The Louisiana Algebra I Online Initiative as a Model for Teacher Professional Development: Examining Teacher Experiences
Over the past decade online learning initiatives have shown tremendous potential for broadening educational opportunities and for addressing local and regional shortages of highly qualified K–12 teachers. The Louisiana Algebra I Online initiative represents one type of online model than can address both the need for improving course offerings and for addressing teacher shortages. The goal of the model is to improve educational opportunities for students by providing them with a high-quality, standards-based curriculum delivered online by a certified mathematics teacher and to support the professional development of teachers in hard-to-staff schools by partnering them with a highly qualified teacher-mentor who is available online. The innovation of this model for online learning is that it integrates classroom-based learning with virtual learning thereby providing students with the structure and opportunities afforded by regular class meetings and supports the professional development of uncertified teachers through ongoing and embedded professional development opportunities. This research suggests that the Louisiana Algebra I Online model is a viable online model for providing teachers with an effective model for authentic and embedded professional development that is relevant to their classroom experiences.