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FAQ for ATMALA Micro-Credential Modules in Mathematics

What is a micro-credential module?

A micro-credential module is an online, facilitated, and evidence-based professional learning opportunity for teachers of mathematics to learn about, practice, and become proficient with specific skills that relate to culturally responsive mathematics teaching (CRMT). Each module is designed to take four to six weeks to complete and requires participants to engage in online activities facilitated by a classroom teacher who helped to develop and pilot the module’s materials. A digital badge is earned when a participant submits evidence of their proficient use of the specific instructional practice as evaluated by a rubric introduced within the module. Depending on the instructional skill being developed, the evidence may include student work samples, videos from one’s classroom, and lesson plans. The modules are designed with a growth mindset so when the evidence submitted does not show proficiency, feedback is provided so the participant can improve their use of the practice and try again.

What is culturally responsive mathematics teaching (CRMT)?

Culturally responsive mathematics teaching is about rehumanizing mathematics teaching and learning by acknowledging mathematics as a human invention and recognizing every learner as a mathematical thinker. CRMT is for every teacher and every student and has at its core a concern with creating more equitable and inclusive mathematics classrooms. This involves knowing and valuing each student’s ways of thinking and communicating, helping students recognize connections between their learning of mathematics and prior knowledge and experiences, and creating a learning environment in which students are empowered to take ownership of mathematical ideas. CSU Fullerton professor of education Mark Ellis has written a whitepaper about CRMT that can be accessed here.

How do the ATMALA micro-credential modules align with “best practice” in mathematics education?

The instructional skills identified for each ATMALA module are grounded in research about how best to support equitable student engagement in mathematics. Among the resources our team used to inform module focus and content development are: Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics); How Students Learn: Mathematics in the Classroom (National Research Council); 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions (Smith & Stein, NCTM); Strength in Numbers: Collaborative Learning in Secondary Mathematics (Horn, NCTM); and Routines for Reasoning: Fostering the Mathematical Practices in All Students (Lucenta, Kelemanik, & Crieghton, Heinemann).

Who created these micro-credential modules?

A team of National Board Certified Teachers of mathematics and university mathematics education faculty created these micro-credential modules as part of a National Science Foundation project, Advancing Teachers of Mathematics to Advance Learning for All (ATMALA; NSF ID#1660809). You can visit atmala.weebly.com to learn more about project ATMALA. In terms of faculty review of the module content, Dr. Mark Ellis, professor of education at CSU Fullerton, National Board Certified Teacher, and former director for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, has reviewed all content and claims for quality and accuracy. Module descriptions and facilitator qualifications have been reviewed and approved by the CSU Fullerton College of Education and CSU Fullerton University Extended Education. Questions about the module content should be directed to Dr. Ellis: mellis@fullerton.edu.

What does it mean that the module is online and facilitated?

Each of the ATMALA micro-credential modules has been designed to be fully online and actively facilitated. This means that all content and activities can be accessed through the CSU Fullerton online learning management system (to which participants will have access). And it means that there will be one or two facilitators for each module to guide your engagement, provide feedback, and evaluate your work. The modules are designed to allow for some individual work as well as for engagement with other participants as a way to share ideas, expertise, and insights. The module facilitator will make clear up front the expectations for participation.

For what grade level(s) are the micro-credential modules relevant?

The teachers that created the ATMALA micro-credential modules work in grades 6-12 so many of their examples will come from middle school and high school. However, we designed the module content and activities to accommodate elementary teachers of mathematics as well. If you’re an elementary teacher taking one of the modules, please give us feedback about your experience!

What about permissions for sharing student work and video?

It is the responsibility of each participant to check with her/his site administrator to be sure you are able to share student work samples and video from your classroom. Generally speaking, most school districts have media use policies in place that allow teachers to share student work and classroom video for the purpose of their own professional development. The CSU Fullerton learning management system is password protected and secure with respect to module data. But it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure any materials you share comply with your district and state privacy guidelines.

Do I need to be an expert with online learning to successfully participant in a micro-credential module?

Absolutely not! Many participants who claim to be computer novices have successfully taken our online modules. If you are able to access the internet, navigate to various web sites and send emails with attachments, then you have the necessary skills to take an online course. You are supported the entire time by both the module facilitator(s) as well as CSU Fullerton online learning staff.

How can I get technical help with accessing online materials?

You can contact Distance Education’s student help desk at 657-278-4866 or toll free at 1-866-511-5991 Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays). For after hours and weekend inquiries please submit a help desk request to eip-online@fullerton.edu. Requests submitted after the Support Desk office hours will be reviewed on the following business day (excluding holidays). We will reply to most requests within 24 hours.

Can I receive college credit for completing an ATMALA micro-credential module?

Each module that is successfully completed will be eligible for one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU). To learn more about CEUs, see this web page with information about online professional development courses at CSU Fullerton.

Learn more about ATMALA

Learn more about ATMALA

You can learn more about the ATMALA – including information on dates, cost and registration – on our program page.