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Coursera Teams Up with Museum to Provide Free Online Courses for Science Teachers

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The American Museum of Natural History is partnering with Coursera, a leading Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider, to offer science courses for teachers worldwide. The partnership, initiated in conjunction with several other museums and schools of education, including the Museum of Modern Art and the University of Virginia, marks Coursera’s first foray into professional development for educators at the K–12 level. 

Museum Facade DuskCentral Park West
The Museum facade from Central Park West.
© AMNH/D. Finnin

Starting this fall, Coursera will offer three Museum courses, on genetics, evolution, and Earth science for teachers.  All will be offered as free courses under the category Teacher Professional Development. 

The four-week courses will feature resources developed by Museum scientists and educators, including three-dimensional virtual specimens and videos that take educators behind the scenes to the Museum’s world-class collections as well as to field sites and research facilities. Introductory videos like the one below are available for each Museum course.

Edmond Mathez, curator in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, along with Rosamond Kinzler, senior director of science education, will teach The Dynamic Earth: A Course for Educators. Joel Cracraft, curator and division chair in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology, will teach Evolution: A Course for Educators. Rob DeSalle, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, will teach Genetics and Society: A Course for Educators

This partnership extends the Museum’s historic educational mission, which has included professional development programs for educators since the 1880s. Today, the Museum provides extensive teacher education onsite and online to more than 4,000 educators annually, including through a series of online professional development classes, called Seminars on Science, for K–12 teachers across the United States. Launched in 2000 with three courses, Seminars on Science now offers 12 courses, and approximately 1,000 teachers participate every year.

Click here to learn more about the Museum's Coursera courses for educators.