Teaching Resources

student filling out exam

Instructor Resources- Syllabus

IUN has decided that every online course should use a syllabus template so that students have a consistent-looking document for every online class they take. You can get that document here:

Instructors who teach online classes should take their syllabus and copy and paste sections into the template. In addition, instructors shouldn’t remove any parts of the template, but can feel free to add to it.

One of the biggest mistakes instructors can make when they teach online is taking their face to face syllabus and turning it into an electronic version instead of redesigning it for the online environment.

Why should it be different?

There are many reasons, but the most significant reason is because the syllabus has to be much more detailed because the opportunity for explanation doesn’t exist.  Furthermore, students should not be unclear about any policies, and because of that, instructors need to take a very detailed look at their syllabus and add more detail as needed.


Instructor Resources- Assignments

Similar to reusing a face to face course syllabus in an online class, many instructors think that it’s the easiest thing to just reuse the assignments they use in their face to face course too. Easy might be an accurate adverb, but that’s not necessarily the BEST thing to do.

What’s also the easiest thing to do is simply have the students read material and take a test that you create through Tests and Surveys. What could be better than having a test graded for you and the grades automatically displayed in the Gradebook?

That too might be the easiest route to take, but perhaps not the best route if what you really want your students to do is learn, retain, and be able to apply that knowledge in the future.

Remember the old adage that students learn:

   “10% of what they read;

    20% of what they hear;

    30% of what they see;

    50% of what they both see and hear;

    70% of what they discuss with people whose opinions they value;

    80% of what they personally experience; and

    90% of what they teach to other people” (Treichler, 1967).


Instructor Resources- Assessment

Ironically, this section directly relates to the previous tab, Assignments, as I will repeat myself a little bit here.

Many instructors rely on traditional exams to assess how much their students know and how much they have learned. After all, that’s the traditional measure of intelligence, potential, ability, and knowledge acquisition.   I will not write here of the faults in traditional testing; rather, I will share with you some alternatives to it.

There is a movement in educational avenues called Authentic Assessment.  It is a movement that’s been around for a while, but since it doesn’t allow for accurate data measurement, comparison, and statistical analysis, I doubt it will get the following it deserves, especially in K-12.

Group Folders  

Instructor Resources- Groups

If some students hear the words “group work”, they cringe, complain, sigh, and might even get a case of anxiety. Why do you think that is? I have a theory, and my theory is that group work is a pain because a few students end up doing most of the work and the slacker will get credit for what the hard workers do. Not only that, but the ‘good students’ have to pester the slackers for their part and will be held accountable if that part isn’t done correctly.  Furthermore, group work in traditional courses might mean that students have to take time outside of class to meet and work on the project.

Sound familiar?

In the online environment, some of that frustration is managed, but some isn’t.  Whether or not students like group work will have a lot to do with how you design it.

Here are 10 key things to keep in mind when you’re designing a group project:

1. It is a good thing to have them work together. Don’t shy away from it even though it can be painful at times.

2.  Keep groups manageable in size and assign students to them yourself. Last names work well because of grading (they’ll be one after another). I like groups of 5 or 6.

3.  Make sure the group project is detailed enough so that everyone understands what’s expected of the final product.

4. Have group directions that include a) establishing roles in advance like leader, assistant leader, communicator (communicates with instructor on behalf of group and contacts slackers), scribe (keeps track of the versions of the documents), and editor.

5.  Make sure the assignment isn’t too lengthy.


Instructor Resources—Modules

When I started at IUN in January of 2012, I was totally unfamiliar with OnCourse. Because I had a plan to design my own course to teach faculty, I decided to jump in feet first to learn it.

What I discovered was that OnCourse did not fit my own ideals for an instructional design environment and I set out to figure out a way to make it do what I wanted.  While I didn’t completely succeed, I am satisfied with the end result.

It seems that most faculty members tend to use “Resources” for most of their course content and that is absolutely not necessary at all. You don’t ever have to use resources if you don’t want to as Modules will do everything you need and then some, and present your content in a much more organized fashion.

It is difficult to explain on a website, but in Modules you have the ability to upload a file, input text (with images and animations if you want), and share web links.   Here’s a tutorial about creating a module with text, images, and web links: Click Here

Consider using modules when you design a course, or even if you’re using OnCourse to supplement your face to face course. Students will breathe a sigh of relief when they can easily find what you’ve created for them. There’s no guesswork, no digging in folders, and no need for you to wonder where you’ve put things!

Here’s a view of what a module of a week’s content might look like:

If you want a one on one consultation, be sure to contact CISTL
Web 2.0 Tools  

Here is a list of FREE Web 2.0 tools that you can use in your classroom. 

1. Research is showing that students are responding more favorably to visual learning experiences. Why not bring the learning to them in a way that they need it? Search this site to find free educational videos you can embed in your course or show in class. When you find a video you like, click the “embed” icon in the lower left corner. Use the code to embed in OnCourse.

2.  AUDACITY.COM: Free voice authoring tools that allow you to create audio files that you can embed in your course, add to power points, etc. Download the program. Windows & Mac based.

3. Lame Encoder: Tool needed to convert Audacity audio files to mp3s.

4. Skype: This has been touted as one of the best tools for the internet many years in a row. It is basically like a free internet-based phone with conferencing, chat, and video chat capabilities 

5. Natural History Museum Online: There are so many resources here, from videos of jungle explorations, to the ability to look at and manipulate a 3D hominid skull. Perfect for supplements to many different science courses.

6.  Jeopardy! This is ideally for face to face classes because you can create a Jeopardy game or use one of theirs and display it to your class. You can choose the number of teams, etc. Answers are not shown, so someone would have to have the right answers for categories.

7. Free online blog tool.

8.  Jing: Jing is a tool that allows you to capture your computer screen with voice-over so you can record short (5 minutes or less) tutorials, how to’s or notes to your students on their work.  It is easy to share and embed them through a weblink. There is a free version and paid version. Windows and Mac.

9.  Voice Thread:A virtual based application that allows users to comment and discuss ideas through text, audio file, microphone, telephone, or webcam.

Support Tools  

Listed are some helpful tools to support your teaching.  Click on the red links below to access them.  Some packages are available at minimal or no cost.  Some of these sites will take you out of the Indiana University related websites.

Training and Support IUware IUanywhere

IU Knowledge Base

OnCourse Feature Demonstrations

eText Courseload Training

Adobe CS6 Creative Suites

Adobe Captivate 5.5

Office Tools

Operating Systems


Mobile Devices