Photo of a laptop, textbooks and apple. Welcome to the Faculty Development Modules for Online Teaching.

In this introductory module we discuss how to prepare for success when teaching hybrid and online courses.

We address considerations and practical strategies for teachers transitioning from face-to-face classrooms to online learning environments. Our focus is on:

Along the way you will be invited to share your expertise in our discussions forums.


At the end of this module, participants will be able to:

Photo of a dictionary definition Glossary of Key Terms

Asynchronous - Participants do not all have to be logged in at the same time for discussion and content delivery to occur.

Synchronous  - Discussion and content delivery occurs live and in real time.




Big Idea - Making the Transition

Photo of a female student sitting outside with a laptop. The number of students enrolled in online education continues to grow at an accelerated rate. According to the Staying the Course Report published by the Sloan Consortium in 2008:

Accordingly, many educators are making the transition from teaching in a traditional face-to-face setting to instructing in an online environment.

This poses a challenge to instructors and their institutions.

Discussion icon

Discussion Question: In this first module, take the time to briefly introduce yourself. Focus on the following:

Big Idea - Making the Transition

Trends.jpg Many faculty and administrators believe that building their online or hybrid classroom is no different than preparing for the face-to-face classroom - it's just a matter of "converting" course material (Palloff and Pratt, 2001).

Ko and Rosen (2008) suggest development begins in the same manner as a face-to-face course:

The fundamentals are the same; however, the approach is very different.

For online instructors, when the primary connection you have to your students is through words on a screen, special attention needs to be paid to many issues that are taken for granted in the face-to-face classroom (Palloff and Pratt, 1999).

Here's How - Making the Transition

Photo of Drs. Palloff and Pratt In the following audio recording, Drs. Palloff and Pratt share their thoughts on what educators should consider when transitioning from the face-to-face environment to teaching online.

Click the gray arrow to begin. (Recording time is 3:13. There is no video component.)





Here's How – Making the Transition

When transitioning to the online classroom, Dr. Palloff's comment with respect to rethinking and retooling the way you teach is essential.

Photo of Dr. Larry Ragan We asked Dr. Larry Ragan, Director of Faculty Development at Penn State University World Campus for his words of advice to faculty new to teaching online. Click the gray arrow below to hear his response. 

(The audio recording is 3:26 minutes. There is no video component.)

From the Field – Making the Transition

Discussion icon Discussion Question: What are your thoughts on the words of advice from Drs. Palloff and Pratt, and Dr. Ragan?

Given your knowledge and experience of transitioning from the face-to-face to an online learning environment, does their advice resonate with you?

In this first section we have looked at a brief overview of what to expect when making the transition from the face-to-face classroom to teaching online.

In the next section, Getting Started, we will talk in more detail about how to prepare your students for success in online and hybrid learning environments.

Before continuing to the next section, please complete the review activity below.

 Toggle open/close quiz question

Big Idea – Getting Started

Photo of a teacher with text books and a computer. In this next section, we focus on getting started in the online and hybrid classroom with the following:  

I. The learning space (Content Management System)

II. Preparing your students

III. Building community

IV. Strategies for hybrid instructors

V. Delivery of content

This section is designed to provide you with a summary overview of topics. Keep in mind that each topic is covered in further detail throughout the course of the modules.


Here's How – Getting Started

Photo of students in a computer lab I. The learning space

As Dr. Ragan mentioned earlier, your online learning space is dramatically different than the face-to-face classroom.

Whether you are working in a Course Management System (CMS) such as, Moodle, Blackboard, ANGEL or Desire2Learn, you will need to know how to navigate the following tools. Click on each heading for a brief overview.

Ideally your institution will provide CMS training for you. If you have questions, ask colleagues for help - and keep user guides handy!

Here's How – Getting Started

Photo of textbooks with a mouse attached. II. Preparing your students

Effective online instruction begins with providing students with information they need to get started in your course. This involves providing:


Here's How – Getting Started

Photo of middle school students III. Building community

Having students feel part of a community is one of the central elements of online student success.  

Students new to online may feel isolated especially at the beginning of a course. Your goal will be to make your students feel welcome and build a robust online community as soon as possible. Consider the following:


Here's How – Getting Started

Photo of fists, one on top of the other III. Building community (cont'd)


Discussion icon Discussion Question: What are your favorite ways of building community in a hybrid or online learning environment?


Here's How – Getting Started

Photo of students filming a project III. Strategies for hybrid instructors

If you are teaching a hybrid course, careful planning is a key consideration.

From a pedagogical perspective, hybrid learning can combine the best of face-to-face learning experiences with the best of online (Ragan, 2007). It provides students with the opportunity to:

Here's How – Getting Started

Photo of three teachers at a chalkboard III. Strategies for hybrid instructors (cont'd)

In designing hybrid courses, special attention needs to be focused on how online and face-to-face time will be spent. Consider the following:

Issues related to how time and content are delivered in both online and face-to-face classes are addressed on the following page. We hear an experienced professor talk from the field.

From the Field – Getting Started

IV. Content

Dr. Dennis Longmire, Professor and Director of the Survey Research Program at the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University has the following recommendations for online faculty regarding issues related to time and the presentation of content.


From the Field - Getting Started

IV. Content (cont'd)

There is much to discuss when it comes to how you will deliver content in your online and hybrid course. As Dr. Longmire suggests, you need to start slowly. Here is a list of content-related considerations:

Consider the following >>

As suggested at the beginning of this section, we have provided a great deal of information to consider with respect to Getting Started.

The purpose is not to overwhelm, rather to provide you with a sense of some of the issues and topics that will be explored in further detail throughout the course of these modules.

The DragNDrop activity below reviews some of the materials that have been discussed. 

 Hyperlink to DragNDrop Activity 


Road sign that reads, New Ideas Next Exit There are many issues to consider when getting started with online and hybrid teaching.

Whether you are in the process of transitioning from the face-to-face classroom to an online learning environment, or already have online experience, we hope these modules provide valuable information and strategies.

Please note that when you proceed through the modules, although each is numbered, you do not need to view them in any particular order. They are designed to be taken individually as "standalone" lessons.

Before leaving this module, please complete the Final Assessment after the Reference section.



Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2008) Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States, 2008, Needham MA: Sloan Consortium. Retrieved November 6, 2009, from

Ko, S., & Rossen, S. (2008). Teaching online: A practical guide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (1999) Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ragan, L. (2007). Best Practices in Online Teaching - Pulling It All Together - Teaching Blended Learning Courses. Retrieved March 14, 2008 from

 Final Assessment

Please complete the following before proceeding to the next module. Click on each question to begin.

 Question 1

 Question 2

 Question 3

 Question 4