Preparing to Teach Online – Self-Paced Online Modules

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Preparing to Teach Online
Self-Paced Online Modules

Online Kick-Off: Monday, June 3, 2-3pm
Online Wrap-up: Thursday, June 27, 2-3pm



Preparing to teach online logo

Are you planning to teach an online course, or just curious about online teaching and learning? Then you can be among the first to explore the new Preparing to Teach Online self-paced learning modules by participating in this pilot offering! As you complete the modules, you will learn about the practices and principles of online teaching and plan for applying them to a course you may want to teach online. The modules cover these foundational online teaching topics:

  • Best practices for online teaching
  • Methods and models for online teaching
  • Technology to communicate, collaborate, and assess
  • Communication strategies
  • Assessment techniques

Preparing to Teaching Online consists of 6 modules and may take 8-10 hours to complete. Because the modules are self-paced, you can complete the modules at any time before the wrap-up date and at your own speed. You have the flexibility to decide if you want to spread the material out over the entire 3.5 week period or complete them all in a week or even a single day! Each module includes a short narrated tutorial, suggested readings, and a quiz. Periodically, you will reflect on what you have learned thus far and how it will influence your course design. Throughout the modules, there are opportunities for you to work on the design for a course you plan to teach online. The modules are based on best practices in online teaching, were developed according to industry-standard quality rubrics, and have been reviewed fully by internal as well as external reviewers.

Module Topics

Module Topics
Overview of Online Teaching
Definition and components of an online course, benefits and misconceptions
Models of Online Course Delivery
Models of online instruction, tools to support each model
Deisgning an Online Course
Incorporating meaningful learning in an online course, best practices for online teaching
Encouraging Communication in Online Courses
Strategies for communication, effectiveness and appropriateness of communication tools
Technology Tools for Online Teaching and Learning
Formative and summative assessment in online learning, technology tools for assessment, effective and efficient grading strategies

While the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center has offered extensive training on online teaching, this is the first time the training is available for self-paced learning online. The modules and this pilot offering for a faculty cohort group are made possible by the partial funding received through NIU Foundation’s Venture Grants. Participants will be requested to provide feedback on the module design, content, and overall experience so that the modules can be enhanced further. Please note that the modules cover issues related to preparing to teaching online and do not include hands-on training that may be necessary to teach online.

Technology Requirements

Participants must have a computer running a browser compatible with Blackboard (more information is available at In addition, participants should have Java and Flash installed. For the kick-off and wrap-up sessions, speakers or a pair of headphones is necessary.

Alternatively, participants may also complete the modules from their iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet. Mobile participants will need to download the free Blackboard Mobile Learn and Blackboard Collaborate Mobile apps.

Participants should have basic computer skills (internet browsing and file management) and prior experience with Blackboard.

Registration Information

This online course is open to all faculty, instructors, and teaching staff (SPS and Civil Service), but the registration will be limited to 25 participants for this piloe offering. Registered participants will receive access to the Preparing to Teach Online Blackboard course. Participants who complete all of the assessments by the wrap-up date will receive a certificate of participation. Advance registration is required.

Attendance at the online Kick-off and wrap-up sessions is strongly encouraged but not required for participation or completion. These sessions will be recorded and available for viewing after the event.

Registration Deadline: May 28, 2013. Due to the advance notice needed for ensuring access to the course and managing the cohort group, please register for this course online at Please register only if you plan to complete all of the self-paced modules by June 27, 2013.

After you register, if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration by May 30, 2013 at so that those on the waiting list may be given the opportunity to participate in this effort.


If you have any questions or need clarifications about this self-paced learning course, please contact the Center at 815-753-0595 or


Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center and NIU Foundation Venture Grants

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