Professor Karen Swan: Lead advisor

Karen Swan is the Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Research Associate in the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. Her research focuses on media and learning in general, and on online learning in particular. Karen has been teaching online for over 15 years and her experiences have guided her work on learning effectiveness, interactivity, and the development of social presence online, on which she has published extensively. Her current work explores learning analytics and the pedagogy of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Karen was awarded the Sloan-C Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual in 2006.

Professor Rhona Sharpe:
International version editor

Rhona Sharpe is Professor and Head of the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development at Oxford Brookes University. She and her team run workshops, online courses, and offer consultancy for higher education institutions across the UK and internationally. She is also an Associate Lecturer for the Institute of Educational Technology at the UK Open University and a Visiting Professor at Edge Hill University. Rhona's interest in the role of technology in learning led her to direct a number of learner experience projects, which culminated in the creation of the ELESIG (Evaluation of Learners' Experiences of E-learning) community. She is a Senior Fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a National Teaching Fellow.

Dr. Norm Vaughan: Author

Norm Vaughan is a professor in the Department of Education, Faculty of Teaching and Learning at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, with particular interests in blended learning, faculty development and K-12 schooling. He recently co-authored the book Blended Learning in Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2008) and has published a series of articles on blended learning and faculty development. Norm is the Co-founder of the Blended Online Design Network (BOLD), the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, and he is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Excellence in e-Learning, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, the Journal of Distance Education, the Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning, the Learning Communities Journal and the Journal of Information Fluency.

Jenny Mackness: Reviewer

Jenny Mackness is an independent online education consultant, specialising in content authoring, teaching and facilitating national and international online courses in higher education. Her work also includes designing and supporting e-learning projects, the development of training materials for the public and private sectors, and work on communities of practice and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Jenny's current research interests include learners' experiences of e-learning, particularly within communities of practice and MOOCs, curriculum design for emergent learning, and synaesthesia and embodied learning.

Wilma Alexander: Accessibility advisor

Wilma Alexander is part of the Learning Services team at the University of Edinburgh, supporting the use of online tools and technologies across the University. She has a special interest in usable and accessible digital practice, tutors on usability and accessibility for the University's Masters in Digital Education, and promotes the use of online activities for inclusive teaching and learning in the context of staff development.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be better equipped to identify and carry out the responsibilities of a successful online teacher, namely:

  • Designing and organizing an online course or module
  • Facilitating and moderating an online course or module
  • Directing and leading an online course or module
  • Assessing student learning in an online course or module.

Course structure

The bullet points below explain the chronology of the course and give a breakdown of each of the sections you will encounter.


The Orientation section introduces you to the content and aims of the course. There is an opportunity to assess your current knowledge, to help you evaluate your learning at the end of the course.

  • Introduction
  • Key term search

Course files

The course files contain the core course content. The content is divided into units and screens.

  • Unit 1: Introduction to online teaching
  • Unit 2: Building an effective learning community
  • Unit 3: Facilitating online learning
  • Unit 4: Directing and leading an online course
  • Unit 5: Using assessment in online teaching


The Application section gives you the chance to apply the course content to a practical example.

  • Practice scenario


The Closing section summarizes what you have learned and provides reference materials for further study.

  • Course summary
  • Resource bank
  • References

Self assessment

The Self assessment section allows you to assess and consolidate what you have learned in the course.

  • Self assessment


Course highlights include:

  • Video interviews in which experienced online teachers share their experiences and strategies
  • Guidance on how to put pedagogical frameworks into practice to improve your online teaching
  • An engaging summary of common online teaching pitfalls and strategies to avoid them
  • Strategies to help you mitigate and manage issues commonly experienced by online learners
  • Practical tips on organizing and managing large online classes
  • How to take a triad approach to assessment in your online course.

Supporting universities

The Teaching Online program has been developed in conjunction with the following institutions:

  • University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Australian Catholic University, Australia
  • University of Ballarat, Australia
  • Cardiff University, UK
  • University of Exeter, UK
  • Florida Atlantic University, USA
  • Griffith University, Australia
  • Hong Kong University of Science
    and Technology, Hong Kong
  • University of Hull, UK
  • Massey University, New Zealand
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Michigan State University, USA
  • National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • University of New England, Australia
  • University of New South Wales, Australia
  • University of Northampton, UK
  • University of Queensland, Australia
  • Sheffield Hallam University, UK
  • Singapore Management University, Singapore
  • Southern Cross University, Australia
  • University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
  • University of Western Sydney, Australia