Online Teaching and Learning Guide

Whether due to COVID-19 or simply as a new career direction, you have made the decision to move your class online and are wondering how to go about doing that.  That is the purpose of this resource guide – to assist you in rethinking your teaching so that your online experience is a success.  This guide is an update of one I published with Jeff Nugent and Bud Deihl when we worked at the VCU Center for Teaching Excellence a decade ago.  I have taken the old resource guide pages and updated then for 2020.  While it has been a decade, many of you are still unfamiliar with teaching online.  I have been teaching online for 25 years…so I feel that I have some expertise to share.  I will lay out some steps to get you started, look at how course design is different when teaching online, give you some tips when teaching online, discuss common issues for managing your online class, provide some examples for class and student evaluation and assessment, and give you further resources to review as you continue to develop your class.

If your move online is indeed due to the COVID-19 virus, take a deep breath…it is actually not overwhelming!  You already have experience teaching.  In developing your traditional classes, you probably used an approach like this:

In classes you have taught in the past, you had clear learning outcomes in mind.  You assembled content that supported those outcomes and crafted interactions in class which helped students meet those outcomes.  You used formative and summative assessment to evaluate whether students in fact met the outcomes, and used that evaluation to adjust your content and interactions.

Now you will be doing the same, but in a new online environment.  One could argue that teaching online is no different, but we disagree – the “practices” you will use to achieve your learning outcomes in an online environment are very different.

To help you begin to plan how to effectively teach online,I am providing some resources, background articles, and “how-to” processes covering a range of topics.  It begins with a white paper I co-authored with Jeff Nugent and Bud Deihl a decade ago that laid the groundwork for rethinking teaching practices and processes for an online class.  We authored this white paper, Building from Content to Community: [Re]Thinking the Transition to Online Teaching and Learning, to serve as a starting point for conversation and reflection, as you begin the process yourself.

After you have reviewed the white paper, use the drop down menu to jump to the resources you most need (or start in Getting Started and work your way through all resources).  These resources include:

This work is licensed under Creative Commons, so feel free to use or share in an alike manner.  If you have suggestions for improvement, use the comment section below.