Course One in the Series

Preparing for Excellence: Transitioning to Online Learning

Postsecondary educators entering online education will investigate the similarities and differences between teaching online and on-ground, learn how to inspire sophisticated learning from students in the online classroom, and acquire a strong working knowledge of the skills highly correlated with excellence in online learning. Topics covered include engagement and assessment strategies, collaboration tools, and techniques for effective time management in online education.


Unit Descriptions and Objectives

Unit 1: Introducing Online Education

Taught by: Andrew N. Carpenter, Ph.D.

This unit is an investigation of key similarities and differences between the online and traditional "brick-and-mortar" teaching modalities. Many faculty are surprised -- and pleased -- to learn that there are many similarities between teaching within the two modalities; a key theme of this unit is that a passionate commitment to academic quality and integrity is the key to teaching excellence in both modalities.

After completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Identify what it is like to teach online.
  • Discuss the key steps for preparing to teach online.
  • Discuss ways that teaching online is similar to traditional teaching.
  • Discuss the most important differences between online and traditional teaching.
  • Identify the best research published on the efficacy of online education.
  • Apply to their own disciplines key characteristics of effective online learning.
  • Relate the characteristics of excellent online teachers to their own pedagogical voices, preferences, and styles.

Unit 2: Engagement and Assessment Strategies for Online Courses

Taught by: Julia Teahen, D.B.A., MS

This unit explores strategies for engagement and assessment that can be utilized to optimize content delivery and achievement of learning outcomes.  Integration of appropriate levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, varied assessments, and meaningful engagement into online delivery will be examined. Faculty will learn how to effectively deliver content through numerous assessment strategies and create and facilitate Socratic discussions.

After completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how principles of pedagogy and andragogy are applied in the online learning environment.
  • Differentiate formative and summative assessment strategies.
  • Develop online course learning outcomes that span the appropriate levels of the Knowledge and Cognitive Process Dimensions of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  • Generate an online course map that matches discussions, assignments, and assessments to course and/or program learning outcomes.
  • Create and facilitate Socratic discussions.
  • Integrate a variety of assessment strategies into courses, including labs, simulation models, quizzes, exams, case studies, debates, role-playing, games, team projects, multimedia presentations, and production of competency-based deliverables.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of content delivery through collection of assessment data.

Unit 3:  Tools You Can Use in the Online Environment

Taught by Dr. Nicole Runyon

The prospect of teaching online can be daunting but it doesn’t need to be.  In most cases, the tools that instructors use in the on-ground classroom have a matching tool that can be used in the online classroom. These tools can be found both within the learning management system (LMS) and outside of the LMS and they help maximize learning in the online classroom.

Online instructors have the ability to guide students and help them acquire knowledge just as they would in a traditional classroom.  In the online classroom, this can be as basic as having a dialogue or as complex as working with simulations.  This unit will help to build an instructor toolbox to maximize teaching effectiveness and, subsequently, student learning.

After completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a solid understanding of how to maximize the use of the different formal and informal learning management tools.
  • Identify online tools that correspond and support what an instructor has used in the traditional classroom.
  • Build a toolbox of resources that will maximize learning for the student.
  • Identify tools that optimize instructor organizational skills.
  • Evaluate and select the tools based on the need, recognizing that not all tools are created equally.


Unit 4:  Time Management – How to Get It All Done

Taught by Dr. Nicole Runyon

Time management for an instructor is a critical element to student success in the online classroom. Students need timely feedback and regular interaction with their online educator. This unit offers guidance on adapting to the daily requirements of online learning.  In an on-ground class, instructors are likely active 1-2 times a week in a classroom while spending office hours writing and preparing lectures, grading assignments and meeting with students. This dynamic changes in the online classroom.  There is a shift to daily interaction with students and an approach that means that course materials are typically created well in advance of the term beginning. This unit will focus on the value of a having a proactive approach in the classroom to quality, effective courseroom management and student engagement.

After completing this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a plan that allows instructors to shift from a traditional lecture mode to an interactive and dynamic teaching mode
  • Identify ways to make the most of the time an instructor spends in the classroom.
  • Generate an understanding of the need for course preparation.
  • Identify tools that allow instructors to spend less time navigating and more time teaching.
  • Design/teach a course in an accelerated format – compressing 16 weeks on ground into 8 weeks online without losing content.
  • Discuss the importance of presence in the classroom.
  • Identify tools and methods that can help to make the most of instructor time including the use of macros, copy/paste functions, rubrics, and creating a library of materials that can be used across multiple classrooms.
  • Evaluate the value and benefit of a proactive approach to classroom management and student engagement.

Your Instructors

andrew carpenter 270Dr. Andrew Carpenter

Andrew N. Carpenter, a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, earned degrees in philosophy from Amherst College (BA, summa cum laude), the University of Oxford (B.Phil), and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D.); his academic specialty is the history of early modern philosophy. Dr. Carpenter has served in numerous administrative and faculty leadership roles at proprietary and not-for-profit institutions of higher learning and has significant expertise in organizational development, academic governance, academic policy creation, continuous quality improvement, strategic planning, faculty development, and the assessment of institutions of higher learning, academic programs, and student learning.

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Nicole RunyonDr. Nicole Runyon

Dr. Nicole Runyon has been teaching online for a variety of universities and colleges since 1998. She is a subject matter expert in online learning and has taught a diverse platform that includes hundreds of different graduate and undergraduate classes in management, human resources, education, marketing and related fields. She has mentored and trained many faculty members who are new to online learning and she understands what motivates online faculty (the topic of her dissertation). In addition to teaching and mentoring online, she has served in many other academic capacities including onground faculty, course lead, course developer, program counsel, and subject matter expert.

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Julia TeahenDr. Julia Teahen

Dr. Julia Teahen, DBA, MS has over 20 years experience in distance education academic leadership, instruction, instructional design, course development, and learning outcomes assessment. She is the past President for Baker College Online and continues to teach undergraduate management and leadership courses at the college. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University, a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Doctorate of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her dissertation compared the differences in organizational commitment of full- and part-time faculty in distance education and traditional settings. Her research interests include distance education, social networking, classroom technologies, management history, and cross-cultural leadership.

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