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Learning to Teach Online

Based upon the award winning* educational resources of same name developed by Simon McIntyre and Karin Watson, the Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) MOOC is designed to help existing educators establish or improve their own online or blended teaching practices. The target audience is primarily teachers in higher education, K-12, community college, and vocational or private education.

About the Course

Are you an educator? Have you ever wanted to understand more about how to design your course to make better use of educational technology – whether fully online or in blended contexts? Would you like to learn from those who have extensive practical experience with online technologies? This course is designed to help you develop a working understanding of successful online teaching strategies that you can apply in your own practice.

Integrating online technologies into your teaching can be a challenging prospect, and it can be difficult to know how to approach it effectively for the benefit of both students and yourself. No one knows your own content and teaching strengths better than you, and the “one size fits all” formula doesn’t always suit everyone. No matter what type of technology you are interested in exploring or your level of experience, this course will help you draw on your teaching strengths and find the approach that is right for you, your students and your educational context. To allow both for breadth in personalization and depth in key areas that interest you, this course will guide you through your journey of understanding how online technologies can enhance your course design.

Watch interviews with the Course Instructors Simon McIntyre and Negin Mirriahi discussing the motivations behind the course.

Announcement for US based teachers:

Coursera and its partners are proud to offer eligible teachers in the United States free Verified Certificates for this course and other high-quality teacher professional development courses, through the ConnectED effort announced by President Obama.

To participate in this opportunity, U.S. district leaders should approve Coursera MOOCs as teacher professional development by completing a brief form at: U.S. teachers who are interested in this opportunity are also encouraged to follow the link to learn more and complete the form.

Once a district’s form has been verified, the district leader will be notified and teachers in the district will receive access to free verified certificates for Coursera professional development. Coursera and UNSW thank educators for the hard work they do every day and hope this opportunity will assist US teachers to continue developing their craft in a meaningful and flexible way.

Course Syllabus

The course runs for 6 weeks. However, those wishing to achieve a pass grade can complete the course as quickly as they wish, while those wishing to achieve a distinction grade must complete two optional peer reviewed assessments over the duration of the course.
The course consists of 8 modules that can be completed in any order - participants can choose which ones they engage in based on their interest and experience:

Module 1 What is online teaching and why is it important? An overview of online ethnographies and technologies and their place in contemporary education.

Module 2 Open and closed technologies: An examination of the pros and cons of the use of open web 2.0 tools vs. institutionally supported systems in educational contexts, and an examination of relevant activities.

Module 3 Planning online learning: Understand how to define your learning outcomes, develop appropriate online activities and assessment strategies, and to choose the right technology to use. These themes are continually revisited throughout the remainder of the course.

Module 4 Online learning activities: Types of online activities and teaching scenarios. An overview and exemplification of a range of fully online, blended and mobile learning scenarios, online resources and activities. Issues concerning accessibility and inclusivity are also explored.

Module 5 Online assessment strategies: An explanation of aligning assessment with learning outcomes and designing assessments for learning. Considerations of using technology to enhance assessments – benefits to the instructor and the students are discussed. Design and purpose of standards-based assessment and rubrics, and issues concerning assessment feedback and practical affordances provided by technologies are also explored.

Module 6 Online resources: What role can online resources play in effectively supporting student learning? Understand how to find and use a range of Open Educational Resources (OER) in your class, and explore options for creating and your own online resources. Issues of Creative Commons and Copyright in online education are also discussed.

Module 7 Engaging and motivating students: How to manage your time online as an instructor. Best practices are discussed and identified for building an online community of learners.

Module 8 Evaluation strategies: What are some evaluation methods for determining whether your course design change has been effective? How can learning analytics from the use of online technologies help you identify that your course design is helping meet your intended aims and outcomes? Suggestions are offered for ways of gaining feedback from students to inform your continued teaching practice and pedagogical decisions.

Recommended Background

There is no requirement for participants to possess prior knowledge or experience of online teaching practices or related technologies. This course is relevant for those:

  • New to online or blended teaching or those wishing to improve their current practice
  • Interested in educational technology and/or online instruction
  • Involved in higher education, K-12, elementary, community college, vocational or corporate training
  • Who wish to continue their professional development and increase their relevance and value to the contemporary workplace
  • Who are learning and teaching professionals (education developers, instructional designers, etc.) 

Suggested Readings

Readings and videos will be supplied as part of the course material. You will also receive personal resource recommendations if you choose to engage in the class activities.

Course Format

This MOOC is designed to provide a flexible, reflective and personal learning experience - enabling you to tailor your learning based upon your own goals, requirements and level of commitment. Each module includes a set of video case studies exploring a range of key concepts related to course design and teaching with online technologies. You may also engage in discussions with your peers, and participate in formative activities that will help you develop your understanding of the concepts discussed.

You can choose to obtain a pass, or a pass with distinction grade in this course. Alternatively, you may not wish to obtain a grade at all – you can still benefit by browsing the content and engaging with peers.

If you wish to obtain a pass grade, you can expect to build an understanding of contemporary issues surrounding the use of technology in teaching and course design by undertaking a series of online activities. If you wish to obtain a pass with distinction grade, you will also be expected to undertake two peer reviewed assessment tasks that give you the opportunity to progressively apply what you learn to the development of your own online teaching practice or course design. No matter what your intent in undertaking the course, you can engage with as much content as you like and access a range of additional resources, assessments, and scholarly readings to have a deeper learning experience.


What can I earn for completing this course?
You can earn a Verified Certificate by verifying your work via Coursera’s Signature Track. Payment for Signature Track can be made anytime until the week before the course ends. Those wishing to obtain a pass or a pass with distinction certificate must sign up for signature track, If you choose not to verify your work, you can still participate in the complete course. While your final score will be noted on your course records page, you will not receive a certificate of your achievement.

What will I learn in this MOOC?
You will learn strategies and best practices to help you plan, develop and teach using online technologies. You will also learn how best to engage and enthuse students within online learning environments and activities, and how to manage your own time when teaching online. The course focuses on developing your understanding of effective, sustainable and transferable online pedagogies, rather than giving instruction about how to use specific technologies. By understanding how different types of technology relate to various types of learning activities, your online teaching practice can be adapted to whatever different technologies that you may choose to learn.

What is the coolest thing about this class?
The content is comprised of the shared knowledge and wisdom of real educators and students who are engaged in online learning in a wide variety of forms. Not only are the benefits of online teaching discussed, but the pitfalls and frustrations as well, offering genuine practical advice to help prevent you making the same mistakes in your own online teaching.