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Online Teaching Best Practices

While the core principles of excellence in teaching and learning - respectful and engaged student-teacher relationships, timely feedback, relevant assessment and content - remain constant, teaching online is not the same as a face-to-face classroom.

The Quality Matters initiative offers an rubric for evaluating an online course, and was adopted by the Faculty Senate in 2016 as a guide for online course design. The complete rubric and training opportunities are available by contacting our QM Coordinator, An Pfister, at an.pfister@yc.edu.

  • Course contains links to available campus resources for online learners.
  • Course offers access to a wide range of resources supporting course content.

  • Course is well-organized and easy to navigate. Students can clearly understand all components and structure of the course.
  • Course syllabus identifies and clearly delineates the role the online environment will play in the total course.
  • Aesthetic design presents and communicates course information clearly throughout the course, including customized buttons and banner.
  • All web pages are visually and functionally consistent throughout the course.
  • Student accessibility to all online media is addressed.

  • Course goals are clearly defined and aligned to learning objectives.
  • Learning objectives are identified, and learning activities are clearly integrated.
  • Course provides visual, textual, kinesthetic, and/or auditory activities to enhance student learning.
  • Course provides multiple activities that help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

  • Course has timely and appropriate activities to assess student readiness for course content and mode of delivery.
  • Learning objectives are closely aligned with instructional and assessment activities.
  • Ongoing multiple assessment strategies are used to measure content knowledge, attitudes, and skills.
  • Regular feedback about student performance is provided in a timely manner throughout the course.
  • Student self-assessments and peer feedback opportunities exist throughout the course.

  • Course uses a variety of technology tools to appropriately facilitate communication and learning.
  • New teaching methods are applied to enhance student learning and interactively engage students.
  • A variety of multimedia elements and/or learning objects that are relevant to student learning are used throughout the course.
  • Course optimizes Internet access and effectively engages students in the learning process in a variety of ways throughout the course.

Module level objectives (MLOs)

All courses need to have module level objectives. YC course level outcomes are provided by the institution for each course, but faculty are responsible for creatingMLOs that module/weekly lessons, activities and assessments are connected to. These should, of course, be foundational to the course level outcomes.

There should be a reasonable amount for each module, between 3-10; too many can be overwhelming. MLOs  should be placed in the introduction/overview for weekly modules, so that students know the what they will learn each week. 

Modules need to be written clearly and simply, and begin with a verb that is demonstrable. A list of suggested verbs that follow Maslow's hierarchy can be helpful.