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. Similarly, if you do not plan or intend to teach a fully online course but wish to convert discrete portions of coursework to an online format, we suggest you engage in the training described in Step 2 below and take advantage of the consultations described as Steps 3-5 below.
Online courses (and online learning modules used to supplement on-ground 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 suggest faculty members enroll in and complete the Online Pedagogy and Best Practices training provided by UMass Boston’s eLearning and Instructional Support (eLIS) team.
In some cases, CAPS will enter into agreements with UMB department chairs or program directors to fund online course development through a stipend system. While the requirements of course development under the stipend system are reflected (as best practices) in the discussion below, faculty members designated to develop a course under a CAPS stipend should refer to the documentation on web at http://capsonline.umb.edu/stipend-earning-guidelines-for-online-course-development-through-the-college-of-advancing-and-professional-studies for guidance on the requirements of that process.
Collaboration with eLIS team members
UMass Boston’s eLearning and Instructional Support (eLIS) team members are available to help you design your course. We hope you will begin a strong relationship with eLIS team members, who are available to:
- inform you of pedagogical considerations unique to online teaching
- familiarize you with the Blackboard environment
- explain ADA requirements and the importance of accessibility in online courses and provide guidance on accessibility best practices in online environments
- coach you on online course design as you build your course
- introduce you to a wide range of exciting eLearning tools available to you
While members of the eLearning team will not build courses, per se, they are available consistently to answer questions and help instructors use eLearning technologies to enhance all manner of courses. Many of the techniques you will learn can be applied in face-to-face courses, and in hybrid or blended formats, as well as in fully online courses.
Steps to prepare to teach online/use online strategies
Steps 1 & 2 are open to and suggested for any UMB faculty member who wishes to explore and/or seeks to use online teaching strategies in UMB courses of various formats, including primarily on-ground courses.
Steps 1-5 are required for instructors who have been scheduled to teach a fully online course through CAPS for the first time.
Faculty members who have completed UMB’s Online Pedagogy and Best Practices training within the past three years can skip to Step 3.
Step 6 is optional for all but those developing a course under the stipend model described at on web at http://capsonline.umb.edu/stipend-earning-guidelines-for-online-course-development-through-the-college-of-advancing-and-professional-studies but fall within best practices CAPS suggests to all faculty members.
When you complete the online signup form linked to above, a member of the eLIS team will enroll you in an online, self-paced training course, Online Pedagogy and Best Practices training. If you don’t yet have a Blackboard account, completing the online signup form will result you being provided the Blackboard access you need to engage in the training course.
Complete your Blackboard Learn Self-paced Training Course
Once you have your login information, please complete the self-paced online training course. If you are scheduled to teach in an upcoming semester, you should complete the self-paced training soon as possible. Most faculty members find the self-paced training course requires two full hours to complete, though it is not necessary to complete the training in one sitting. You can move through the training at your own pace, but it’s best to give yourself time so you don’t need to rush as the semester approaches.
The following steps are required only for instructors who are scheduled to teach a fully online class for CAPS.
Schedule your Online Pedagogy and Best Practices Consultation
Online pedagogy and best practices consultations with a member of the eLIS team provide guidance on the design process. The consults may take place online or face-to-face, and can be scheduled by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. When sending email to request a consult, please include the phrase “Online Pedagogy and Best Practices” in the subject line: In the body copy of the message, please note the name and number of the course you are developing, and the semester in which you are likely to teach the course. An Instructional Designer from the eLIS team will contact you to arrange the consult.
Course Review Consultation
Typically, after a Pedagogy and Best Practices Consultation, faculty members begin by building two to four weeks of content then schedule a follow-up consultation with a member of the eLIS team to resolve issues with the course design and ask questions that have arisen through the early design work.
Prospective students love to get an idea about the course straight from the instructor. Members of the eLIS team can provide examples of course introductions produced in various media formats.
Post-semester Reflective Consultation
Instructional designers on the eLIS team have found that faculty members who have taught a fully online course for the first time, or use online strategies in any format of course for the first time, benefit from a final consult conducted after the conclusion of the teaching experience. In such consultations, the faculty member and designer typically reflect on the instructor’s perception of both the teaching and learning experience, and focus on potential course redesign work to improve those experience when the instructor next offers the course.