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: Reviewer
and 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. Laurie P. Dringus: Author

Laurie Dringus is Professor of Information Systems in the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences at Nova Southeastern University, Florida. She has been involved in online learning since 1983, having joined the pioneer group that developed online programs at NSU. Her research interests include human-computer interaction, information design, and interaction in online learning environments. She has published numerous papers and presentations related to the research, development, and evaluation of online learning environments. Since 1998, Laurie has served as Editor-in-Chief of The Internet and Higher Education, a top-ranked and internationally recognized research journal published by Elsevier.

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 equipped to:

  • Identify the main aspects of the online learning experience
  • Evaluate aspects of your own personal learning qualities, online study habits
    and readiness for online learning
  • Develop strategies to support your learning process in an online course
  • Reflect on what motivates you to study online
  • Identify effective time-management strategies to stay on target in studying online
  • Create your own effective study environment
  • Reflect on effective and practical strategies for studying online successfully.

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 studying online
  • Unit 2: Understanding your learning
  • Unit 3: The importance of time management
  • Unit 4: Creating an effective study environment
  • Unit 5: Working with others
  • Unit 6: Strategies for success


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 with new and experienced online learners, as well as expert online teachers
  • Activities and tips that will help you prioritize and manage your time and space as an online learner
  • Polling activities that will enable you to compare your online learning ideas and experiences with your peers
  • Advice and activities that will show you how to contribute to online discussion forums
  • The key strategies and effective habits that will bring you success as an online learner.

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