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July 1, 2015: More Rigor Coming to Many Heartland AEA Professional Development Courses

As we gear up for our summer professional development season, we have news to share about some changes coming to many of our courses. We know change is scary, but we promise it won’t be too painful. In fact, we think it will be a positive change for everyone!

Professional development courses offered through Heartland AEA that begin on or after July 1, 2015 will give students the opportunity for more rigorous course content and out-of-class learning. Specifically, all classes offering Drake University graduate credit will have new requirements. For example, a one-credit course will require 15 hours of in-class learning plus an additional 30 hours of out-of-class learning. This will be true for all participants, whether they are taking the class for graduate credit or license renewal credit. Participants will need to check their course syllabus closely to become familiar with what the requirements will be for each of our courses.

The following Q & A will help course participants understand these new requirements.

Why is this change happening?
This change is taking place because of two factors:

  1. As it applies to Drake University courses, the Title IV Federal Financial Aid Guidelines now require 15 instructor-led hours with an additional 30 hours of outside work. This connects to Federal Student Loan requirements for degree completion.
  2. As it applies to license renewal courses, the statewide AEA system is working together to develop common programs, procedures and policies across the state for AEA license renewal programs. With the change to the Drake requirements, and the statewide license renewal programming connections, this change is coming about at this time.

Will graduate credit still work for salary advancement?
As with all personnel questions, it is best to contact your district/school’s Human Resources Department. As far as we know, these credits will still work for advancement on the salary schedule. You may, however, want to double check as to what grade is required (A, B, C, D).

With these added requirements, can I use this credit toward a master’s degree?
If the course is taken for graduate credit, and if you secure advisor approval, these courses can be used as electives in a Drake master’s program. Other universities may also allow these courses. We encourage educators to check with their institution to be certain.

Why are the requirements for licensure renewal credit the same as Drake University credit?
The statewide AEA system, with input from school administrators and university leaders, determined that the focus of a course should be on the learning, not on the number of hours spent on the course. If the rigor of the course meets that of a master’s level, the learning should also be at that level for the license renewal course. This way all participants in a course have the same level of learning, which will lead to more robust conversations and greater learning all around.

Why wouldn’t I just take a course at Drake?
The costs for Drake credit through Heartland AEA are a bargain! If you were to take a course at Drake University, you would pay $450 per credit plus a $60 technology fee. The cost of a one-credit Drake course through Heartland AEA is either $100 or $160 depending on the type of course.

For more information, please see this informational video.

If you have any other questions, contact Sue Schirmer, License Renewal Coordinator, at or (800) 255-0405 ext. 14379.

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