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Athabasca University

Innovative Professional Development Opportunity: Blended and Online Learning

September 14, 2016

BOLTAs educational technologies multiply and extend their reach, finding one’s place in the sea of options can be challenging.  Beyond the how-to of specific tools, K-12 educators require the skills and knowledge to thoughtfully apply appropriate technology and support the diversity and range for all students’ learning.

To address this need, Athabasca University’s Centre for Distance Education in partnership with the Alberta Distance Learning Centre is offering an innovative solution: Blended and Online Learning and Teaching. This series of nine professional learning modules is designed for practicing teachers. BOLT provides a foundation in the theory, research, and practice of technology-supported learning and is also a bridge into graduate level studies.

The modules may be taken in any order and their timing complements the intense periods within the K-12 school year. Each one-credit module offers a self-contained learning experience, with the curriculum adapted from the Centre for Distance Education’s Master of Education graduate courses. Upon successful completion, BOLT graduates are eligible to have their credits applied to receive the Post-Baccalaureate in Technology Based Learning Certificate and have advanced standing for further Master’s level credentials.

BOLT offers multiple paths to ongoing and time-sensitive professional learning. Participants will explore current theory and evidence-based research as well as gain exposure to relevant educational technologies. Teaching experiences provide the context for assignments and allow for examination of technology integration into face-to-face, blended or online teaching practices. Topics covered include online learning and teaching, learning theory and systems analysis, Open Educational Resources (OER), the pedagogy, utilization, and evaluation of digital learning tools for all ages and subject areas.

With the two-week early access to the module’s videos and readings, three weeks of asynchronous discussions and the last offline week to complete assignments, each module provides a blend of learning activities.  BOLT cultivates the development of a professional learning network that will nurture inquiry both during and after each module. Participants are encouraged to engage with this professional community through the innovative BOLT Multi-Authored Blog.

This blog offers an online space for flexible and dynamic exchange by educators who are applying their learning to their professional practice. As the blog welcome message affirms, contributions reflect “practicing teachers’ lived experiences, their expertise, and their self-reflective individual wisdom.” Topics include technology reviews, Open Educational Resources (OER), and evidence-based teaching practices and emerging K-12 trends.

Registrations are open for the next BOLT module which begins on September 26, 2016. Cohort-based offerings can be arranged for divisions or schools interested in grouped professional development. For more information, please contact

Updated July 31 2017 by CDE

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.