October 29, 2007

Making the Master Teacher Program Accessible to All Anglophone Teachers

What is the Master Teacher Program?

The MTP is a M.Ed program created to help teachers develop the professional competencies needed to be a reflective practitioner in college education.   The program, designed by experienced cegep teachers, is accredited by the University of Sherbrooke through its Performa program.

It was initially conceived in 1998 as a response to the need to have training supports in place to accommodate the massive turnover of cegep faculty that was expected from 2005 to 2014.

As we went along, experienced teachers evidenced an interest in the program so now our participants  represent a cross-section of  beginning, mid-career and experienced teachers.  About 250 teachers are registered in the program. Click here for detailed information about the program.

Why is it a problem to make the Master Teacher Program accessible to all anglophone teachers?

The Master Teacher Program is offered face-to-face to the teachers in the greater Montreal area.  We have had requests to make it available to Anglophone teachers in the outlying areas.

What colleges currently have teachers in the program?

Champlain, St Lambert, Dawson, John Abbott, Vanier, Marianopolis, Heritage.

What colleges outside of Montreal have asked you for the program?

We have been approached by Heritage College, Champlain, St. Lawrence, Champlain, Lennoxville,  Gaspé  and even ESL teachers outside the Montreal area for a different delivery format so that their teachers will not have to travel to Montreal on  a weekly basis.

What about Sept-Iles?

We will consult with Sept-Iles in the near future.

You mentioned Heritage already had teachers in the program but is also asking for a different format.  Please explain.

Several years ago, Heritage asked us if we could bring the program to them.  We said yes provided that we had fifteen participants. We are a self-financing program and need fifteen students in a course to break even.  Six Heritage teachers decided to pursue the program so we created a weekend format so that they could come to Montreal four weekends a semester to join their Montreal colleagues.  This travelling is proving to be a burden both financially and time-wise.

What have you done already to work toward a format that would be amenable to the outlying colleges?

In the past two years, we have storyboarded three courses in full, created 9-12 hours of online interactive activities in six courses and created a weekend format that includes online activities in two courses.  We have offered all these formats at least once.

What are your plans for the future?

Right now we are working on creating a more blended format.  We started last year to imagine what it would look like.

Our goal is to replicate face-to-face teaching.  First, we want to model a use of technology that the teachers could use in their own classrooms to support teaching and learning, and second, we have had consistent feedback from our participants to the effect that they are happier being in class with one another. In addition, we want our online and computer-supported activities to be better than what a teacher could accomplish in a traditional classroom teaching mode.

A tentative format for a two credit course (30 contact hours):

  • Two days intensive face-to-face in Montreal to kick off the activity (12 hours)
  • Virtual classroom for the remote sites using tools like VIA, Skype, IChat, Elluminate, V-Room with a local animator; face-to-face for the Montreal participants (3 hours)
  • Online activity using WebCT (3 hours)
  • One day intensive face-to-face in Montreal (6 hours)
  • Virtual classroom for the remote sites using tools like VIA, Skype, IChat, Elluminate, V-Room with a local animator; face-to-face for the Montreal participants (3 hours)
  • Virtual classroom for the remote sites using tools like VIA, Skype, IChat, Elluminate, V-Room with a local animator; face-to-face for the Montreal participants (3 hours)

What challenges do you have?

We have many challenges including but not limited to the following. We lack:

  • State-of-the-art training labs (hardware, software, equipment) for professional development purposes,
  • Non-teaching professionals dedicated to instructional design using technology,
  • Resources to buy connect time for systems such as VIA or Elluminate,
  • Videoconferencing centers in several of our colleges,
  • Technicians dedicated to support for professional development.

In addition, our resource people need to have consistent training, coaching and technical help to adapt the program to a new format and to deliver it effectively in that new format.

How are you responding to your challenges?

A group of MTP resource persons meet on a regular basis. This “community of practice” consists of resource persons who are already offering blended courses, who are beginning to design blended courses or who have some special expertise. We are also planning a technology professional development day for our resource persons on January 10, 2008. In addition, we are attempting to sensitize the administrators to the resource issues.

When will the new format be ready?

We are creating the format this semester, experimenting with it in Winter 2008 and hope to offer the first course in the new format in Fall 2008. Stay tuned!

Click below to add your comments or ask questions about the Master Teacher Program in the Reader Response feature.

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