The ABCs of Online, Statewide Courses

The ABCs of Online, Statewide Courses

Minnesota is entering year two of a pilot initiative offering online, statewide career pathway courses. Five courses are available this year:

  1. Healthcare Core – Central Minnesota ABE. This class meets college prerequisites for many healthcare pathways including certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), medical assistant, and pharmacy technician.
  2. Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) Prep – This class prepares students to take the TEAS test, which is the test to enter into most Nursing pathway programs. Students will address their individual weaknesses in the areas of Reading, Math, Science and Language, the four sections of the TEAS test.
  3. Commercial Drivers License – This class prepares students to pass the written test to obtain a Minnesota class B Commercial Driver’s permit. Students can then enroll in behind-the-wheel training that allows them to drive a school bus and some types of small trucks.
  4. Paraprofessional – This class prepares students to take the ParaEducator exam and work as a Highly Qualified Paraprofessional in a school setting. Class content includes an overview of special education, child development behavior management and communication skills needed to excel in the field of education.
  5. Microsoft Office Specialist – This class prepares students for a career in office administration or for further training in IT by developing high-level skills in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

Online, statewide classes bend geographic boundaries, allowing adult learners throughout the state to enroll. Like any pilot, it takes time to establish new procedures and determine best practices. Let’s break these classes down to the basics to learn more.

A is for Access. Adult Career Pathway (ACP) classes are not available at every ABE site in Minnesota. If they are offered locally, ABE programs specialize in a limited number of ACP classes due to the cost to run the classes, challenges in finding eligible participants for a cohort, or teacher shortages. Online, statewide programs overcome these challenges by giving students access to these classes no matter what is or is not offered at their local ABE site.

B is for Barrier. The primary barrier that remains with an online, statewide program is technology. Students need to have a device suitable for online learning and a stable internet connection to meet with a synchronous class or log onto a web based curriculum. Strong digital literacy skills are needed to navigate online classes. Local sites can help students prepare for online, statewide class participation through Northstar lessons, practice with video conferencing and offering on-site technology help.

C is for Contact hours. The most common question for online, statewide courses is “Who gets the contact hours?” To answer this question, we need to jump ahead in the alphabet to letter H.

H is for Home Consortium. The Home Consortium is the local ABE consortium where the student was referred from. Contact hours will be entered into SiD by the home consortium and will be included in their NRS reporting as any other in-person or distance learning class would be included.

… and H is also for the Host Consortium. The host consortiums for the five courses are listed below.

  • Healthcare Core – Central Minnesota ABE
  • TEAS Prep – Saint Paul Community Literacy Consortium
  • Commercial Drivers License – Metro South ABE
  • ParaEducator – Metro East Consortium
  • Microsoft Office Specialist – Metro East Consortium

The Host consortium provides the teacher to facilitate class and shares the attendance hours for online, statewide students with the Home consortium.

Are you interested in referring a student from your program to one of these five online, statewide classes?

Find assessment requirements, dates, flyers and other course details >>

For more information about professional development related to career pathways work, please contact ATLAS Transitions Coordinator Carly Voshell at [email protected].

Carly Voshell, Transitions Coordinator ATLAS