes to the planning form this year based on feedback from the field. Changes include a way to check off goals completed without writing a narrative, and an easier way to carry over, revise or delete current goals. All staff responsible for the technology plan are encouraged to take advantage of the online training being offered by OTAN in September and October. This will be especially important for those new to the technology planning process, although it will be a good refresher for others as well.

To register for one of the four workshops, go to the California Adult Education Training Calendar and choose OTAN under Sponsor. The dates of the webinars are:

For further information or assistance, contact Branka Marceta, or 800-894-3113.

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