Getting started with online teaching

It’s possible to design your online teaching in many ways – not two online course designs are similar because the organization and development of online courses depend on a range of different contextual factors such as the learning outcomes, the academic area, the teaching level, what digital and technological tools you have available and the student’s prerequisites for the course. Designing an online course requires just as much – if not more – careful design, consideration, and reflection because you don’t might now always have the availability of direct student interaction, body language, or communication options.

When planning for online teaching, consider the following:

  • Communicate more than you normally would – both in terms of frequency and volume. Students don’t have the option to ask their neighbors in class.
  • Prepare welcome messages and ice-breaker activities, where you introduce yourself and the course – and where the students have the option to write a short bio and get to know each other before the course begins.
  • Maintain a clear structure in your Canvas course. Keep the same structure for the whole course, and make it clear to students where they can find what. Again: They don’t have the immediate option to ask their peers in class.
  • Consider what is important to cover in live, synchronous sessions, and what students can do in their own time between classes. Just like with blended learning: What is important to keep in an environment, where students can discuss, ask questions, and talk to each other, and what is more meaningful to have students engage with at their own pace?
  • Get yourself acquainted with the digital tools and technology that you plan to use. If you’re using an online conference software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, try it out and reach out to a department consultant if you would like more support. Find your department consultant’s contact information here.

Find more inspiration in our online toolbox here.