Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

This page includes the topics listed below. Click on the topic in order to go directly to it.

Consultation Services and Training

IT Services provides one-on-one consultations and training in how to use the Blackboard Learn 9.1 course management system and CELT provides instructional design, design, and Blackboard consultation services that you may request by completing an online request or by calling (260) 481-6354.

Back to Top

Planning for an Online Course

If you are teaching an online course, you have special considerations for online learning identified in our IPFW Online Course Design Standards (PDF). To create a syllabus for an online course, you also may wish to use the IPFW Model Syllabus for an Online Course (DOC). This template has been created in a web-accessible style, and you may save, rename, and use it for your course. Of particular value are links to campus resources and prepared statements on diversity, civility, classroom research, and special needs that you are welcome to include in your syllabus. Please use the Style Names Used in Syllabus file (PDF) to guide your use of the style names in the model syllabus. 

CELT also has listed the Ten Factors of Retention in Online Courses (Shanley 2009, 2011) and  Online Teaching Resources Indexed to Student Rating Issues on the “Online Learning Evaluation Form” (evaluation form distributed by Division of Continuing Studies).

A lot of good teaching practices will transfer well from face-to-face to online courses, yet what works face-to-face requires transformation for the dynamics of online learning. If you like, you also can give some thought to these ideas from people “in the trenches” in a series of short videos produced by Penn State World Campus Faculty Development. You can select videos to review or simply start at the top and each short video will play in sequence from the World Campus Competencies for Online Teaching Success. (Videos).

TIP: Videos usually play well in Mozilla Firefox and Chrome. Trivia: Mozilla Firefox is a nonprofit organization.

Back to Top

Blackboard Course Templates

Blackboard course templates are now available. The templates include a ready-made course organization that has been demonstrated to improve student satisfaction with the online learning experience. Also included are instructions for using the template, resources and support for on-campus and online students, a simple menu structure, and a host of other features that facilitate using Blackboard for teaching face to face or online. Contact Ludy Goodson, CELT Instructional Consultant/Designer to gain access as an individual or as a department.

Back to Top

Building Online Content

Some basic ideas on building online course content are given in a short article titled 12 Tips for the Online Teacher (PDF). You also can find substantial resources for building your course content in the Online Resources Handout at the IPFW Library Guide on Using the Web to Build Course Content. Lastly, excellent strategies are offered in the following resources.

Online Teaching Tips (from several instructors). (Video 5:11)

Integrating Online Resources into your Teaching (COFA.online) (Video 6:13)

Bonk, C. (2010). Planning an Online Course. (Video 9:52)

Back to Top

Accessibility Techniques

Give consideration to the ways in which your online course includes or complements the diversity of learners in your courses: students with physical and mental disabilities, diverse gender identities, ethnic and religious affiliations, and other characteristics. For further information see CELT's Learner-Centered Design Library Guide page, which offers a wealth of information and examples of best practices, instructions on how to make your documents and Powerpoints accessible, along with local and national resources and standards.

IT Services offers Web Accessibility training and resources on its Web Accessibility Training page.

Course Accessibility to Students is Standard 6 of the IPFW Online Course Design Standards (PDF).

Back to Top

Adding Images

Adding images to an online course can enhance student interest, give visual appeal, and can support key concepts. Basic ways to get started are provided in the file Photo Icons for Online Courses. These steps will help you in changing the size, cropping, and preparing images for use in Blackboard.

Back to Top

Creating Banners

Adding a banner can visually identify and add a unique look to your Blackboard courses. We have provided three documents to help you design your own banner: Course Banners without photosCourse Banners with a photo, and Course Banners with multiple photos. Also the file Course Banners for use in Blackboard compiles all three documents in one for your convenience.

Back to Top

Creating Tables to Organize Images and Text

Creating tables within your online courses can organize your images and text when you build course content. The file Creating Tables in Blackboard to Organize Images and Text will build upon the information provided in the photo icons document.

Back to Top

Online Assessments

Another important part of building online content involves not just creating assessments, but building the information that students will need in order to prepare for online assessments. For this purpose, you will find practical tips and examples regarding tests and quizzes in IPFW’s Assessment Tips for Online Courses in Blackboard 9.1 (PDF). For help in building tests, IT Services offers workshops and technical assistance that will be invaluable.

You also will want to consider how to prepare assignments that can reduce the likelihood of cheating in the online classroom. As you may already know, much research has been done on what works well and you can find practical guidance to provide students as well as “plagiarism proof tips” in “Plagiarism-Proofing” Assignments. (PDF)

Back to Top

Online Teaching Practices

In planning your online course, you may want to know something about the best practices for teaching online, too. Among these are making effective use of discussions and keeping a strong personal presence in the online classroom. You will find excellent approaches in the following materials.

Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online (Boettcher, 2011) (HTML)

Conducting Effective Online Discussions (Video 6:49) (perspectives from several instructors at different universities, Australian Learning and Teaching Council)

Students Feelings and Desire for Sense of Community (Drouin & Vartanian, 2010) (PDF)

TIP: Many of the best practices for online teaching come from the best practices in classroom teaching. For example, if you already use productive discussions in the classroom, you are likely to have success in planning productive ones online. And, how you “grade” class discussions in a face-to-face class would be worth considering when planning you how you will “grade” them online. Although you will want incentives for online participation, you will want to carefully evaluate the alignment of what you set up in online policies with the values you hold in your teaching and learning philosophy.

Back to Top

Online Teaching Assistants

You may have the opportunity to have an online teaching assistant for your course. If so, you can get started with the areas of guidance for online TAs, sample teaching assistant guide, and the TA checklist template in Preparing Guidance for Online Teaching Assistants.

Back to Top

Peer Review of Online Course Design and Materials

If you seek new ideas for your online course, are looking for affirmation of your course design, or you would like to gather evidence to document your teaching effectiveness, consider requesting a formative peer review conducted by one of eight IPFW faculty who have been trained in peer review by Quality Matters ™, a national organization that has developed research-based standards for measuring online course quality. Your course will be reviewed using the IPFW Online Course Design Standards (PDF). The process and the standards are described in the IPFW Online Course Design Process and Standards document. The results are confidential and there is an incentive available. Please use the Online Review tab on CELT's Request for Services page to arrange for a review of your online course.

MERLOT, Multimedia Resources for Learning and Online Teaching, offers peer review of online learning resources using carefully defined evaluation criteria. Visit the MERLOT web site, which contains a rich repository of free online teaching resources developed by faculty from around the world, for more details.

Back to Top

Online Teaching Awards and Honors

Full and part-time faculty members who have taught online for 3 semesters or more may be nominated to receive the DECCO Award for Innovative Online Teaching. Application deadline is the Monday following Spring break.

Blackboard accepts submissions for the Blackboard Catalyst Awards and Exemplary Course Program from December 1 – February 29. The Blackboard Catalyst Awards honor those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences.

Back to Top

Online Teaching Journals and Professional Associations

For your further exploration, CELT also has prepared a list of Distance Education Publications, Organizations, and Networks (DOC).

Back to Top

Online Teaching Resources

The CELT Library contains books about online learning and teaching and the Helmke Library subscribes to an excellent newsletter, Online Classroom, published bi-monthly and filled with tips and tactics to enhance your students’ learning and make your life easier.

If you want to find out more about using other technology for teaching, you will find additional resource links at the other CELT Online Teaching sections. In addition to CELT Workshops and Conferences, each week the CELT Director sends out the “CELT Clipboard” announcing upcoming workshops and events.

If you are concerned about student readiness for online learning, you may want to use resources at the Continuing Studies site on Online Learning where you can find the “Online Orientation” tutorial (Video, 11:03) and other useful links for students. You also can find training videos, resources, and mobile learn resources for instructors and students at the following IT Services sites.

Instructor Resources for Blackboard Learn 9.1

IT Services Web Training (instructor and student resources)

Essential Training for Instructors (lynda.com; instructors must be on the campus network to access these lynda.com videos)

Essential Training for Students (lynda.com; students also must be on the campus network to access these lynda.com videos)

Blackboard On Demand Learning Center for Students (tutorials and resources for students)

Information Technology Services or IT Services Web Training (instructors and students on the campus network can select the lynda.com icon and explore software and other tabs to find tutorials for other applications as well as Blackboard)

IT Services Knowledge Base (select Blackboard Learn to go to resources for online course building and use of online course tools)

Technology FAQs for Faculty (topics on technology support, wireless connections, and elearning)

Technology FAQs for Students (topics on computer labs, wireless, elearning, and computer training)

Back to Top

What's New

Save the Date!
2014 Fall Teaching Conference
on Thursday, August 21, 2014

Extra! Extra!
View the April 2014 edition
of the CELT News

More Info from the 2014
Spring Teaching Conference
on Friday, March 28, 2014
View Terry Doyle's PowerPoint

Quick Links