Online Pedagogy: Best Practices

These ideas are in use in online courses throughout the CSU and beyond and are meant to help you get oriented to some of the pedagogical topics that are part of online teaching.

Handout 1"Best Practices in Online Teaching"

Summarizes the best practices related to content, interaction, and assessment

Handout 2: "QOLT Lite: 10 Steps to Building a Great Online Course"

Presents 10 easy ways to improve your online course

Have an idea or topic you'd like to share? Contact Glenn Pillsbury to spread the word!


» Prepare your course web site for the online learning experience

» Create a "Welcome" or "Getting Started" area in the course site

» Communicate regularly with the class

» Make yourself part of the multimedia course experience

» Specify discrete learning objectives for each unit or week and use "backward design" to create content

» Have students do something regularly (at least every week)


» Use introductory surveys and assignments

» Start the course with a simple (ungraded) icebreaker discussion forum

» Require (and be explicit in the syllabus about) regular discussion forum participation

» Use a single forum to host all course-related threads to create a true class-wide discussion.

» Create a general "Course Questions" forum and require all content-related questions to be posted there.

» Design your course with student-student contact as a central part of the learning environment.

» Divide the class into small groups right at the start of the course and make the groups an important "home" for the students.


» Consider assessment and evaluation strategies that are appropriate for an online environment.

» Use best practices to minimize cheating in online exams and quizzes

» Create at least one Feedback Survey during the semester.

» Create an overall Course Evaluation Survey

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