April 20, 2021

photo of Mary Earick

Mary Earick

Las Vegas, N.M. – The New Mexico Highlands University School of Education will begin offering short instructional modules that prepare participants to use technology effectively for teaching distance learning.

The free modules are part of the Technology Learning Support Specialists (TLSS) program at Highlands that is the first of its kind in New Mexico. TLSS is funded by a $606,000 grant from the New Mexico Governor’s Relief Fund, which includes federal COVID-19 relief funding.

“Highlands is addressing a critical need as faculty, teachers and parents transition to distance learning due to COVID-19,” said Mary Earick, Dean of the School of Education at Highlands. She wrote the grant.

Earick said the Technology Learning Support Specialists program also helps build a workforce that connects communities through technology.

“This program supports children, youth and families in our New Mexico communities,” Earick said.

The micro credential in distance learning will be offered online. The first module is available April 19 through July 24 through accessing this direct link

https://opencoursesstore.d2l.com/product?catalog=TLSS_Parents_Caegivers1fKjMN8Qzi3kqea6fsMz5gvpcwTek4odnJBR  There is also more information about the micro credential program online through the Highlands School of Education at https://www.nmhu.edu/landing-school-of-education/scm/

 There are four different type of modules: Parents and Caregivers, Early Childhood, Elementary K-8, and High School. The first modules for Parents and Caregivers are currently available, with the other modules slated to start in June. The modules and the credential are free.

 Earick said the modules can each be completed in 60 minutes. Five modules build into a course that when completed, results in a micro credential in distance learning that can be presented when applying for jobs.

Marthann Schulte of the Highlands School of Education is the director and lead designer of the Technology Learning Support Specialists Program. She also is working with faculty from a Northern New Mexico consortium of community organizations and educators to develop the distance learning micro credentials.

“COVID-19 changed education, households and how families operate,” Schulte said. “The Governor’s Relief Fund makes it possible for Highlands to take an emergency education need during COVID-19 as a way to change New Mexican’s education opportunities now and in the future, post COVID-19.

“The Technology Learning Support Specialist modules are a way for parents, caregivers and other professionals to learn how to better use technology to teach their children and students, and also to gain a credential for resume building, professional development or lifelong learning skills,” Schulte said.

Earick said that during the course of this two-year grant, approximately 5,000 New Mexicans will have the opportunity to earn distance learning micro credentials.

“The goal is to provide the training needed for distance learning specialists to support classroom teachers and family-focused community agencies like the YMCA,” Earick said.

Earick said the partners for the Technology Learning Support Specialists program include Santa Fe Community College, Luna Community College, Northern New Mexico College, San Juan College, Diné College, Northeastern Regional Education Cooperative #4, Northern Area Local Workforce Development Board, Navajo Technical University, Zuni Pueblo Schools, Bernalillo Public Schools, Cuba Independent School District, Española Public Schools, Pojoaque Valley School District, and Taos Municipal Schools.

For more information about the distance learning micro credential, contact Schulte via email at marthannschulte@nmhu.edu