On the Horizon: 20+ Free Professional Development Opportunities for 2012

Part of the Cool Sites series

January is the month when many of us are motivated to accomplish our goals for the year. If you are like me then you may have experienced several years of getting goals accomplished then felt defeated. In April 2009, I joined Twitter and began collaborating and communicating with educators and found that this interaction helped me accomplish goals and so much more. With free social media platforms you can begin to develop and harness the power of your Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN) to accomplish goals. Social media provides us with incredible opportunities to choose the way we want to develop professionally. You can choose the topic, the medium, and who you want to learn from. Moreover, online professional development is packed with various types of multimedia experiences, such as webinars, virtual learning environments, discussion forums, live video, podcasts, web 2.0 creation tools, and more. The experience is usually dynamic and motivating because you are learning with others around the world! Below is a list of courses, programs, and webinars that offer you the opportunity to continue learning in 2012.

Upcoming Free Professional Development

Free Online Classes Throughout the Year!

Although many of these don’t necessarily start in January, these free courses are worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the year! They are free online courses taught by authors, subject matter experts, and university lecturers.

  • SEETA Courses– The South Eastern Europe Teachers Association offers several week courses with a guest author or expert in the field. You will have to register, but the courses are free!
  • MOOC– Massive Open Online Courses where 1000s attend for free through discussion forums and free webinars. Follow the hashtag #MOOC for the latest MOOC. University professors, TED speakers, and notable educational theorists moderate these courses. You learn from the very best in our field! Topics range from Personal Learning Networks to Mobile Learning!
  • MIT Open Course Ware offers over 1900 free online courses in over 20 subjects. You can subscribe by RSS or get e-mail updates.
  • Stanford on iTunes– Download courses, faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports that will play on your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC.
  • 17 Universities with free online courses– Find out how to access these free courses from some of the most respected universities in the world! This article also describes the experience of learning through these online classes.
  • 250 Free Online Courses– Find a list of several more free online courses from the top universities categorized by subject.


Try any of these professional development opportunities and blog about your experience.

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What are your favorite ways to learn online? Did I miss any other great professional development opportunities starting in January?

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. Shelly, there are so many resources here that I don’t know where to start! There are so many free resources available that teachers can use it for their own professional development all year round. Thanks for curating and sharing these!

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  3. Hi Shelly,
    Thank you for such a comprehensive list to recharge my passion for learning. I always enjoy and appreciate the opportunities and ideas you share. Thinking about 30 goals with some of my colleagues as well!

    – Sara

  4. Hi Shelly,

    Echoing somewhat what has been said already but thanks for such a comprehensive list of development opportunities.

    I’ll try one of these and blog about it. The virtual round table is one I’ve heard about and wanted to get involved in for a long time.


  5. Thank you Shelly for this more than extensive list!! Definitely the way to go, and not one) Shame I can’t be everywhere and do all the things that I want to.
    Special thanks for sharing free courses from universities – will eagerly check that straight away!


  6. Hi Shelley
    Will these courses be available beyond 2013 and 2014? I am interested more for next year and beyond.
    Thanking You

  7. I am interested in free on line I could take this summer(2014) to complete the PDU requirement. What I see is for 2012. Are these still available?

  8. Hi Shelley,

    I have the same question as Kathy that she posted in June 17, 2014. The schedule posted here is for 2012, do have a schedule for 2014 of free online classes ?


  9. I need 24 hours of PDUs by May 1st so I can renew my substitute license in OR. All of these seem to be listed for 2012, what is going on now that I might take on line.

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