Frequently Asked Questions

Joining the EarlyEdU Alliance

Who is eligible to join the EarlyEdU Alliance?
Nonprofit four-year colleges and universities that offer a degree in early childhood education or a related field are encouraged to join. Two-year nonprofit colleges may also join if they have, or are developing, articulation agreements. The Alliance also welcomes members from state agencies and nonprofit organizations that support educational and professional development opportunities for preschool teachers and childcare providers.
How much does it cost to join?
Membership in the EarlyEdU Alliance is free.
How do I join?
First, choose your level of membership: Individual, Institution of Higher Education (IHE), or Stakeholder. Then complete a short online form that describes the conditions of membership at your level. Upon receiving the form, we will follow up with you about access to your membership benefits. Visit our membership page for more information.
Are there different types of memberships?
Yes. Three levels of membership are available:

• Individual: Individuals at nonprofits or government agencies that work on strengthening the early childhood workforce, or faculty at nonprofit colleges and universities that do not currently belong to the Alliance

• Institution of Higher Education (IHE): Nonprofit four-year colleges and universities offering a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field, or community colleges that have or are developing articulation agreements

• Stakeholder: State/regional/national government agencies or nonprofit organizations wishing to use EarlyEdU course materials to strengthen their state’s early childhood workforce and increase access to affordable, relevant, and effective bachelor degrees
What are the benefits of the different levels of membership?
• For Individuals: Access to the EarlyEdU multimedia resources and an invitation to the annual EarlyEdU Alliance Institute. Institute registration is free, but individual members are responsible for all other expenses.

• For IHEs: Opportunity to offer any EarlyEdU courses; use of the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion with their own courses; access to the EarlyEdU multimedia resources; opportunities for collaboration on research and courses with other Alliance members and the EarlyEdU team; access to a self-paced online course in effective online teaching and EarlyEdU Fundamentals; and hosted (room and board) invitations to our annual Institute for faculty teaching EarlyEdU courses.

• For Stakeholders: Access to the EarlyEdU multimedia resources; opportunity to offer any EarlyEdU courses, as long as they are credit bearing; opportunities to collaborate with and share resources within the Alliance; and one hosted (room and board) invitation to the annual Institute for the primary agency/organization representative.
How do I know what level is right for me?
All members can join as Individuals with limited access. For faculty at a nonprofit institution of higher education, we strongly encourage joining at the Institution of Higher Education (IHE) level to take full advantage of access to EarlyEdU higher education offerings. The Stakeholder level is for agencies or organizations that also want access to EarlyEdU higher education offerings.
What is a State Team?
A state team consists of Alliance members working together at the state level to further early childhood workforce development by leveraging EarlyEdU resources. State teams vary in composition, but generally include representatives from multiple state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education. Email to learn more about Alliance team activity in your state.

The Alliance and Institutions of Higher Education

How do I know if my college or university is a good fit for Alliance membership?
EarlyEdU courses and the Coaching Companion are designed for prospective early childhood educators as well as current teachers working in a variety of preschool settings. If your institution serves or wants to serve this population, the Alliance is ideal for you. The courses contain competency-based assignments that require students to film themselves working with young children, so student access to early learning settings is essential.
Can community colleges join the Alliance?
The EarlyEdU Alliance's mission is to increase the number of teachers with bachelor’s degrees. Your community college is a good fit if you have, or are developing, an articulation agreement with a four-year institution that will accept your early childhood education credits without requiring students to repeat courses.

About EarlyEdU Alliance Courses

How many credits are EarlyEdU courses?
Specific credit hours have not been assigned to the courses, as these decisions are best made by individual institutions. Most EarlyEdU courses contain enough material for 3–5 undergraduate credits. A few of the courses are shorter modules that can be offered for fewer credits or incorporated into an existing course.
How long are the courses: a semester or a quarter?
The courses contain a semester’s worth of material. Teaching a course in a quarter or in a shorter term will require some advance planning.
How rigorous are EarlyEdU courses?
The courses’ competency-based assignments set high standards for students’ demonstration of teaching practices, reflection on their own work, and feedback to their peers. Ultimately, you determine how best to use competency-based assignments to achieve the learning objectives of each course. We expect that students will have opportunities in other courses at your institution to conduct research and demonstrate academic writing skills. If you need to include such assignments in an EarlyEdU course, you should consider the workload and level of the course (e.g., 200 versus 400) so that you do not compromise the completion of the competency-based assignments.

To keep student expenses lower, EarlyEdU courses generally do not require textbooks, and as many readings as possible are freely available. You may add additional readings, a textbook, and writing assignments as necessary.
Are EarlyEdU courses ADA-compliant?
No. We recommend consulting your institution’s disabilities services office about modifying the materials to best serve your students. The courses contain multiple videos. Videos of teaching practices in early childhood settings are subtitled; lecture videos are not.
Do I have to specify which courses I want to teach when my institution joins?
No. Once you have joined, we will contact you to find out about your course needs.
Is there a limit on the number of courses I can offer?
No. Participating institutions can offer multiple courses.
Can all of the courses be taught online?
We anticipate making online versions of all of the courses. See the courses page to see which ones are currently available for online delivery.
What learning management system (LMS) is used for the online courses?
The online courses are currently in Canvas. If your institution uses a different LMS, we will provide you with files that can be uploaded to it.
Can I preview the courses in advance?
Yes. We will provide you with more specific information about individual courses upon request.
What age range do the courses cover?
All of them currently cover the preschool age range, and some cover birth to 5. By autumn 2017, we anticipate that all courses will be either birth to 5 or birth to 8. See the courses page for more information about specific courses.
My institution has strict guidelines about course content, and EarlyEdU courses may not meet those requirements. What can I do?
Some of the courses may match those you already offer. We can provide more information about specific courses to help you compare them to your own. The alignment documents on our courses page may also help you determine whether they will work for you.

If obtaining EarlyEdU course approval is not feasible, your department might have a special topics course or a wild card option that you can use to offer EarlyEdU courses. Or consider using the Coaching Companion to incorporate more competency-based assignments into your own courses. See How can I use EarlyEdU course materials? for additional information about adding material to the courses to satisfy your department’s requirements.
What if my institution wants to use the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion, but prefers not to offer any EarlyEdU courses?
Alliance institutions can use the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion with their own competency-based courses, regardless of whether EarlyEdU courses are being taught.

Teaching EarlyEdU Alliance Courses

How can I use EarlyEdU course materials?
Our intention is for faculty to deliver EarlyEdU courses in their entirety. EarlyEdU courses contain a complete set of course materials so that you can concentrate on observing your students’ growth in their use of specific teaching practices and giving them focused feedback.

To maintain fidelity to the EarlyEdU approach, plan to use most, if not all, of the materials. Specifically, faculty using EarlyEdU course materials will:
• Include assignments that require students to film themselves demonstrating specific teaching practices,
• Provide regular feedback to students on their implementation of teaching practices, and
• Organize small groups of students into communities of reflection and practice, to develop their capacity to provide feedback and build professional connections.

You may add or substitute readings and assignments, provided that you use the practice-based assignments, give your students regular feedback, and help them develop their own skills in giving feedback. We also encourage you to draw upon your own experiences and use your own voice to engage students in the course content. As part of our evaluation process, we will request information from you about any changes you make to an EarlyEdU course.
Some of the course materials I have seen are geared to students currently working in early childhood. Will these courses work for students who are not currently in a child care/preschool setting?
EarlyEdU courses emphasize the use of effective teaching practices in the field, and they require students to film themselves interacting with young children. For students who do not already have access to an early learning setting, field experiences will need to be established in advance. We have a tip sheet and sample consent forms to help you with this process.
What does it mean for me to teach an EarlyEdU course?
Instructors teaching EarlyEdU courses can expect to spend less time preparing and presenting course content, and more time providing targeted feedback to individual students. Watching student videos may be time-consuming at first, but Alliance faculty report that they become more efficient in providing feedback over time, and that observing student growth is rewarding.
How can I prepare my students for an EarlyEdU course?
Your students should have field placements or access to early learning settings where they can film their interactions with young children. If they are new to competency-based assignments, it may be helpful to explain the benefits of trying out teaching practices in a real-world setting. Students may also need support in making videos and using the Coaching Companion. Alliance faculty receive resources to help them use the Coaching Companion effectively with their students.

The EarlyEdU Coaching Companion

What is the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion?
The EarlyEdU Coaching Companion is a video sharing and coaching feedback app, and an integral part of the EarlyEdU model. It enables working teachers to take what they learn in their college courses, apply it to their interactions with children, and then reflect upon their practice with peers and faculty. This, in turn, gives instructors the opportunity to provide timely coaching and feedback, and closely observe student growth over the course of a term.
I already have a system set up for watching student videos. Why should I use the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion?
The Coaching Companion is more than a site for storing and watching videos. It enables students and instructors to engage in dialogue about teaching practices in a virtual community of practice. The Coaching Companion satisfies standard requirements for protecting student data, as it complies with the federal requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
My students are not tech-savvy. Will they really be able to use the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion effectively?
To help students become comfortable with the technology, the courses gradually build students' skills in filming themselves and using the Coaching Companion. The Alliance also provides tech support for faculty and students.
How can I get tech support for the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion?
Our Coaching Companion team provides tech support for faculty and students. Alliance faculty also have access to resources that answer the most common questions you and your students might have.