Tips for Teaching Online

Getting ready to teach online can seem like a daunting task. “Can I achieve similar learning to what I get in class?” Yes! But you may have to alter how you do some things and be purposeful in your development to ensure your course is engaging while still incorporating academic rigor. Below is an overview of our Teaching Online tools and resources, contact CITE for assistance.

Organize your course for ease of use.

Organize your course for ease of use in a fully online environment.

  • Limit menu items to 7 for ease of navigation
  • Create folders by topic/week to keep things organized. Post any tests or discussions to be completed in that section in order in the folder.
  • Check what it looks like in Student Preview
  • Students who withdraw from your course won’t be able to see it within the hour but you can remove them if you would like to clean up your grade center.


Lectures can be pre-recorded or live (where applicable).

Pre-recorded lectures (asynchronous) that students can access anytime from any device.

  • Post on YouTube as unlisted, works on all devices and students don’t have to wait for it to download.
  • Chunk it into 7-10 minute videos titled by topic. It’s faster to upload, easier to review, and three 10-minute videos are more engaging than one 30-minute video.
  • Break the videos up with activities like discussion posts.
  • Recordings will be about half the time they take in class but remember they will take students longer than the video length as they pause/rewind to take notes.


Live online lectures weekly (synchronous) to connect to students.

  • In live sessions, go over the application of the theory, your stories and experiences
  • Send out a survey to collect questions in advance
  • Limit the student webcam usage to the first couple of minutes to save bandwidth for the students with limited internet capabilities
  • Set up office hours and post the link in Bb.

Build engaging interactions into your course.

Engaging interactions need to be purposefully built into your course.

  • Send Announcements weekly to keep students on track.
  • Keep Discussion Boards manageable for you and them. If you want concise posts then include that in your rubric. Sample student discussion expectations HERE.
  • Consider a groupwork contract.
  • Self and Peer assessment grade themselves
  • Journals are great for student reflection.
  • Use surveys to get anonymous feedback. Great for finding out what you need cover in your live class time.

Create assessments that can be done online.

Online assessments are where the students show you what they’ve learned.

  • The Assignments tool provides plagiarism checking.
  • Students can send pictures of their work / calculations in either an assignment or a test.
  • Set up groups to allow for group assignment submissions and feedback.
  • Set test options to use a Timer with auto-submit. Do not use Force Completion so if students have a wifi “bump” they can go back and resume the test where they left off.
  • “Industry standard” is 1 multiple choice question per minute unless there are calculations or a lot of reading.
  • Keep discussions manageable by setting clear expectations. HERE is a sample.
  • Self and Peer assessment grade themselves!
  • Journals are great for student reflection.
  • Use categories in the grade center if there are numerous assessment items to include (e.g. labs, weekly quizzes) or you aren’t sure how many there will be.
  • Provide meaningful feedback so students can correct prior learning and improve future performance. You can mark up their submissions in Bb or consider recording video feedback.
  • Check out some assessment ideas HERE

Plan announcements and weekly office hours.

Weekly communications and online office hours help keep you stay connected to the students.

  • Send Announcements weekly to keep students on track. If you are emailing all students, then just post an Announcement.
  • Set up an FAQ Discussion Board and subscribe to it so you are notified of postings.
  • Use online conferencing tools (see Lecturing Online section) to set up live office hours.

Further Resources

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Contact Info

Rene Hemenway

Instructional Designer

(403) 502-8438