Learn to design and teach in online and blended environments, and earn your endorsement in online instruction.

Embark on a transformative journey with our groundbreaking courses on Digital Literacies, Design of Learning Environments, and Intro to Learning with Technologies in the Classroom. As an educator, you will gain the essential tools, techniques, and theoretical understanding necessary to stay ahead of the ever-evolving digital landscape; you will be able to shape the future of education, delve into the shifting digital literacy practices of students and discover the profound implications of living and learning in a world powered by AI. Explore how to design student-centered learning environments where the journey of education is exciting for students, the focus is on learning rather than testing, and where students take charge of their own learning. Learn how to address plagiarism and cheating with AI and use resources like GPTs to enhance and support student-centered learning.

What Sets Us Apart

30 weeks 30-week part-time online certificate program.
  Online learning modules: learn anytime, anyplace.
20 studentsWith just 20 students per cohort, enjoy the benefits of a small learning community.

About the Program

The Virtual Online Teaching certificate program is geared toward K-12 educators and higher education instructors who are interested in harnessing technology to design and implement curricula in online student-centered learning environments. Putting theory into practice, VOLT is taught entirely online through a series of learning modules delivered in synchronous and asynchronous fashion.

Application deadline
November 20, 2023
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
6 modules
Duration of program
2 semesters

Cost$6660 ($3330 per semester)

Certificate/Licensure offered

  • Penn GSE Certificate in Virtual Online Teaching
  • PA State Department of Education Online Teaching Endorsement: To receive this endorsement, students must have an Instruction I or Instruction II Pennsylvania Certificate.
  • Pennsylvania Act 48 credits

Professional developmentEquivalent of 3 Continuing Education credits

  • Part-Time
  • Certificate
Programs for Working Professionals
Teacher Programs & Certifications

Penn GSE’s certificate program in Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) prepares participants to teach in both blended and fully online environments. The program structure follows internationally recognized standards for teaching online. Students will learn online strategies for classroom management, student engagement, instructional design, differentiation, participatory learning, digital literacies, assessment and evaluation, and emerging technologies.

Participants meet once a week online to discuss and share reflections from the week’s learning. During the week, the cohort asynchronously collaborates to share resources, insights, and digital tools reviews, and to reflect on their practice. The program provides on-demand access to writing, research, and social media coaches and lifetime access to program supports.

The Certificate in Online Teaching strengthens the dossier of instructors across the spectrum, from elementary to graduate school. For Pennsylvania teachers, the certificate can be supplemented with a practicum and will thereby meet the requirements for the Pennsylvania Department of Education Endorsement for Online Instruction.


Program of Study

The program modules in the VOLT program draw from the following overarching themes: 

EDCE 694 and EDCE 695 - Designing Learning Environments

  • Explore theories of learning in online and traditional teaching environments, and the need for 21st century learning spaces.
  • Understand how technology-enhanced scaffolding, assessments, feedback, and communication can create powerful learning spaces.

EDCE 692 and EDCE 693 - Digital Literacies

  • Explore communication and collaboration in a virtual format, including the use of various tools and technologies.
  • Examine how literacy and learning online are changing as people connect through digital technologies across local and global networks.

EDCE 690 and EDCE 691 - Online Classroom Management

  • Model ethical, legal, and safe behavior with regard to technology use.
  • Accommodate all students, taking into account diversity, and creating active learning spaces.
  • Design positive learning environments.

*Note: Penn GSE Certificates are awarded as a standalone, non-credit bearing education credential.

Our Faculty

Betty Chandy
Director for Online Learning, Catalyst @ Penn GSE
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Veena Vasudevan
Postdoctoral Fellow, American Museum of Natural History
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Catrice Barrett
Bass Family Teaching and Learning Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Donna Murdoch
Partner, Rose Rock Dynamics
Ed.D., Columbia University

James Arrington
Learning Instructor, Weingarten Learning Resource Center

Penn GSE Faculty Betty Chandy
Director for Online Learning, Catalyst @ Penn GSE
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Our Graduates

The Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) Certificate program helps promote:

  • Educators who are better prepared to evaluate the affordances and limitations of technologies with respect to the cognitive engagement of students and the learning benefits to students.
  • Educators who are comfortable using a variety of technology tools to meet diverse student needs.
  • Educators who create learning spaces that connect student interest and out-of-school life with in-class content.

What Our Participants Are Saying 

“I found the opportunity to interact with colleagues on a regular basis invaluable! Not only did VOLT provide a basis for online teaching, but it forged a network of professionals, resources and media paramount to success in an ever-changing educational environment that I continue to use.” – Heidi Bazilian, High School English Teacher, PAVCS, Pennsylvania

“As an instructor who knows that students need to be engaged to learn, I appreciate how the VOLT Program presented best practices to engage all students (no matter subject matter), whether online or in a traditional brick and mortar building.” – Maria Geiger, Adjunct Professor, Monmouth University, New Jersey

“The program gave me access to a variety of tools, on the iPad and online, that I use to teach in the classroom and make the content more engaging for my students. I also acquired a list of applications, which allow my students to create richer content that is authentic and creates seamless collaboration.” – Samantha Clarke, Teacher, Ridley SD, Pennsylvania

“As an educator who now supports new teachers in classrooms, I wanted to learn more about technology and education to better support the students in my state. VOLT allowed me the flexibility to attend classes online while building a network with other educators across the country. I left each week with a new idea, concept or platform to share with teachers.”— Alonna Berry, Teach For America Delaware; Manager, Alumni & Teacher Impact

“VOLT taught me a great deal about digital literacy, designing my online classroom and lessons, and making online learning fun and enjoyable for my students while giving them a rigorous education. I have more confidence in my lesson planning, execution. I’ve learned scaffolding my lessons and understand differentiated instruction better. I love my extensive library of resources you gave me. I have also become a pillar and a mentor teacher in my school because of how I share my teaching strategies from my extensive knowledge of educational technology.”— Daphne Harvey, Teacher, Alabama Virtual Academy, Alabama

“As an educator, the VOLT program was invaluable for pushing me to expand the walls of my classroom and re-conceptualize what teaching and learning should look like. The online format allowed me to immediately apply course material to my professional practice.”— Allison Gubanich, Curriculum and Instruction Leader, AIM Academy, Pennsylvania

Customized Programs & Workshops

For instructors requiring focused or accelerated support, Penn GSE offers customized VOLT programs and workshops.

Credit-bearing Program

Customize the VOLT curriculum to meet the needs of your district. This may include a focus on specific topics, shorter sessions, or blended in-person and online training.


Design a professional development workshop for your teachers that draws from the VOLT curriculum on improving instructional time, building student skills, extending learning beyond the classroom, and more. Workshops are not credit-bearing.

To learn more about customized programs and workshops, contact Program Director Dr. Betty Chandy at chandyb@upenn.edu.