Online Physics Teaching Certification

Online Physics Teaching Certification

Project Premises

We are witnessing a national crisis in the lack of qualified high school science faculty, especially in the physical sciences. Public schools in West Virginia face a serious shortage of physics certified teachers.

We identified two major factors responsible for the physical science situation in secondary education that we can address by developing and offering online versions of all the physics teaching certification courses for students interested in pursuing self-directed, self-paced, and convenient learning conditions:

  • Enrollment in the courses required for the physics teaching specialization is so low that the courses may not be offered on a regular basis, further ensuring a lack of qualified physics teachers and perpetuating the cycle.
  • In-service teachers (and other working professionals) who desire to add a physics teaching specialization have trouble attending the courses when they are offered in a traditional format (e.g. during the day, during the academic year, on remote campuses.)


Collaborating Institutions

Fairmont State University leads a NASA-supported collaboration among several institutions to offer a physics teaching certification (including an astronomy course) that uses new technologies to minimize unnecessary barriers for students and reinforces best practices in science education. The following institutions are contributing to the project:

Tentative Schedule

We plan to offer these classes* online on the semesters listed below. Because some of these courses are still in the active development stage, this schedule is subject to change. If you need further details on the project, visit the Collaboration Website or contact the Program Coordinator.


Course Name Term Year
Applied Calculus I Summer 2007, 2008
Intermediate Physics IA, IB Fall 2007, 2008
Intermediate Physics IIA, IIB Spring 2009 or on demand
Intermediate Physics Laboratory Spring 2008
Applied Calculus II Summer 2008

* These are the classes a typical in-service teacher with a general science certification will need to take in order to earn a physics certification from this program. A student pursuing a physics teaching certification as the first certification will need to take additional classes to graduate from the program.

These courses are entirely new and will be offered for the first time online. The printed Master Schedule of Classes and the FSU catalog haven't been updated to include them yet; equivalent specialization content courses are being offered during the 2007-8 academic year under old course numbers. The old courses will be counted toward the new online certification program for students enrolling during 2007-8.

Students desiring to receive credit toward this course can also enroll in PHYS 2201 Demonstrations in Physics (2 credits), being offered online during the spring of 2007.

This page was updated on January 7, 2008.