From the Trenches: Reaching Teachers with Distance Learning Professional Development Opportunities

As any professional development coordinator knows, getting the word out to teachers about professional development opportunities, particularly those not conducted at 3:30 in the afternoon in the gym or auditorium, is challenging. While "any time, any place" training is often cited as a goal of teachers for professional development opportunities, letting them know the availability of such resources is not necessarily easy.

Allen Lee, Instructional Technology Specialist for the Tyrrell County school system in rural North Carolina, has developed a systematic approach to alerting Tyrrell teachers about the availability of the online training and resources from the United Star Distance Learning Consortium (USDLC). This programming includes 175 hours of video-on-demand, featuring best practices in the classroom, and online modules, designed to align with state and national curriculum standards.

Allen has arranged to introduce the programming to the system´s faculty at meetings held in the schools´ computer labs. Each lab has a projection system so everyone can see how easy it is to log in to USDLC. They also have the opportunity to see the great variety of "best practices" videos and online courses available to them, including "Literacy to Learn: Reading, Writing and Thinking across the Curriculum;" "Achieving Academic Excellence" in the areas of reading, mathematics, and science; and "Best Practices for School Library Media Programs."

As follow-up, a link is being posted to USDLC on the district´s web page so that teachers will have ready access. Since all school computers have the district webpage set as the browser home page, everyone will be able to see and reach USDLC easily. Following the establishment of this link, an e-mail reminder is to be sent to all teachers and administrators explaining the value of the resource along with a reminder about how to login. Systematic follow-up and reminders are keys to ensuring that a valuable resource is not lost in the busy lives of Tyrrell County´s teachers.

Allen notes, "We´re a small rural district. The nearest university campus is an hour drive from us so it´s not hard to see why cost-effective distance learning opportunities like USDLC are so important to our employees."

For more information on USDLC online professional development, contact USDLC at info@usdlc.or or 1-888-828-7352. Programming can be previewed at

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