Online Pedagogy

For those who have never taught an online course before, the idea may seem daunting. How is teaching an online course different from teaching a classroom-based course? How can we ensure that the same quality of instruction will be achieved online? How can we facilitate effective communication and ensure authentic assessments are implemented?

Online education follows many of the same methods and philosophies as its traditional, face-to-face (f2f) counterpart. There are, however, differences that invigorate a paradigmatic shift for online educators. Compared to f2f education, online teaching has more of a learner-centered paradigm, which, when successful, yields highly active student interaction and engagement (Harasim, 2001). The instructor's role shifts from being "a sage on the stage" to "a guide on the side" by facilitating student learning, rather than delivering instruction.

Though technology has improved dramatically over the years to support high quality, collaborative online teaching and learning many of the pedagogical principles remain consistent with f2f instruction. An instructor needs to let students know about expectations for their work, participation and collaboration, as well as the instructor’s availability and approach to feedback. Appropriate online instructional strategies should also be identified and employed in order to create a friendly, communicative and productive online environment for students. Assessment of online students’ performance should also be properly designed to ensure student achievements.

This section provides some pedagogical guidance and suggestions for online instructors regarding these issues. Please explore this section to learn more about this paradigm shift and to strengthen your approach to teaching online or hybrid.

For more guidance on designing or managing an online course we encourage you to meet with our instructional designers. Visit our Consultation page to schedule an instructional design consultation.