Publications & Research

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation


Presented at the NCSSS 2019 Professional Conference

Publication Date





Signature Strategy: A Model for Interactive Online Educator Development

Micro credentialing is a process through which professionals can gain credit or recognition for learning new skills, requiring less time and less monetary commitment than certification or degree programs. Typically, micro credential programs offer education in specified skills. For example, a teacher can gain a micro credential in Inquiry-based questioning techniques. Micro credentials may be obtained for learning broad concepts, such as STEM education. While there is no set template or regulation on micro credential programs (anyone can offer and distribute these credentials), most require the student to demonstrate skill acquisition through assessments; such as, projects, papers or essays, submitted videos demonstrating learned skills, artifacts from teaching. Credentialing usually involves the distribution of a badge or certificate indicating a successful completion of program or course requirements. These credentials, while not accredited degrees, offer useful evidence of acquired skills to current or future employers. In education, professional development credit often accompany the badge or certificate.

In this session, we detail the development of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy’s (IMSA) Signature Strategy Professional Development menu, including an option that leads to Micro Credentialing. The goal of creating this series of offerings is to train educators in the instructional strategy we employ at the academy; to combine our core competencies (inquiry-based, problem centered, competency driven, and integrative teaching and learning) throughout all of our instruction. This professional development series is designed to ensure that those teachers partaking in the courses offered are well-versed in these competencies and are prepared to utilize these techniques in their classrooms. Through example activities, hands-on learning opportunities and interactive online choices, teachers develop skills to provide competency-driven, inquiry-based, problem-centered and integrative instruction. Teachers learn to identify these characteristics, how to develop, administer and assess activities that exemplify these core competencies. As educators complete coursework in each individual competency, they earn micro credentials. When an educator completes coursework in all four competencies, they may be considered “IMSA- Educators”.

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