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Online teaching certification program begins

November 16, 2007

UW-River Falls is now offering an exclusive online graduate certificate. The certificate allows teachers to teach in alternative learning settings, and this program will effectively prepare teachers to teach in the alternative school setting.

“[Teachers] gain a solid foundation in the history, philosophy, educational psychology, curriculum, instruction and management involved in the rapidly growing area of Alternative Education,” according to the UWRF Graduate Studies Web site.

Alternative schools and settings are for students that “don’t respond to the ordinary school settings,” Associate Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies Mary Manke said.

The program takes one year to complete. Teachers from all over the country can enroll in this program because they can complete the coursework online.

This program is the only fully online program in Wisconsin, said Manke.

The department of public instruction, which is the government agency that approves teaching programs, has approved the program.

The certificate can be completed in one year.

The courses that are required for completion are: “History and Philosophy of Alternative Education, Alternative Education Students: Who are They?, Teaching and Working with Alternative Students, Building and Evaluating Alternative Programs and Practicum in Alternative Education,” according to the UWRF Graduate studies Web site.

To get certified, students must complete the core classes and a two-credit practicum. To be accepted into the program, applicants must have an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.75 “or an average of at least 2.90 based on the last 60 semester credits) of the undergraduate program,” according to the UWRF Web site.

There is an alternative education school in River falls called The Renaissance Chartered Alternative Academy. Currently there are 77 students enrolled at the academy.

Students of the UWRF certification program can volunteer at the academy for credit towards the practicum course.

Many teachers have wanted an online alternative education certification program where they can take courses online and get certified alternative education, Manke said.