Maine DOE hiring for MOOSE e-learning program

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

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

The platform offers Learning Modules, which students can search by grade level or specific subject, and Learning Progressions, which are a “set of PreK-12 modules deliberately designed around a single subject” .

Currently, MOOSE hosts five learning progressions for career readiness, climate education, computer science, genocide and Holocaust history, 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 content creators. Modules should be project-based, interdisciplinary and aligned with ‘universal design for learning’ best practices. They must also provide “thematic and skill progressions of PreK-12 within a cohesive framework.” Learning modules should also be self-contained and allow “entry points at all stages of progression”.

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

Content creators, for whom the DOE last announced a hiring period in August 2021, are tasked with creating project-based and cross-disciplinary learning modules. Content creators earn stipends for the position, which lasts about five months and involves eight to ten hours of work per week.

All Maine educators, including teachers and people who work for educational organizations such as museums or libraries, can apply to become content creators.

MOOSE team leaders oversee content creators “in designing and creating 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 team lead hiring announcement didn’t specify whether applicants had to be former content creators, and the DOE did not return a request for comment on the matter.

Educators wishing to serve as team leaders may traditionally be hired 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 vacancy and continue to pay you your current rate with benefits while you work with the Ministry of Education. Upon completion of the one-year contract, you may return to your position in this district,” the DOE wrote.

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

The ministry also did not respond to a request for comment on whether it had completed a review of existing content hosted on MOOSE. The department announced in May that it would remove a controversial lesson plan developed by teachers called “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 the media that the content of the platform was undergoing a previously scheduled review. Mrowka did not say whether the Freedom Holidays lesson or other lessons on MOOSE were reviewed by the DOE before being publicly released for reuse by educators and school districts across the state.