Online Teaching & Learning
- Getting Started
Teaching Online Tip #1: Start early!
- Take one of our Online Teaching Certificate courses. They are offered throughout the year and facilitated by the CELT instructional designers. Register here:
- Contact us to set up a consultation with an instructional designer.
- Send your syllabus in advance so we can understand your current course design and learning objectives and best advise you on revisions.
- Discuss your preferences and comfort level with various technologies such as: Blackboard, VoiceThread, and Zoom.
- Discuss curating or creating teaching artifacts and learning objects.
- We can connect you with a librarian to discuss open educational resources that could be used to supplement your online course.
- Making the Shift
Making the Shift
We know that your goal is to create the best possible educational experience for your students. Converting a class into an online format requires careful thought and preparation, and working with CELT will save you time – time developing, time reviewing, and time researching.
Ideally, you should convert a traditional class into an online class gradually: start by incorporating online elements into your traditional class using many tools available on Blackboard, such as announcements, discussion boards, Zoom desktop sharing, VoiceThread, quizzes, and the grade center. Taking time to learn these tools and how they impact instruction is the best place to begin.
A semester (or more) before class begins:
- Take one of our Online Teaching Certificate (OTC) Courses offered at multiple times throughout the year.
- Convert your syllabus to an online syllabus. Start by reviewing our template.
- While you are building your course, make sure it is unavailable for student viewing. Courses in Blackboard are set up using a template that would support online instruction. Decide on a folder or module structure prior to uploading content.
- Create your quizzes, assignments, and discussion boards in Blackboard.
- Set up your grade book in the Grade Center.
Two weeks before the class begins:
- Use the Date Restrictions tool to hide any materials you are not ready for your students to see, double-check all links.
- Post a welcome video and announcement for your students, and create an orientation or icebreaker activity.
One week before the class begins:
- Open your class to allow students time to familiarize themselves with the course.
- Email your students a welcome letter and invite them to explore the course. Describe the course expectations and activities, as well as provide helpful links to the location of the course, the location of the syllabus, how to log in, what materials they need to purchase and where they can get them, and how to contact the Blackboard help desk.
Research on best practices suggests that incorporating a variety of activities to promote cognitive and social engagement is critical to student learning. Discussion boards, student-led activities, videos, recorded lectures, and posted readings are all easily manageable in Blackboard's learning management system.
Your first learning module should introduce the syllabus, provide tips for success, and orient the students to the course organization. Label course materials and learning modules clearly, and strive for consistency in how you present the materials. Blackboard allows you to use “Date Restrictions” to hide items from student view until you want them to become visible, so do yourself a favor and get everything posted in advance. You won't regret it!
- Creating a Syllabus
Creating a Syllabus
Creating your first online syllabus – or your tenth – can be a more of a task than you may realize.
- Since you may not see some (or any) of your students in person, your syllabus will need to be more comprehensive and articulate than usual. A well-crafted syllabus not only ensures that students understand your expectations, but also provides you with blueprint for building your Blackboard site.
- Standardized templates can help you cover areas specific to online learning communities. You can download and modify these templates for your own course design. Look through the comments in our syllabus template to start building your syllabus.
- Courses and Workshops
Courses and Workshops
Whether it's syllabus development, assessment, learning new technology tools, or selecting course content to motivate student engagement, CELT offers one-to-one consultations, group training for your department, and a variety of workshops that will transform how you manage and deliver your course.
Alternative training opportunities:
- Best Practices
Research-Informed Best Practices
Open SUNY's Online Course Quality Rubric (OSCQR) is a research-based review instrument for revising and guiding the design quality of courses in addition to conducting internal peer reviews.
Quality Matters (QM) is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to the continuous improvement in online education. Stony Brook is a QM subscriber campus and CELT can provide faculty with training on how to use the QM rubric and advice on how to build an online course using QM Best Practices. Please note that Quality Matters is a proprietary rubric and cannot be shared outside of our campus.
Want to Know More?
Chico's Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) Instrument is another rubric used to create and/or evaluate online and blended courses. This site also offers the option to view exemplary courses in which instructors have implemented the rubric.
Assessing Students Online - Review information about strategies and challenges when assessing students online.
- Course Refresh
Reflect and Refresh
Once you've taught your online class, or even once the class starts rolling and you are seeing how the design and activities are performing, you will begin the process of refining and improving your course.
Evaluate Early and Often
The cornerstone of course improvement is student evaluations, and thus it is extremely important that you use the evaluation process to solicit the kind of feedback needed to improve your course. Just like the students in your class, getting feedback - early and often - is the key to improvement.
Additionally, include mid-semester evaluations: updating your course to see if new or additional material is needed, responding to enrollment and student demographic changes, and correcting any problems encountered along the way. You might consider keeping a journal while the course is in session, which you can use to assist yourself with revisions before you teach the course again.
At term-end, take advantage of Stony Brook's Course Evaluation tools by adding questions specific to online learners.
Contact us if you would like to participate in a review using a OSCQR or QM!
- Research and Resources
Research and Resources
Explore our whitepapers and past events!
Last updated: 3/11/2021