Strategies for Online Teaching

Duquesne Instructors adapted quickly during the spring semester, converting their courses within a matter of days to the remote teaching format using Zoom and Blackboard. However, it's important to recognize that there are considerable differences between emergency remote teaching and online learning. An effective online course uses strategic forward looking design to engage students, create meaningful learning opportunities and support structured learning.

Communication with students, expectations setting, and engagement are all of essential importance to online learning. Zoom is used by Duquesne instructors to hold real-time class meetings, but there's more to online learning than that. Effective online courses use methods and tools beyond Zoom to support student learning.

Foundations in Online Teaching and Learning (FOTL)

Duquesne offers an 8-week online professional development course for instructors called Foundations in Online Teaching and Learning (FOTL). In FOTL, instructors learn about good online teaching practice as they begin to develop content for a future online course. To learn more, view the FOTL Executive Statement, and to register, visit the FOTL Registration page. The course has been received very positively by Duquesne faculty and is our primary recommendation for anyone new to teaching online.

Other Recommendations to Prepare

We recognize that not everyone has the time or availability to participate in FOTL. Although we believe the best preparation for teaching online is to participate in FOTL, there are other options available to help you get ready. We encourage you to take the following steps:

1. Learn Basic Expectations for Teaching Online

2. Visit the Foundations in Online Teaching & Learning (FOTL) Preview and Resources Blackboard site 

  • The FOTL Preview and Resources site contains the resources and content from the full FOTL course that you can work through on your own time and at your own pace based on your teaching needs.
  • Complete the activities listed in the FOTL Preview and Resources Checklist. This will give you a road map for how to best work your way through the FOTL Preview site, while also providing you with some structure and guidance on what you should create and be thinking about as you begin to build your course.
  • Email bbsupport@duq.edu to schedule a consultation with an online learning expert to discuss strategies for effective online teaching as encouraged through FOTL. We can review and provide feedback on any content or materials that you've created as guided by the FOTL Preview and Resources Checklist. We can also answer any other questions you may have about teaching online.

3. Seek Professional Development Opportunities: Attend Webinars and Complete Training 

  • Online Learning & Strategy, Educational Technology and other academic partners continue to work together to offer webinars on effective online teaching strategies as well as on the use of educational technology tools. We listen to the concerns and needs of faculty and use that feedback to prepare information to help you. Let us know more about your teaching needs and we will continue to be responsive.
  • Visit Educational Technology's Professional Development page to learn more about upcoming training and webinars. Additional emphasis for upcoming webinar topics has been placed on teaching in the online environment.
  • Visit Online Teaching: Course Planning within the DORI Intranet for many more resources related to teaching online.

4. Visit Faculty/Staff Virtual Office Hours held using Zoom

  • Have your teaching questions answered in real-time by Educational Technology experts.  
  • See the Banner located at the top of Blackboard's login page for the Zoom Meeting link and for this week's virtual office hours schedule.

5. Recognize that You're not Alone

  • Communicate with colleagues in your school and field, especially those who have extensive online teaching experience. Duquesne instructors have stepped up in an inspiring way during the pandemic to assist their colleagues and to help ensure a positive experience for students.
  • Develop pairings, collaboratives, or other mechanisms to create a faculty support network to address challenges, create strategies and to problem solve. Build synergies to learn and grow together.