NEA Academy: Frequently Asked Questions


Why do I want to take an online course?

Is it true that online courses are not as rigorous as classroom courses?

Is there any research about the effectiveness of online learning?

Is there any follow up to a course after completing it?

Are NEA Academy courses only available to NEA members?

How much do courses cost?

Are courses from the Academy eligible for renewal credit in my state?

Can I complete the courses in my own time frame?

What’s the difference between an instructor-led online course and a self-directed one?

Will I feel too isolated if I take an online professional development course?

How do you choose continuing education courses?

What kinds of continuing education courses do you offer?

I have a great idea for a course (or I've already taken a course that was great). Is the NEA interested in my idea? Who do I contact?

Do I have an opportunity to tell you what I think of an NEA Academy course?

I have registered for a class but when I click on it nothing happens.

How can we use the NEA Academy courses to strengthen the Association?

Why should I pursue a Bachelor's or Master's Degree?

Which institutions offer online Master’s degrees?

Which institutions offer online Bachelor's degrees?

How much will a Master’s cost?

What disciplines are offered?

How long are the programs?

How does the NEA Academy choose the institutions that offer degree programs?

Who do I call if I have a question about a course?

Why do I want to take an online course?
This is an excellent and convenient way to earn a degree or certification. Academy courses can supplement or supersede district instruction. Our students have online access to the nation’s top universities – regardless of where they live. Educators can learn at their own pace without feeling rushed through district-led trainings. Finally, with the advent of Web 2.0, learning doesn’t stop when the course ends. It continues within the rich online communities that form around particular topics.

Is it true that online courses are not as rigorous as classroom courses?
Research doesn’t support this notion. In fact, studies show that the actual design of the instruction, regardless of the delivery method, is a key indicator of student success. Nearly half of NEA members have taken online courses and had favorable experiences.

Is there any research about the effectiveness of online learning?
The research base for online learning is sketchy. Mostly it is self-reporting -- with participants indicating whether or not it was useful, impacted their teaching, etc. We hope to stimulate a more robust research agenda concerning online professional development.

Is there any follow up to a course after completing it?
We have discussion forums for educators who complete online courses so they can continue to interact with their colleagues.

Are NEA Academy courses only available to NEA members?
Many courses are offered to both members and non-members, but members usually receive discounted prices. Click on the course description for each course in the Online Course Catalog to determine if it is offered to non-members.

How much do courses cost?
Some NEA-produced courses are free to members. However, courses developed by outside non-profit or for-profit vendors will have fees. We try to negotiate reduced rates for members. Many courses can be taken for graduate credit for an additional fee.

Are courses from the Academy eligible for renewal credit in my state?
Many of the vendor-produced courses have arrangements with state departments of education or state standards boards to accept their courses for renewal credit. Participants who are interested in receiving renewal credits or CEUs should download the course description and submit it to their personnel office to apply for pre-approval. Several courses also have graduate credit options available for additional fees and assignments. Your NEA local may be able to assist you in getting approval for renewal credits for these courses.

Can I complete the courses in my own time frame?
Most courses have a time frame (e.g. six months) in which they must be completed. Courses marked as "facilitated" will generally follow a tighter time frame, with weekly assignments and expectations. "Non-facilitated" courses allow you to work at your own pace. Most courses are "asynchronous," meaning you are not required to be online at a specific time. Check the Content and Quality Review Board summary in the course description to determine the structure of the course you are interested in.

What’s the difference between an instructor-led online course and a self-directed one?
Synchronous, or instructor-led training, allows for real-time interaction between students and the instructor. Asynchronous, or self-directed learning, allows students to access online materials anytime.

Will I feel too isolated if I take an online professional development course?
We encourage participants to go through these courses in district or school-based cohorts, so you can work together with your colleagues to meet course expectations. Many participants tell us their "online cohorts," who may be across the country, become close collaborators and confidants. In fact, many report they feel freer to express themselves with someone in another state than they do with a colleague down the hall.

How do you choose continuing education courses?
Our Content Quality Review Board (CQRB) is comprised of K-12 classroom teachers, higher education members, education support professional members, and state staff. The CQRB uses well-defined requirements and standards for online professional development products. These include an analysis of

  • Content for Classroom Based Programs
  • Non-Classroom Based and/or Educational Support Professional Programs
  • Design
  • Interactivity
  • Support, and
  • Demonstration of Participant Learning

What kinds of continuing education courses do you offer?
Our content focuses on math and science, reading and literacy, special education, ELL, instructional design, discipline/classroom management, conflict management, differentiated instruction, and National Board Certification.

I have a great idea for a course (or I've already taken a course that was great). Is the NEA interested in my idea? Who do I contact?
Yes! We are interested! Course offerings and selections are guided by member needs and experiences. Tell us what you think at neaacademy@nea.org or call us toll free at 800-893-0396.

Do I have an opportunity to tell you what I think of an NEA Academy course?
Yes, we will have an evaluation form at the completion of every online course. Participant experience and evaluation information will be available to those wishing to take a course.

I have registered for a class but when I click on it nothing happens.
Our Help Center is available to resolve this as well as any other problems or concerns you encounter. Call us toll free at 800-893-0396.

How can we use the NEA Academy courses to strengthen the Association?
It is our hope that local and state affiliates can organize cohort groups to participate in Academy courses and that building representatives, state teaching and learning staff, Uniserv Directors, and others will use these courses to increase the value of NEA membership. We will document and publicize the creative ways our members and affiliate staff use the Academy to promote membership. Academy courses will be a very visible demonstration of NEA's commitment to creating great public schools for all students.

Why should I pursue a Bachelor's or Master’s Degree?
Higher levels of education, in addition to years of service, can help you move up the salary schedule in your district.

While salary schedules can differ from one district to the next, many of them follow the same basic format.

Below is a chart showing the first five years of the current salary schedule for teachers in Aurora, Colorado (the location was randomly selected). Take a look at how years of experience, education levels, and credits affect the salary.

If you’re a teacher with two years of experience, a master’s degree, plus at least 30 credits, you’d earn $44,952.

Years
of
Experience

MA

MA+15

MA+30

MA+45

MA+60

MA+75

PhD

1

41,556

42,612

43,669

44,739

45,799

46,859

47,923

2

42,812

43,879

44,952

46,031

47,104

48,177

49,250

3

44,066

45,147

46,234

47,321

48,410

49,491

50,584

4

45,321

46,417

47,514

48,614

49,713

50,809

51,911

5

46,577

47,682

48,795

49,904

51,015

52,123

53,243


Years
of
Experience

BA

BA+15 credits

BA+30

BA+45

1

37,295

38,362

39,416

40,480

2

38,504

39,581

40,652

41,728

3

39,716

40,802

41,885

42,973

4

40,926

42,021

43,120

44,220

5

42,135

43,240

44,356

45,465

Which institutions offer online Master’s degrees?
The NEA Academy is partnering with several public, private, and non-profit universities to offer quality courses to our members. We currently offer a wide selection of master's degree programs from Western Governors University.

Which institutions offer online Bachelor's degrees?
The NEA Academy partners with several public, private, and non-profit universities to provide quality courses to our members. We currently offer a suite of bachelor's degree programs from Western Governors University.

How much will a Master’s cost?
Programs will cost less than $20,000. Members will receive discounts of 5-10 percent on some courses. Fees on other courses may even be waived.

What disciplines are offered?
We’ll provide hundreds of degree programs. Many will be in areas of high need including special education and ELL.

How long are the programs?
Students should anticipate earning 33-36 credit hours.

How does the NEA Academy choose the institutions that offer degree programs?
Courses are reviewed by internal and external experts for online higher education.

Institutions are judged and selected by:

  • the number of years they’ve delivered online education,
  • awards and recognition they may have received,
  • the number of students they’ve serviced,
  • the level of technical support offered and,
  • the interactivity level of the course

Who do I call if I have a question about a course?
Many of our course providers offer technical assistance. Additionally, you can call our Member Services Center toll free at 1-800-893-0396. We’re available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST.

Our schedule changes slightly during the summer (Tuesday, July 6 - Friday September 3). We’re available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. EST. We will be closed on Saturdays.

 

What do I do if I see a an Error Code when I try to get to a page on the neaacademy.org site?

Non-Member Enrollment Options

HSTA Member Information

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