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Effective Online Teaching Strategies

Teaching in the online environment is a practice that continues to grow as research becomes more abundant and technology advances. The GOLD Team is committed to helping you stay current with advancements in effective online teaching strategies. Explore the resources below to learn more about teaching your next online course.

Deliver your Online Course

Online course development is an ongoing process. Course delivery is the step that helps you assess the effectiveness of your design choices and identify changes that you may want to make. The design of your course and your communication plan lay a solid foundation for the successful implementation of all instructional strategies. A few key tips for delivering your next online course, based upon online learning best practices, include:

  • Write detailed, sensible policies and consistent information to help create predictability from the student’s perspective.

  • Provide students guidance about how to use the course management tools effectively (e.g., threaded discussions, assignments, quizzes, etc.).

  • Know your syllabus, resources, and learner support systems to respond to students’ questions timely and completely.

  • Identify alternative plans for delivering the course in the event of technology issues or modifying activities if students are not “getting it”.

  • Counteract the negative aspects of the distance separating you and the students by monitoring your online courses frequently and responding to student concerns timely.

Manage Your Time

The demands of teaching online can sometimes be overwhelming. How do you manage your time when there are no set course hours and the “classroom” is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? 

As you design your online course, consider how you will accomplish different course management tasks. For example, if you do not have a teaching assistant to assist with the grading, you may not want to create gradable discussions. An Online Course Management Checklist can help you plan ahead to effectively manage your time and workload as an online instructor. This checklist encourages you to think about the frequency of activities and assessments that you have built into your online course. The Instructor Sample Schedule is an example of what a weekly schedule of course facilitation and management activities looks like for a typical online instructor. The Instructor Schedule Template can be used to create your own online teaching schedule and strategy to manage your time when teaching your online course.

Use technology effectively

Canvas is the university-wide learning management system designed to deliver fully online courses, as well as supplement courses taught in the face-to-face environment. Through the effective use of tools such as announcements, discussions, assignments, quizzes, groups and wikis instructors can create innovative and interactive learning environments for their students.

Incorporate Group Work

Countless studies show that collaborative activities are beneficial for online learning. The potential benefits of group-work for students can be significant when meaningful consideration to the goals of the group assignment, detailed expectations, and instructor support are present. Student interaction can be incorporated into all types of subjects, even helping predict the success of students taking STEM courses. Canvas includes several tools that can help with group work and collaboration.

Groups Feature in Canvas

Instructors can create groups of students within courses. Groups usually consist of a small number of students for study groups or projects. These groups have their own collaboration areas in the course so that they can communicate and share files. 


 Students can also use Webex to conduct synchronous meetings.

Google Docs

Google Docs brings your documents to life with smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs. Choose from hundreds of fonts, add links, images, and drawings. All for free. Google Docs

Ensure Academic Integrity

UWF has added two tools to Canvas to help faculty combat plagiarism: Turnitin and Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor. Turnitin is an originality checking and plagiarism prevention service. It encourages best practices for using and citing other people's written material. Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor are two complementary tools that enable institutions to protect the integrity of non-proctored online exams. 

You can also add the Academic Integrity Module (included as part of the Global Online "Begin Here Module") to your courses to remind students about your expectations and the consequences of academic dishonesty. 

Understand Copyright

Your course content may include text, music, graphics, illustrations, articles, photographs, etc. Copyright law may protect some of the content you wish to use. Therefore, you need to be familiar with copyright and fair use laws. We encourage you to review the UWF Library’s helpful LibGuide about Copyright Infringement for more information