Teaching Online program
What is the Teaching Online program?
Teaching Online is a content-rich course for academics who want to learn more about teaching in online and blended units. The program was developed in partnership with Epigeum, the commercial arm of Imperial College, London, UK, and is being further customised for ACU staff and students.
Teaching Online will provide you with a foundation in online pedagogy, online course design, online teaching, and technologies used to teach online. All levels of academic staff will find material of interest in the course, but it is especially valuable for staff with limited experience in teaching online.
The program is built around a series of modules addressing specific themes, and includes modules:
- Mastering online pedagogy
- Designing and developing your online course
- Being a successful online teacher
- Using technology tools for teaching online
Academic staff who have undertaken the program have found benefits from its scholarly approach to major themes in teaching online. The references and reading lists for each module provide opportunities to explore specific topics in more detail.
How to enrol in Teaching Online
How to use this program
You can work through the program systematically, or you can select specific units or topics of interest for self-study or for use in faculty-based professional development days or projects.
Pathways through the program
To help you navigate your way through the Teaching Online program we suggest these pathways to address key questions about teaching online.
Module 2 of Teaching Online is about online pedagogy. You can learn more about the constructivist learning approach and about shaping the learning environment so that students can interact with learning materials, their teachers and each other.
Suggested units and sequence:
Unit 2.1: How people learn
Content: constructivist learning theories and how they can guide teaching and learning, characteristics of constructivist learning environments, how to make your online units more learner- and knowledge-centred and how online environments offer support for the development of assessment-centred learning.
Unit 2.2: Theories for learner-centred online pedagogy
Content: contemporary learning theories that inform the design and teaching of online units, the paradigm shift within Higher Education from teaching to learning and how to develop strategies that focus on the learning needs, goals, and interests of your students in online environments.
Unit 2.3: How people learn online
Content: key perspectives of effective online pedagogy, the methods and practices that we can use to create successful online learning courses, an introduction to the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model to provide guidance in the development of engagement and learning communities in online environments, how to develop strategies that promote learning through different forms of interaction and how to structure the online environment when transitioning from F2F learning.
Module 3 of Teaching Online allows you to systematically work through a simple learning design process for creating or revising an online unit and for improving unit design.
Suggested units and sequence:
Unit 3.1: Introduction to designing and developing your online course
Content: planning your online course, the key concepts of learning design (including why learning design is important, principles of learning design as it relates to planning and developing learning resources, activities and assessments), common issues in learning design and how the Community of Inquiry model can be used as a framework to help you design online courses.
Unit 3.2: Before you start designing your course…
Content: the seven principles for quality online course design, organisational aspects of an online course structure, common ethical and legal policies that relate to online learning, addressing academic integrity, implementing accessibility and inclusive design in online learning and recognising and plan for the needs of diverse learners.Unit 3.3: Creating your course
Content: six learning design activities (LDAs) for designing and delivering your own online or blended courses:
- Think about the context of your course
- Getting to know your learners
- Task analysis, learning outcomes and constructive alignment
- Planning the content and the learning activities
- Assessment (and evaluation) approaches and methods for the online environment
- Media selection
Unit 3.4: Improving your online course designs
Content: planning for the implementation of different types of learning activities within your online course, accessing Open Educational Resources and identifying and overcoming common pitfalls in the design and development of an online course.
Module 4 of Teaching Online focusses on how you host your students in your LEO unit and encourage their learning during the teaching period. Key tasks for you as an online teacher are to build the community and facilitate inquiry.
Suggested units and sequence:
Unit 4.2: Building an effective learning community
Content: develop strategies for designing and organising effective online learning communities, how to support open communication and cohesion (social presence),online course netiquette, planning for activities that support systematic inquiry, discourse, and reflection (cognitive presence), the challenges and requirements of teaching large online classes, how to avoid some common pitfalls of online teaching, developing strategies for preventing, recognising and supporting student difficulties in an online course.
Unit 4.3: Facilitating online learning
Content: the role of facilitation in an online course, strategies for maintaining a learning community and student cohesion in an online course and the Practical Inquiry Model (PIM) to help facilitate an inquiry process for an online course.
LEO is our LMS (Learning Management System). While LEO provides a useful home space for combining activities and hosting a class, the tools available online for building community, discovering content, practising skills and generating new ideas give a whole variety of additional possibilities.
Module 5 of Teaching Online helps you select technology tools and discusses tools for presenting content, communication, assessment and innovation.
Suggested units and sequence:
Unit 5.1 Introduction to using technology tools for teaching online
Content: the relationship between learning approaches, students' technology needs and preferences, the integration of technology tools into online teaching and learning, three key areas of designing or teaching an online course and the technology tools to support them and the evaluation of technology tools.
Unit 5.6 Selecting and adopting technology tools
Content: impact that technology tools have on student learning, technology approaches you can use in your own online teaching, assessing your current technology preferences, delivering content on multiple devices (including the use of assistive technology tools) and strategies for successfully exploring and integrating technology tools for your online teaching.
Unit 5.2 Developing, delivering, and curating content
Content: components of an LMS (learning management system)/VLE (virtual learning environment), different technology tools for formal and informal content creation and distribution, content creation tools - benefits and drawbacks, content curation, different applications of e-portfolios for students and academic staff.
Unit 5.3 Facilitating communication and interaction
Content: differentiate between asynchronous and synchronous communication technology tools, different forms of online discussion forum, common settings and features for online discussion tools, tools that support synchronous communication and interaction, application of synchronous (real time communication) to your online teaching and leveraging social media applications to build learning communities.
Unit 5.4 Developing assessments and evaluating learning
Content: technology tools to develop online tests and quizzes, key technology tools to assess and provide feedback to students, ‘using learning analytics to drive personalised and adaptive learning environments, tools and applications for confirming the originality and authenticity of student work (e.g. Turnitin)
Unit 5.5 Exploring digital innovations
Content: benefits and potential issues involved in integrating new and emerging technology tools into teaching online, t rends, cycles, and migrations in educational technology relative to online learning and new online learning approaches and supporting technology tools.
Where does the Teaching Online program fit with other professional development?
You don't need to have completed any other professional development to benefit from the Teaching Online resources but this program fits well in the following professional development sequence from the Learning and Teaching Centre:
- Introduction to Learning and Teaching @ ACU
- Teaching Support Program
- Teaching Online program
- Graduate Certificate in Higher Education
Further details about these complementary professional development programs can be obtained by accessing the Professional Development section in the Learning and Teaching website.
How much time does it take?
Each unit has suggested timeframes for each topic based on the level of content and the number of learning activities to be completed. These are indicative timeframes only: the time you take will depend on what you are interested in, what you already know, and your level of engagement in the program.
For help and support
For help accessing materials, for more information about doing the program, or to report any problems or broken links, please contact eLearning.LTC@acu.edu.au