Launch Missouri’s Workforce: Career-focused Courses Online

Dr. Nichole Lemmon, Launch’s Director of Virtual Learning, identifies the goals of the Launch Missouri’s Workforce initiative.
By Savannah Waszczuk

Access Launch: What is the process for writing career-focused education courses?
Katie Kensinger: We start by utilizing the DESE standards to determine the appropriate scope and sequence for the course, and then we plug in with the exciting work of developing lessons and figuring out how to make things as engaging and as relevant as possible.

Access: Does this process differ when you write career-focused courses that will be delivered in a virtual setting? 
Melissa James: The process is similar, but we often change up assignments so they work better in an online format. With our new career-focused education classes specifically, we’ve worked really hard to build in more interactive elements and include synchronous time with teachers and industry experts.

Access: And to build on to that question—does writing a career-focused course differ from writing a traditional course?
K.K.: When you’re writing career-focused courses you have to be sure and stay relevant, because you always have to be up to industry standards. At SPS, we form a lot of partnerships with businesses and work with them for inspiration and fresh ideas. The key to a good career-focused education course—or really, to a quality career-focused education program—is that it is constantly changing and evolving. As industries and standards change, our curriculum is constantly updated.

Access: Can you share any examples of interactive course features?
M.J.: Students will meet with and observe a virtual teacher in our Teaching as a Profession course—and we’ve included a lot of information about teaching virtually—which has been a cool spin. In our marketing course we’re building in a lot of presentations and business role plays, which are designed to help students build confidence and become better presenters. 

Access: How long does it take to build a career-focused education course? 
K.K.: That definitely varies, but I would say a half-credit class is at least 75 hours of development before you’re making sure everything is perfect.

Access: How will Launch’s new career-focused education courses benefit students?
M.J.: I think a key benefit is that we will be able to provide more access. By delivering career-focused education classes virtually, we are able to offer these classes to students anywhere in the state.