Should Teachers and Coaches Pursue Higher Education Degrees and Certificates?

University of Pennsylvania VOLT Certificate

In this episode of the TeacherCast Podcast, Jeff welcomes Betty Chandy, Director of the Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) Certificate program and the Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) certificate program at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to discuss the options that teachers have in todays virtual learning environment to advance their careers.

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In This Episode …

  • What does Higher Education look like post-pandemic?
  • What opportunities are available for teachers looking to advance their careers?
  • What is the VOLT Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania?
    • How does it work?
      • For teachers who are presently teaching in classrooms
      • How do we leverage technology in a way that is meaningful to students
      • 6 Modules of Study
    • How much does it cost?
    • Time commitment?
      • 2-4 Semesters
    • What will the certificate do for a graduate?
  • How can a teacher successfully be both a full time educator and student?
  • The advantages of an online education to advance their career?

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About our Guest, Betty Chandy

Betty Chandy has worked extensively with technology professional development technology for teachers in the greater Philadelphia area, and internationally. Presently she is the Director of the Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) Certificate program and the Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) certificate program at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She develops and conducts technology workshops for various target groups such as students, teachers, as well as school and higher education administrators by engaging extensively with the stakeholders to understand their most pressing needs, and designing programs that are contextually relevant.

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About the University of Pennsylvania VOLT Certificate

With the shifting landscape of hybrid, blended and online education, and with the continued focus on using technology for student centered learning, it is important to stay abreast of the research and understanding of the pedagogical practices in digitally enhanced learning spaces. The Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania is now accepting applicants for the Spring 2023 Cohort of its fully online certificate program — Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) certificate. This program is designed to help K-12 teachers effectively use technology to support student centered spaces, and design instruction in both blended and fully online environments. The program also meets the requirements of Pennsylvania Department of Education's Online Instruction Endorsement. Interested applicants can apply now at

Key features:

  • Work completely online, with synchronous and asynchronous meetings and assignments, over two semesters. • Learn about teaching in blended as well as fully online environments
  • Work on creating a fully online course, which is ready to launch by the end of the program. • Enjoy flexible 6 module format.• Earn University of Pennsylvania Continuing Education credits • Earn PA State Department of Education's Online Teaching Endorsement and Act 48 credits (for PA certified teachers only)
  • Small class size of 15-20 students
  • Program cost: $6680 ($3340 per semester) (Alumni discount available)
  • Application deadline is 12/12/2022

The program’s 6 modules draw from the following overarching themes:

  • Design of Learning Environments: This strand deals with the general design considerations that apply to learning environments, such as curriculum, assessment and instruction. What are the elements of a well-designed technology enhanced learning environment? How can educators rethink assessment in online environments? How can we support diverse learners with the help of technology? Moving beyond best practices, this course delves deep into the theories and frameworks that guide the design of learning environments. The modules feature the most up-to-date education technology learning trends. Participants consider who is learning, how they learn, what design variables are needed to ensure learning takes place, and societal and technological influences on learning.
  • Digital Literacies : This strand is designed to explore how literacy and learning have shifted and continue to shift in interaction with the constant and rapid changes in the new media and technology environment. How do students engage in online and social media spaces? Are the students digital natives? What does it mean to be a digital native? The course highlights how digital literacies are situated, and how these socio-cultural understandings illuminate issues of power, authority, and agency.
  • Online Classroom Management : This strand prepares teachers to develop skills that enable them to design positive learning environments and equips them with the ability to continue learning within the ever-changing technology landscape. Participants in the program and trained to be proficient in the basics of computer literacy, familiar with various online tools, proficient in creating, managing uploading digital material, comfortable using conferencing tools and social media, and be able to seamlessly weave different elements of online portals for use within the learning environment.

Interested applicants can apply now by clicking on the online application HERE.  To apply, you would need the completed online application, undergraduate and graduate transcripts (an unofficial copy can be uploaded when applying) and an optional statement of purpose (300 words).  More information about the program can be found on our website at this link – PennGSE VOLT. You can also contact Dr. Betty Chandy, Program Director, at for more information or details.

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About the author, Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!