Dr. Woomee Kim

Editor’s note: In this piece, Dr. Woomee L. Kim, GOTEC Postdoctoral Fellow at George Mason University, shares GOTEC activities with TIRF supporters.

Global Online Teacher Education Center (GOTEC) is a newly established center at George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), founded in 2022 by Dr. Joan Kang Shin (Director of GOTEC; TIRF Trustee), Dr. Anya Evmenova (Associate Director), and Dr. Jered Borup (Associate Director). GOTEC’s mission is “to advance research and pedagogy in online teacher education and professional development around the world that is inclusive, accessible, and culturally and linguistically responsive and sustaining.” The GOTEC Team strives to accomplish this mission by engaging in scholarly research that informs practice in the field of online teacher education and professional development, and committing to outreach through research-informed practices to educators globally. Furthermore, the pursuit of a practice-informed research agenda emerging from the outreach is advancing the research at GOTEC. In this way, the audience of GOTEC activities includes both researchers invested in online educator development and practitioners engaged in enhancing their instruction.



Major GOTEC activities include development and/or delivery of multiple grant-funded projects and strategic partnerships with scholars in the field of online teacher education and professional development. In fact, the projects are currently focused on TESOL teacher development through U.S. Department of State- and U.S. Department of Education-funded programs.

For example, the Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) Global Online Course (GOC) and Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) were  developed at Mason by the Director and Associate Directors of GOTEC in 2017, and since that time, the delivery of this course has served over 36,000 teachers from 124 countries.. Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s OPEN Program and administered by FHI 360 (formerly known as Family Health International), the eight-week, asynchronous GOC and five-week MOOC were designed for English teaching professionals around the world. These global participants are nominated via their local U.S. embassies and are introduced to the most current and evidence-based approaches to teaching young learners English as a second or foreign language. Various research projects related to this project, including community of inquiry, MOOC, and MOOC camps, are currently ongoing at GOTEC.

The English Speaking Nation Program, which aims to strengthen English language teaching in secondary education in Uzbekistan, is another U. S. Department of State project in which GOTEC team members are engaged. In 2019, the GOTEC team first conducted a context analysis and provided recommendations regarding local professional development needs for English language educators in Uzbekistan. Then, the team created and delivered the online teacher professional development program called Teaching English Through English (TETE), consisting of 11 online professional development learning modules designed to enhance communication and teaching skills for over 200 English language teacher leaders in Uzbekistan. The initiative also included providing instructional webinars on Zoom and supporting online communities of practice using a locally popular social media channel. Additional virtual teacher leader professional development activities were implemented by the GOTEC team, and these teacher leaders, in turn, are sharing their learning to approximately 15,000 English language teachers across Uzbekistan. This project is presently in its program evaluation and research phases. Some of the research agenda items that emerged from this project involvement include the development of critical reflective practice, the use of social media as a platform for professional development through online communities of practice, and understanding the effects of cascading innovative global content in local contexts.

GOTEC Team with Teacher-Leaders in Uzbekistan on a Zoom Call

Advancing Content-Integrated Education for English Learners with a STEM Focus (ACE-STEM) is a GOTEC project that reaches content educators of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners in Northern Virginia. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and made possible by partnering with the second largest school district in the state of Virginia, the ACE-STEM Project began in 2021. By 2026, 60 cohort teachers will have been supported to achieve Virginia’s ESOL add-on endorsement. Other professional development opportunities on relevant topics related to teaching CLD learners will be delivered, and support to enhance family literacy development will be made available through this project. Research topics related to multilingual learners in the content classrooms and teacher professional development through innovative instructional practices are ongoing. 

Fellowships and Webinars

Strategic partnerships and collaboration efforts are also being achieved currently through the GOTEC Fellow Program, the GOTEC Doctoral Dissertation Award, and quarterly webinars. Dr. Curtis Bonk, a renowned scholar in MOOC research, is our inaugural GOTEC Fellow. His fellowship is expected to yield one scholarly article and one practitioner-oriented article, as well as a webinar presentation in Spring 2023.

Additionally, in early 2023, GOTEC will make an announcement for submissions for the GOTEC Doctoral Dissertation Award on its website. This award recognizes a recent graduate from doctoral studies whose Ph.D. dissertation is in the field of global online teacher education and professional development. The GOTEC Doctoral Fellow will be encouraged to pursue impactful research and writing that align with GOTEC’s mission and vision. GOTEC faculty will provide mentorship and the expected outcomes for this emergent scholar will be the same as the GOTEC Fellow.

GOTEC hosts quarterly webinars that are geared toward informing research and practitioner communities in online teacher education and professional development. In Fall 2022, Dr. Richard E. West from Brigham Young University, a leading researcher on open microcredentialing and digital badging (an online credentialing system that demonstrates the attainment of specific skills through learning experiences) presented on the topic: “Open Credentials and Their Critical Role in the Open Education Evolution,” which informed not only the research community, but also the higher education and business communities. In February 2023, Dr. Larisa Olesova (a TIRF Doctoral Dissertation Grantee and an expert in learning design and technology from the University of Florida) will present on the topic of “Asynchronous Audio/Video Communication.” Researchers, teacher educators, and current and future educators in higher education and K-12 contexts will benefit from participating in Dr. Olesova’s webinar.

All of the current and future GOTEC activities can be found on the GOTEC website. For more information, please write to GOTEC via its Contact Us page.