8 Steps to Successful Online Teaching

In the list below of key questions related to creating and teaching online courses, you can click any topic to dive in, or you can follow the list sequence to get a comprehensive understanding of how to create a quality online course and teach it effectively. Click the “Get Started!” button to begin.

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ORIENTATIONWhere do I start?

Creating a new online course can be challenging. Some online courses may already have face-to-face versions. Some online courses are brand-new courses. How do you get started? Learning outcomes, course materials and learning activities, and assessment strategies are the key components for an online course. During the offering, faculty play different roles to maintain social presence and engage students.

Orientation: where do I start?
Content: what happens to my lecture?


CONTENTWhat happens to my lecture?

How does what you traditionally taught in front of the room translate to an online learning experience? This section focuses on how you get from standing in front of the classroom to providing that same content in an online format. There are many options and techniques you can select from to enhance how students learn in your online course.


STRUCTUREWhat will my course look like?

Just as in a face-to-face course, you can organize an online one by modules, units, lessons, or weeks. The syllabus for an online course should contain general course information, textbook or resource details, faculty information, a course calendar, and the grading policy and scheme. You want to make sure communication expectations and course structure are clearly stated. This information will provide students with a road map for success and helps them achieve their learning goals. However, the online world allows for a great deal of flexibility in the presentation of such materials.

Structure: what will my course looks like?
Communication: how do I communicate with my students?


COMMUNICATIONHow do I communicate with my students?

Instructor communication is critical in an online course. You can interact with your students individually or as a group. Communication guides the learning process and keeps students on track. You can create a welcoming environment and use a variety of online course tools to facilitate online communication.


INTERACTIONHow do students communicate with each other?

Peer communication can increase student retention, increase engagement, and build a sense of community in a course. There are various activities you can design to facilitate students’ communication with each other. These activities include unstructured discussion boards, prompted discussion boards, online study groups, group assignments, live webcasts, video lecture tagging, video assignments, photo assignments, and more!

Interaction: how do students communicate with each other?
Comprehension: how do I check for understanding in online course?


COMPREHENSIONHow do I check for understanding in an online course?

Frequent assessment opportunities allow you to check for student understanding. You can integrate formative assessments in presentations and add knowledge checks that provide formative feedback. In your discussion forum, you can require students to discuss key course concepts, and you can provide rubrics to help guide peer evaluation.


ASSESSMENTHow do I grade online discussions?

Discussion is essential for engagement, interaction, and learning in an online course. To maintain the quality of the discussion, you need to set clear expectations, and students need to understand the importance of their participation. Rubrics can be great tools to assess the quality of students’ discussion or level of discussion participation. They spell out the expectations you have of students and help you do objective grading.

Assessment: how do I grade online discussion?
Engagement: how do I keep students engaged online?

ENGAGEMENTHow do I keep students engaged online?

Communication between students and the instructor is key to maintaining student engagement. As you instruct in an online course, the communication strategies and course design are the main factors that impact student engagement and success. Making your presentations interactive, linking course content with real-world practice, designing assignments to meet students’ needs, and creating a positive peer learning environment can all be very helpful in keeping students engaged and actively learning in your online course.

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