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?

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