• CAPS online


We at the College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) are pleased that you are interested in teaching online courses at UMass Boston. If you have already received an online teaching assignment, this is the place to start. If you are interested in teaching online, but have not yet been assigned an online course, you can still participate in the Blackboard Learn self-paced professional development course. 

Online courses offer great flexibility and freedom for students and instructors. At CAPS, we encourage our instructors to explore new approaches to teaching and find opportunities to innovate. This helps us continually improve the student experience, and helps you increase the effectiveness of your courses. Our students have high expectations, and we intend to meet them with the highest quality online offerings. You, the instructor, play a crucial role in delivering top-notch online courses, which is why CAPS provides Online Pedagogy and Best Practices training. The steps below are required for all online instructors.

What to expect

Our eLearning and Instructional Support team is here to help you design your course. We hope you will begin a strong relationship with them. They will:

  • inform you of pedagogical concerns unique to online teaching
  • familiarize you with the Blackboard environment
  • cover ADA requirements and the importance of accessibility in online courses
  • coach you as you build your course
  • introduce you to the wide range of exciting eLearning tools available to you

This can be a very rewarding experience. The eLearning team will not build courses for you, but they will always be available to answer questions and help you enhance all your courses. Many of the techniques you will learn can be applied in face-to-face courses, as well.

Steps 1-5 are required for instructors who already have an online course scheduled. Steps 1 & 2 are open to anyone.

Here’s what you will do next


Complete the form to begin. (click here)

The eLearning team will enroll you in the Blackboard Learn self-paced training course. If you don’t yet have a Blackboard account, they will make sure you have the Blackboard access you need for the next step. You will hear from them soon after submitting the form. Then come back to this page.


Complete your Blackboard Learn Self-paced Training Course

Once you have your login information, you will need to complete the self-paced online training course and demonstrate your understanding of the Basic Blackboard skills needed to teach online. If you are scheduled to teach in a coming semester, you should do this as soon as possible. You will move at your own pace, but it’s best to give yourself time so you don’t need to rush as the semester approaches. Click here to log in to Blackboard Learn.

The following steps are required only for instructors who have an online class scheduled.


Schedule your Online Pedagogy and Best Practices Consultation

This two-hour training may take place online or face-to-face, and must be scheduled through elearning@umb.edu. Send an email with “Online Pedagogy and Best Practices” in the subject, and in the body, mention your course and the semester you are teaching when you request to schedule your session. A member of the Instructional Design team will contact you soon. Again, it is best to make arrangements for this step as soon as possible.


Course Review Consultation

After your Pedagogy and Best Practices Consultation, you will need to build two to four weeks of content. When you have posted your syllabus and at least two weeks of content, contact Sr. Instructional Designer Paula Thorsland (paula.thorsland@umb.edu, 617-287-3147) to set a time that works for you. This is your chance to solve issues with course design and ask questions before the semester begins. 

STEP 5 [this step can be done at any time]

Streaming Video Course Introduction

Prospective students love to get an idea about the course straight from the instructor. Your Welcome Video/Video Course Introduction will be posted on the CAPS website, and it is a great way to attract students to your course. This could be the difference between a course filling, or being under-enrolled.

Please contact Mark O’Sullivan (mark.osullivan@umb.edu) as soon as possible. You can schedule a recording session with our video staff on campus, or record your video at home. If you prefer, you can record an audio-only introduction and provide a still photo. Prior to recording, please prepare a script that you can read in about two minutes, and email it to Mark O’Sullivan.  Mark will be happy to answer any questions.

Examples:  Most instructors simply read their script, but some like to add PPT slides or JPEG visuals. The links below will give examples of each style.

  1. A simply read video introduction: http://bcove.me/ikdnhgvg (Christina Lee, COUNSL 670: Substance Abuse in Modern Society) 
  2. A video introduction with PPT slides: http://bcove.me/3cp6m2l2  (Matteo Casini, HIST 312: Cities in Early Modern Europe) 

The deadline to schedule your training is one month before your class begins. All training activities must be completed before the first day of class. We recommend you complete Step 1 and contact Mark O’Sullivan right away to get started.

If you are eligible for a course design payment, it will be released only after CAPS receives verification you have completed the steps above to the satisfaction of the training staff.


Thank you and welcome aboard!

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