Indiana University Northwest

IU Northwest Online Education

Faculty Advanced Page

*Visit the Teaching Resources page for more tips in supporting quality online teaching.    
Oncourse Basics Training  
Key tabs listed In the red column on the left side of OnCourse to help you deliver and manage the “basics” of your online course. 

Step-by-step illustration and narration to show you how to use each of the key Tools for planning, delivering, and managing your online course.

Site Setup
For choosing and editing your worksite information about your online course, the tools to be used in the course, and your class roster. 

Request a site 
Customize tabs 
Adding or removing a tool 
Reorder tools for a site 
Add participants 
Create a group 
Reuse content from other sites


Oncourse Advanced Training  

Additional tabs listed in the red column on the left side of OnCourse to help you enhance the delivery and management of your online course. 

Step-by-step illustration and narration to show you how to use each of the advanced tools for planning, delivering, and managing your online course. 
RSS feeds that add up to date news information and articles to your site
Add dynamic news to a site 
Web Content
Web Content allows the user to link to outside websites through the OnCourse environment 

Add a Web Content Tool to a course or project site 
Customize a Web Content item

This tool allows users to add multimedia (audio and video) to their sites. This links up to iTunesU for mobile devices 

Add a podcast
Record a podcast



Online Teaching Basics  

The Basics of Teaching Online

There are many myths about what online teaching is and what it isn’t. Some people think that those who teach online design a class load everything into a learning management system (like OnCourse), then the class teaches itself and the instructor simply grades the work.  That is definitely not a quality online course.

At IUN, most faculty members who teach online design their own courses. Some instructors have gone through training, and some have not. It is our goal, however, to make sure everyone who teaches online has the same basic knowledge about how to design an excellent course and how to deliver that course instruction in quality ways.

Designing an online course

An online course should be fully designed before the class begins. What that means is that every single week should be labeled, and all of the content needed should be loaded into OnCourse.  Students should have work to do online every single week, and interaction should be built in and required each week.  Students read content within OnCourse and interact with each other and the instructor through Forums and, sometimes, the Chat Room.



Teaching Using Forums

The forums feature in OnCourse provides a space for instructors and students to interact with each other in an online course (or even a traditional or hybrid course).  The forums are a type of asynchronous communication (meaning that conversation takes place at no specific time and people comment and read when it’s convenient for them).  Usually the instructor poses a question or set of questions based upon a unit or a week’s lesson and the students answer the questions and respond to each other.

Forums shouldn’t be used solely by those who teach online. On the contrary, they are a fabulous way to break down classroom walls and make your course available to your students every day of every week.  There are some tricks to using them effectively, however.


1. Design really good discussion questions. Creating excellent questions that encourage students to use the assigned readings, promote critical and evaluative thinking, and provide them with an opportunity to include their own opinions and experiences is an art form. It takes practice, but it can be done.

Student Issues  

Student Issues in Online Learning

Many students who sign up for online classes don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.  Some of them have preconceived notions that online classes are a breeze, that they can do work whenever they want, that there are no deadlines and no participation requirements. They might think this because they took an online class that was nothing but an independent study; however, because IU Northwest is dedicated to quality online courses, students will likely see less and less of that type of online course and more courses that are just as, if not more rigorous than their face to face counterparts.

So, faculty members who teach a high quality, highly interactive online course will be faced with students who are not prepared for those expectations. Some students will sign up without having access to their own computers; some will barely know how to send an email. These are realities for online instructors.