Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Professional Development + ECE College Degree

If you’ve ever wanted an Early Childhood Education degree or CDA certificate or super convenient college classes to take for professional development, you will want to check out the new partnership between ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) and StraighterLine. I have all the awesome details for you here!

ChildCare Education Institute has been a leader in providing online courses and professional certifications for years. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite courses they offer during the last few years. Now, through a partnership with StraighterLine, you can continue your learning journey with even more courses that include college credit that transfers easily to more than 2,000 colleges and universities.

Here are a few exciting things you will want to know:

==>  Educators can earn college credits!

==>  You can take courses needed for your degree online! They currently have more than 60 GE courses available!

==>  Those courses (and the college credits you get while completing them) transfer to more than 2,000 college and university partners!

Early childhood educators are always in demand. Every step teachers take (earning a CDA, then an associates degree, then a bachelors degree, then a teaching license) tends to increase your salary by around $10,000 – $15,000, so having a convenient way to work on your license and degree also increases your potential salary!

Taking courses through StraighterLine requires creating a new account and signing up for the course. This is pretty easy and straightforward. The StraighterLine system has my favorite conveniences from CCEI as well:

==>  Courses are self-paced. You move through as much or as little as quickly as you like.

==>  Courses are more reasonably priced than many colleges and universities.

==>  Courses are completed at your convenience. Online. Any time of the day or night that works for you. They even have tutors available 24/7 and live support 7 days a week!

Here are a few things I noticed that are different:

==> Each course is a 3-credit hour course. If you’re enrolled in a partner university or college, the courses and credits transfer directly.

==> StraighterLine courses include an e-textbook. I’ll share more details on this below but, the short version is, it’s awesome!

==> StraighterLine courses include a proctored final exam

==> StraighterLine offers both early childhood education courses and dozens of general courses that you can also use for professional development or toward a degree.

Since the StraighterLine courses are college courses (unlike the online professional development I’ve taken), they include quizzes, tests, and textbook reading. This makes sense because you’re getting college credit, and you should expect to spend a little more time on these courses. It usually takes about 45 days to finish a course, but some have finished a course in as little as two weeks.

I thought I’d share some extra details from this course with you so you can see what to expect in courses from StraighterLine!

When you begin the course, and every time you log into the system, you can see your progress bar on the left of the screen. On the right side, you see the course content. Foundations of Early Childhood Education has 6 topics. Within those six topics are 29 assignments, which you can see on the tab next to the Course Topics.

Before you start the lessons, a short welcome sequence introduces the entire course with a video and gives you a thorough explanation of the Academic Honesty and Integrity expectations. There is also a detailed set of instructions on citations and how to include sources in your written work.


Foundations of Early Childhood Education has 6 topics. Four of them include new material and two of them are exams. You can see them here:

Within each topic are a number of lessons. The first topic, Teaching and Learning, has nine lessons inside it. Here’s a peek at those nine lesson titles:

Each lesson begins with a little video that gives you a brief welcome overview of the lesson, its Learning Objectives, and any assignments or quizzes.

The Reflective Responses and Quizzes are designed to make sure you are incorporating the material and preparing for the exams. Both Reflective Responses and Quizzes give you more than one chance to submit your answer or even “retake” the assignment or quiz. Each quiz or assignment I looked at let you take the highest score out of all of your attempts.

When you retake a quiz, you do not have the same questions each time. The questions cover the same materials or chapters in the textbook, but you will encounter a new set of questions on the retake.

I really love the e-textbook feature! The textbook for this course was Teachers, Schools, and Society: A Brief Introduction to Education. Accessing the textbook required setting up one more account, but this took about 20 seconds and is linked to your StraighterLine courses. Once you login, the book automatically pulls up for whatever course you are in. On the left side of the screen you can see the chapters. Clicking on a different chapter will load the chapter on the right side of the screen. In this image, I loaded the Brief Table of Contents:

I want to take a second here and just talk about how awesome this particular course and textbook is. The course is set up to provide an incredible overview of important things that all teachers need to know about–schools, students, and teaching. It does a really awesome job of that. Obviously the textbook is integral for that. I was impressed by the well-balanced and honest attempt at looking at our schools’ history in America. It does not shy away from the fact that our educational history is filled with prejudice, bias, and even politicization. They’re important to both be aware of and be aware of along with our own personal response to them.

The e-textbook also includes options to annotate and mark the text

In addition to marking your text, I’d suggest taking a few notes. Most of the quizzes and tests let you bring in one sheet of paper with notes on it. 

The instructions for the quizzes and tests are very detailed, as seen below:

The course ends with a 50-question final that you have 2 hours to take.

Overall, the course was very user-friendly, easy to access, contained useful information, and was interesting and engaging! I think this partnership between CCEI and StraighterLine is bringing teachers and educators more user-friendly and accessible opportunities for professional development and degrees, and I’m really excited about it!

Happy Educating,


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