About Us

What is Online Learning?

Imagine getting connected with leaders in education throughout the world, access to thousands of ideas to implement in your classroom, and sequenced professional development that builds your teaching skills.  And then, imagine having all of that during passing time at school.

Or, at midnight in your bedroom.

Or, in the lobby of a hotel clear across the country.

With online learning, you can have all of it.  Online learning provides a new way to gain access to professional development opportunities that were never possible before.  It fits in your schedule, allowing you to go your speed and through many different paths for learning.  It is on-demand and just-in-time.  And what's more, it provides a range in the size of professional development opportunities that can meet all your needs.

Online learning uses the Internet for the learner to gain access to the teacher, other learners, instructional material, and interactive digital lessons.  It also comes in many forms.

Think of online learning in these 3 broad categories:

AEA PD Online works to bring all of these to you:
  • Online courses tend to be what we think of first when we think of online learning. They feature an online instructor and the chance to earn credit.  But online courses are not isolating experiences. Our online courses always feature a large amount of interaction between participants, through discussion forums, collaborative group work, peer-assessed activities, and other collective sharing repositories. Often, participants report they got to know their fellow participants better because of the way online courses are structured.

    Our online courses are available throughout the year in anywhere from 1- to 3-credits. To see what current online courses are available, check out our course registration site.
  • Online modules are lessons that require no instructor. A participant can navigate through the self-paced instruction at her own pace. While online courses are required by code to be at least 15-hours of instruction per credit hour, online modules usually last about an hour, with the main purpose being a limited set of objectives to master in that time.

    We feature many different types of online modules. Our online training system contains mandated trainings for educators, such as the Mandatory Reporting of Child and Dependent Adult Abuse, as well as OSHA required trainings like Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens. Also, longer sequences of modules that weave together these lessons with other resources can be found on our Moodle server.

  • The "Other" category of online learning represents the future of online professional development, where educators are conversing with other educators over a distance to progress a community of learners to higher understanding. This includes our Agora, connecting educators through social networking and the establishment of a personal learning network, as well as Live!, connecting through just-in-time webinars and virtual meetings for discussions around educational topics.

For more information about these, please see our  Frequently Asked Questions.

AEA PD Online's Staff

To carry out the work for AEA PD Online, the AEAs employ the following statewide positions:

AEA PD Online's Mission


  • To increase the amount of online professional development opportunities for Iowa's teachers, including diversifying along subject areas, grade levels, and online format
  • To improve the quality of online professional development for Iowa's teachers
  • To serve as an advocate for quality online professional learning by partnering with other state organizations

AEA PD Online's History

In 2007, seeing the future of teacher learning would include online professional development, the AEA Chief Administrators commissioned what would be known as the AEA Online Council (website). Composed of a representative from each AEA, the Online Council is a collection of expertise from license renewal programs, educational services, media services, and education technology.

In addition to several ex officio members, including from several partners, the AEA Online Council meets monthly to discuss, prioritize, and plan professional development opportunities.

In the fall of 2009, the AEA Online Council recommended doing more than simply working collaboratively. They proposed a statewide system, where online professional development would be located in one place for educators across the state. This was the beginning of AEA PD Online.

In the fall of 2010, the AEAs drafted a 28E agreement to govern the system, choosing one AEA to be the "host" for the statewide technology, while the planning continued with the work of the Online Council. To oversee an operational budget, the 28E agreement established a 5-person governance council.

Current members of the Governance Council include:

Bev Berns-AEA 1 Kurt Subra-AEA 11
Julie Davies-AEA 267 Jon Wibbels-Northwest AEA 
Jeff Herzberg-AEA 8 Katie Gavin - Great Prairie AEA
Kim Hofmann-AEA 9 Lane Plugge - Green Hills AEA
Joe Crozier-AEA 10

In January 2011, AEA PD Online received approval from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to offer license renewal credit. Currently, we partner with 3 institutions to deliver graduate credit: Drake University, Morningside College, and Viterbo University.

To help guide the work of AEA PD Online's license renewal credit offerings, the AEA Online Advisory Council meets regularly. Meeting the requirements set in code, the Advisory Council is a mixture of stakeholders from LEAs, post-secondary institutions, statewide organizations, and the community.

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