Best Practices in Online Teaching

This subsection of the Handbook provides tips, ideas, and resources for effective and engaging online teaching.

Familiarize Yourself with the Course

Online instructors need to be familiar with the course content and navigation. We recommend you do the following things before each semester, especially if you are taking a course over from another instructor:

  • Check course navigation on the home page and the course menu located on the left hand side. You may be new to the course yourself. Can you find the major parts of the course easily from the home page? Does the home page organization make sense? Is it neat and uncluttered?
  • Check and revise content and links. Review the content on pages and in modules. Is information accurate? Do links to external websites work?
  • Review quizzes and assignment instructions. Are they complete and up-to-date?
  • Set due dates for assignments and assessments.
  • Prepare and upload the syllabus. See “The Syllabus” subsection of the Teaching Excellence Handbook for how to create, share, and distribute a UNT course syllabus.
  • Set up Grade Center. Columns associated with existing assignments and quizzes should already be in place. However, you may wish to add more columns for other activities or may wish to set up calculated columns to add or average together multiple existing columns. Check column release settings so that you can determine if students can see grades once you have entered them.

Create an Engaging First Week Experience

While many principles of engaged teaching and learning are similar across course modalities, how to establish an engaged learning environment can differ drastically. See the following suggested Teaching Commons articles for tips and ideas on how to establish an engaging learning environment for your online course: