How to Teach Online

SnapseedIf you are thinking about teaching online, or already offering distance education courses and interested in updating your practice, consider the analogy of the car and the driver as it applies to online teaching.

In this analogy, your course content which has been organized and packaged in a course management tool: this course management system represents your car. You as the instructor -drive the car (your course).

Depending on the course management system you are using, or how you organized your content, or if you are using pre-packaged content -your car may contain multiple bells and whistles, or it can be economical and very user friendly. You know your car better than anyone else and are able to conceptualize and describe how you want it to function with your mechanic (online course consultant).

At the Center for Teaching Excellence, through individualized consultations, we are able to provide support and assist you with pragmatic solutions and direct you to targeted resources.

 If you are thinking about teaching online, some of the main components to consider are  (Zhu, Payette, & DeZure, 2003):

Course Content: Coverage, Accuracy, Currency

Delivery of Instruction: Tools used to deliver materials

Course Design: Defined Goals and Objectives

Communication and Interaction: Feedback, Management and Facilitation

Student Time Spent on Learning Tasks: Required Readings, Task Completion

Assessment of Student Learning: Assessment methods, alignment of assessment with course goals

The University of Hawai’i provides Laulima as a vehicle for instructors to use, and many instructors do choose organize and present their content in engaging, interesting, and creative ways using Laulima. Now that the University of Hawai’i has migrated to Google, course content may also be packaged and published in Google Sites then embedded in Laulima. Some instructors may also opt to use WordPress, Drupal, or pre-designed course content packages and course management systems, such as those that come with an online textbook. Some instructors even build their own cars (or course management systems) for presenting their own content.

Whichever vehicle or environment you choose for publishing and delivering your content -this still leaves you, the driver. And in this analogy, the way you drive represents how you choose to teach online, interact with, communicate and engage with students, as well as assess them. As you already know, the more courses you teach, the more comfortable you become with your practice and content. It is the same for online teaching. However, online teaching requires you to rethink your face to face content and activities. Simply moving lectures from a face to face environment to an online platform will not result in the same outcome. Establishing an online rapport, building an online community, and building relationships with students in an online environment requires strategies for orienting students in what can be a disorienting environment. Finally, in this analogy the students are the passengers on your car. However, there are other educational models to consider, methods that are inclusive of students’ directions and producing their own content where appropriate.  The Center for Teaching Excellence has identified 7 ways we can assist faculty interested in teaching online, or in a hybrid model. Please read the following page for an overview.

 Zhu, E., Payette, P., & DeZure, D. (2003). An Introduction to Teaching Online. Center for Research on  Teaching and Learning.


2 thoughts on “How to Teach Online

  1. Hi. There is a typo in the third paragraph of this page. It says “ore-packaged” and I think you meant “pre-packaged.”


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