Linked Learning Course List

A key element of the equity agenda for Linked Learning is to expand access to high quality, integrated programs of study that include both core academic courses and a sequence of career-technical courses and that also meet eligibility requirements for public university systems (in California, this includes the ‘a-g’ subject requirements). Completion of these courses serves as a critical gatekeeper to the full range of post-secondary options for students. For schools and districts working to develop Linked Learning pathways that effectively prepare students for college and career success, providing access to college preparatory courses and course sequences that fully integrate challenging academic and technical skill development is imperative. Nevertheless, the number of students who complete these requirements varies widely.

In response to this need and opportunity, the Linked Learning Alliance and the College and Career Academy Support Network (CCASN) at the University of California – Berkeley have worked with several trailblazer districts to develop two initial Linked Learning course descriptions that integrate college preparatory academics, career technical skills, and work-based learning in a manner consistent with the Linked Learning approach. Together with partner school districts and county offices of education, we have articulated a vision for the quality of Linked Learning courses aligned to several ‘signature elements’ (see below).

Courses

Currently, the following Linked Learning course descriptions are available (aligned to the eligibility requirements of the University of California and California State University):

Cybersecurity

  • UC/CSU: ‘g’ College Preparatory Elective (UCOP ‘a-g’ approval is anticipated as part of the Linked Learning a-g program status application in February 2017)
  • CTE Sector: Information and Communications Technology – Information Support & Services

Manufacturing & Prototyping

  • UC/CSU: ‘g’ College Preparatory Elective (UCOP ‘a-g’ approval is anticipated as part of the Linked Learning a-g program status application in February 2017)
  • CTE Sector: Manufacturing and Product Development – Machining & Forming Technologies

The selection of these courses was based on sector priorities identified through a survey of dozens of school district and county office partners across California.

UC Program Status

In early 2017, these courses will be submitted to the University of California Office of the President as part of an application to establish program status for Linked Learning courses. Obtaining program status will allow the Alliance to offer a Linked Learning ‘a-g’ course list (applicable to schools in California) with a range of quality pathway courses and pathway course sequences, and will enable Linked Learning districts and pathways to readily adopt previously approved ‘a-g’ courses. Additional Linked Learning courses and course sequences in a variety of sectors will be added to the course list in 2017 and beyond.

Join the Network

The Linked Learning ‘a-g’ course list is not intended as simply a repository of course descriptions for the field. The Alliance plans to bring together a network of schools and pathways offering the same or similar courses to collaboratively build out integrated multi-disciplinary projects, lesson plans, and other curriculum resources to support course-specific teaching and learning.

Expectations

In order to participate, and in order to best benefit from adoption of the courses, schools will need to:

  • Register pathways that will potentially offer courses from the Linked Learning ‘a-g’ course list with the Linked Learning Certification platform.
  • Participate in a training, curriculum development session, or webinar related to the course(s) you wish to adopt.
  • Commit to a tri-annual review process to ensure that a consistent teaching and learning experience is being provided across sites. (We will be working with participating schools and districts to co-design the review experience to ensure it is informative for improving practice and refining courses and curriculum.)
  • Contribute to curriculum and course development through participation in feedback sessions and institutes.

Benefits of participating

Participating schools and districts can expect the following benefits from their participation in the network:

  • Access to collaboratively developed, high quality ‘a-g’ course descriptions specifically designed for pathways
  • Automatic course updates – no need to submit course revisions on a school-by-school basis.
  • Time saved writing course descriptions
  • A community of practice for the co-development of curriculum resources, lesson plans, and projects.
  • Opportunities to co-design and/or validate curriculum with industry and post-secondary partners.
  • Access to professional development opportunities aligned with the Linked Learning Convention, Alliance-sponsored events, or related conferences and learning opportunities.

How to get involved

  1. Let us know you are interested! Call or email us for more information about joining the network, current courses, future course development, or professional development opportunities. Contact Anna Fontus at (916) 248-4848 or anna@linkedlearning.org.
  2. Register your pathway(s) with the Linked Learning Certification platform. Make the commitment to be a Linked Learning pathway by signing up today. Registration of your pathway will demonstrate your commitment to the implementation of the core components of Linked Learning as a comprehensive approach to transform high school education.
  3. Let us know if a school in your district would like to offer either Cybersecurity or Manufacturing & Prototyping in the 2017-18 school year. If you’d like to adopt and offer one of the current Linked Learning courses, send a letter of agreement to the Linked Learning Alliance that identifies:
    • The course(s) to be adopted.
    • The school(s) and pathway(s) that will offer the course or courses.
    • A commitment to offer the course (or courses) during the 2017-2018 school year.
  4. Attend a training. Schools which adopt one or more of the Linked Learning courses will have the opportunity to attend a no-cost course implementation training during summer 2017 or subsequent trainings during 2017-2018. Additional information on venues, dates, and formats will be available by early April.
  5. Got courses or course ideas? Let us know if you have an existing course that you feel aligns well with the signature elements, or have an idea for a new Linked Learning course.

Signature Elements of Linked Learning Courses

High quality courses provide a teaching and learning experience that effectively prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and habits that are vital to their success in college, career, and life. In a Linked Learning context, courses reflect the following signature elements:

Rigor: A rigorous Linked Learning course integrates relevant academic, career-technical, and industry standards. It involves learning experiences that are personally and intellectually challenging, and enable students to acquire skills that can be applied in different education, career, civic, and life contexts. Rigorous learning experiences encourage students to think critically and creatively through research, analysis, and problem solving. They also stimulate students, motivate them to learn more, and prepare them for post-secondary options without need for remediation. When appropriate, rigorous courses should enable students to earn post-secondary credit.

Relevance: Relevant learning experiences involve connections to student interests, aspirations, life experiences, and cultures. They also involve skill acquisition, the application of knowledge in practical contexts, and community and career connections. Relevant learning experiences often have value beyond the classroom, and frequently mirror post-secondary and professional work. A course may use a variety of educational strategies to increase relevance, including an emphasis on 21st century skills, community and work-based learning, personalized learning, project-based learning, and cultural competency. Relevant course descriptions are also closely aligned to the pathway theme and often include demonstrations of technical mastery and professional skills (through preparation for industry-recognized certifications, where relevant).

Authentic Assessment: Linked Learning courses include performance and/or portfolio assessments, in addition to more traditional formative and summative assessments. As part of the assessment of learning, students often engage in complex tasks similar to those encountered by practitioners in the discipline or career field. Linked Learning students are expected to defend their attainment of standards, demonstrate growth and mastery, and reflect on themselves as learners. Where feasible and appropriate, these assessments should include genuine roles for industry professionals and community partners, whether as mentors, supervisors, clients, or evaluators.

Interdisciplinary Learning: According to the National Council for Teachers of English “educational experiences are more authentic and of greater value to students when the curricula reflects real life, which is multi-faceted rather than being compartmentalized into neat subject-matter packages.” Linked Learning courses use project-based and/or inquiry-based approaches to integrate academic content and methodologies from multiple subjects with technical content and methodologies from industry sectors. Linked learning courses help students make connections between disciplines and between school, work, and community.

Integrated Work-Based Learning: Work-based learning plays an essential role in supporting pathway student learning outcomes and the attainment of 21st century skills. As appropriate, a sequence of work-based learning opportunities is embedded in Linked Learning courses. Ideally, these experiences build awareness of career options, enable exploration of careers of interest, and provide practical experience that links classroom learning to workplace applications. Integrated work-based learning also involves student interaction with industry professionals who support and enhance learning experiences in both classrooms and at work sites.

Student Agency: Student ownership of the learning experience is important for academic engagement, social-emotional and 21st century skill development, and content mastery. Learning experiences should be designed to promote agency, efficacy, entrepreneurship, and a sense of purpose among students. Linked Learning courses include student-directed learning that empowers students to take initiative and responsibility as they explore interests, set goals, and make informed decisions.

Preparation for College and Career: Linked Learning courses include opportunities for students to advance their college and career knowledge, develop evidence of college and career readiness, and publicly defend their mastery of content and skills critical to college and career success. As appropriate, learning experiences integrate college and career exploration, planning, and portfolio development to prepare students for college and job application processes (ex. resume writing, labor market research, mock interviews, personal statements, etc.). These experiences include the active involvement of counselors, alumni, and post-secondary or employer partners, as appropriate, to provide guidance, feedback, and support.

Equity and Access: Pre-requisites included in course descriptions exist to ensure student success, rather than unnecessarily restrict student access to high-quality instruction. Linked Learning students are encouraged to pursue challenging courses, and teaching supports the success of all students towards skill and content mastery.