Foundations of Teaching Argument

self-paced online course for ELA, Science & History teachers

This self-paced online course is available on the Oakland Schools sponsored platform mi PLACE (Michigan Professional Learning and Collaboration Environment). Instructions for enrolling are below.

The course is FREE and SCECHs are available. Enrollees can take as long as they wish to complete the five-hour course.

Ways educators might use the course and its materials:

  • complete individually for credit
  • complete in collaboration with a group (department or PLC)
  • select modules or materials for use during a PD workshop
  • adapt and use specific materials in the classroom

Who can take this course?

This 5 hour course is designed for teachers of ELA, social studies and science for grades 6-12. Curriculum coordinators, administrators, and instructional coaches are encouraged to take the course as well.

What does the course cover?

You will learn about:

  • diverse types of arguments;
  • the key elements of well-formed arguments;
  • habits of mind that generate high-quality arguments and argument writing;
  • the benefits of nurturing a "culture of argumentation" in your classroom;
  • activity ideas to introduce your students to basic concepts and moves of argumentation;
  • education research that supports the view that, across the school day, practice making and analyzing arguments can help students deepen their understanding of content we want them to learn.

What's the format?

This course consists of four modules. The first module is two hours; modules two through four take approximately one hour each to complete. In the course's four modules you will:

  • watch presentations,
  • read texts,
  • take short quizzes,
  • analyze and discuss example arguments, and
  • adapt activities and materials for use with your own students.

The goal is for you to complete the course feeling inspired and energized to make greater use of argumentation and argument writing in your classroom--and for you to feel equipped and prepared to do that.

How do you enroll in and complete the course?

This course lives in the Oakland Schools sponsored platform called mi PLACE (Michigan Professional Learning and Collaboration Environment).


  1. Before going to mi PLACE, use your browser to log in to your school (or personal) Google account. This is the Google account you’ll use in the mi PLACE community.

  2. Go to

  3. Click on the red Google button to log in, use your school email address and network password (or personal Gmail address and password).

  4. Give mi PLACE permission to use your Google username for mi PLACE.

  5. Complete the profile screen - including your city, district, role, and picture.

  6. Be sure to set your default settings for receiving individual emails versus a daily email digest from mi PLACE, as well as your preferences for forums notifications and subscriptions. These are some of the first fields on the profile screen.


  1. Click on the green tab for the Hub.

  2. Click “Search the Course Catalogue.”

  3. Use the “search by” field and type in "argument." The Foundations of Teaching Argument course will show up.

  4. Click on the lower case “i” icon to read a course description and get the enrollment key (argument).

  5. Click “view course” to enroll.

  6. The courses you register for show up on the “My Learning” page when you log in for easy future access.