about our Online Courses 


What self-paced courses are available on September 20, 2021?

English Learner Portal has many courses that start on September 20, 2021, but this FAQ will cover the courses that exist through a partnership with Immigrant Connections and are taught by Laura Gardner. Tap on the title of each class for more details and to register. 


What does ‘self-paced’ mean?

Self-paced means you can take the course anytime, from anywhere and at your own speed! It’s the same thing as “asynchronous.” 


What are “pathways?”

Our partners at English Learner Portal have created a number of “pathways” that cover various topics, such as family engagement or cultural proficiency. Each pathway includes 3 five-hour courses. Educators may complete a full pathway of learning to deepen their expertise on a particular topic. One graduate credit is available for each completed pathway for a fee of $75 paid to Brandman University. Alternatively, educators may select courses to take “a la carte” but graduate credit is not available with this option. Either way, educators will receive digital credentials (certificate and badge) for each five-hour course completed.


Which pathways are the courses taught by Laura Gardner / Immigrant Connections in?

The Family Engagement Pathway includes:

  • Immigrant Family & Community Engagement in Schools (Part 1)

  • Immigrant Family & Community Engagement in Schools (Part 2) 

  • Cultivating Leadership Skills Among Immigrant & English Learner Parents

The Cultural Proficiency and Equity Pathway includes:

  • Understanding the Background of Refugee Students & Families

  • Supporting Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth in U.S. Schools

  • Trauma Informed Teaching & Social Emotional Learning (taught by another instructor)


The Online Learning Pathway includes:

  • Engaging Immigrant and EL Families in a Virtual World

  • Online Language and Literacy Development for English Learners (taught by another instructor)

  • Delving Deeper (taught by another instructor)


Are there any prerequisites for these courses?

No!  Register for any of the courses that you’d like. Our only suggestion is that you take Part 1 of “Immigrant Family and Community Engagement in Schools” before you take Part 2. If you have any questions about what course(s) would be best for you and your situation, please email Laura at


I’ve taken the 10-hour course, “Immigrant Family & Community Engagement in Schools”.  What course do you recommend next?

If you’ve completed the older (no longer available) 10-hour course “Immigrant Family & Community Engagement in Schools” over the past 3 years, you will likely want to start with “Cultivating Leadership Skills Among Immigrant and English Learner Parents.” 


I’m unsure which course will help me the most.  Will you help me decide? 

If you have any questions about what course(s) would be best for you and your situation, please email Laura at


What do the courses include? How is the content taught?

The content in each of the courses is divided up into various lessons. Each lesson includes a short video lecture, a group of resources (articles, videos, websites, etc.) with instructions on how many to review (usually 1-2), and an optional forum for comments and discussion. Course participants also need to complete a “Participant Reflection Guide” for each course, which involves responding to various prompts and questions as well as applying the information to one’s instructional setting.


When will I have access to the course?

A couple of days before Sept 20 you will receive an email about how to access the course content. 


How long will the course take me to complete?

Each course will take about 5 hours to complete. You can see the anticipated time breakdown in each course’s syllabus, which is provided at the beginning of each course. (If you would like to see a syllabus before purchasing a course, just let us know.)  Some educators prefer to devour the course over a weekend while others prefer to absorb bits and pieces each day.  The choice is yours! 


How do you know if I’ve successfully completed the course?

You will have successfully completed the course once you have watched all of the video lectures and submitted your Participant Reflection Guide to  


Will I receive a Certificate of Completion?

Yes, participants will receive digital credentials (certificate and badge) for each five-hour course completed. After Laura Gardner or colleague reviews your Participant Reflection Guide (please give us a week to review it), she responds to your email with feedback and loops in English Learner Portal to issue your digital credentials.


What is English Learner Portal?

English Learner Portal is an organization that provides professional development to educators around working with English Learners and their families. This includes face-to-face workshops, synchronous online workshops, and asynchronous (self-paced) online courses. English Learner Portal partners with Brandman University to award graduate credits for its training.


These FAQs were wonderful, but I have more questions...

We’re here to help!  Please email Laura at


I want to learn more about Laura Gardner and Immigrant Connections…



Can I pay for these courses with a Purchase Order?

Of course!  Email with the request.


 Is it possible to customize the start and end dates for each course? 

You bet!  Email  to make that arrangement.

Can I still access the content once I finish the course? 

For those signing up for the September 20 session, you will have access to the courses and materials until December 31, 2021. It is suggested that you save your favorite links and resources as you work your way through the course material.