Maine DOE hiring for MOOSE online learning program

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The Maine Department of Education (DOE) recently announced it is looking to hire team leaders to help develop content for the Maine Online Opportunities for Sustained Education (MOOSE) platform.

MOOSE is an online, asynchronous learning platform that was created at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to “the inequitable access to in-person education faced by Maine students” and is intended to “leverage the expertise of Maine educators to develop a free resource for online learning.”

The platform features learning modules, which students can search for by grade level or by specific topic, and learning progressions, which are a “set of PreK-12 modules that are purposefully designed around a single topic.”

Currently, MOOSE hosts five learning progressions for career readiness, climate education, computer science, the history of genocide and the Holocaust, plus one focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. 

While the topics for the learning progressions were chosen by the DOE, the progressions were designed by MOOSE’s content creators. Modules must be project-based, interdisciplinary, and aligned to “Universal Design for Learning best practices.” They must also provide “topical and skill progressions from PreK-12 in a coherent framework.” Learning modules also must stand alone, and allow “entry points at all stages in the progression.”

Beginning July 5, the DOE will accept applications from Maine educators for the position of team leaders, one of two types of roles it hires to work on the platform.

Content creators, which the DOE last announced a hiring period for in August 2021, are responsible for creating learning modules that are project-based and interdisciplinary. Content creators earn stipends for the position, which lasts roughly five months and involves eight to ten hours of work a week.

All Maine educators, including teachers and individuals who work for educational organizations like museums or libraries, are eligible to apply to become a content creator. 

MOOSE team leaders oversee content creators “in the design and creation of engaging and accessible modules that focus on identified topic areas.” According to the DOE, team leaders are former content creators “who have had particular success both in building their own modules and in leading their peers in the work.” 

The recent hiring announcement for team leaders did not specify whether applicants must be former content creators and DOE did not return a request for comment about this. 

Educators wishing to serve as team leaders can be traditionally contracted or contracted as a “distinguished educator,” which involves an exchange agreement between the DOE and a teacher’s school district.

“Through the agreement, the Department pays your local school for the duration of your contract as a Distinguished Educator, allowing your school to temporarily fill your vacant position and continue to pay you your current rate with benefits while you work with the Department of Education. Once the one-year contract is complete, you will be able to return to your position within that district,” the DOE wrote. 

The DOE did not return a request for comment about what learning progressions educators hired as team leaders will work on, or when information on the topics they cover will be made public.

The department also did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had completed a review of existing content hosted on MOOSE. The department announced in May that it would take down a controversial teacher-developed lesson plan, titled “Freedom Holidays,” because it contained material deemed inappropriate for the kindergarten audience for which it was intended. 

At the time the video was taken down, DOE spokesperson Markus Mrowka told media that content on the platform was undergoing a previously scheduled review. Mrowka did not clarify whether the Freedom Holidays lesson or other lessons on MOOSE had been screened by the DOE before being publicly posted for reuse by educators and school districts across the state.

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