iTeach Essentials Certificate

Online teaching is not about knowing which buttons to push in Blackboard or in any learning management system. Although technical proficiency supports online teaching, the ability to create measurable learning objectives, design a navigable course structure, communicate effectively online, facilitate community and interaction, and create effective online assessments, are paramount to the success of online learning.

About the iTeach Essentials Certificate

Earning an iTeach Essentials Certificate requires both of the following:

  1. Completion of a 6-week facilitated Best Practices of Online Pedagogy
  2. Five technical badges

    These badges are earned through unassisted (live or virtual) demonstrations of five technical skills and can be completed in any order (before, during or after BPOP). Faculty can do the competency demonstration to earn all badges during the same meeting, or they can do the demonstrations separately for each badge, as they feel prepared to do so.

    1. Course Design/Management
    2. Communications: Announcements, Discussions, Email, Messages
    3. Assignments
    4. Tests
    5. Grade Center

    Faculty can prepare for the demonstration of the competencies required for each of the technical badges in a variety of ways. These include resources such as:

    • Webinars
    • peer mentoring
    • Course Design and Delivery Competencies (self-paced course – see below),
    • meetings with Ed. Tech. staff
    • YouTube videos or
    • prior knowledge from their own experience with the tools.

Course Design and Delivery Competencies (self-paced course)

  • Faculty are automatically enrolled into a self-paced Course Design and Delivery Competencies course. This course is comprised of individual folders that provide a wide array of learning resources for faculty who want to learn to use Blackboard, Kaltura, and other technologies, as well as how to find and use Open Educational Resources, use Backward Design and Universal Design for Learning principles, incorporate media in their courses, and much more.
  • Some of the units in this course are specifically designed to prepare faculty for the technical competency demonstrations required to earn the iTeach Essentials Technical Competency badges. However, faculty do not have to be seeking the badges or the iTeach Certificate to take advantage of the information and resources in this course.
  • All of the skills that can be learned in this self-paced course are applicable to classroom-based, live remote, and fully-online course delivery modes.
  • The course is not facilitated. It is entirely self-paced. There are no schedules or deadlines, and faculty can proceed through it in any order they desire.
  • Although we have tried to sequence the course folders in a logical way from a course-building perspective, the content in each folder can be used independently of other units.

Best Practices of Online Pedagogy Course

Topics in this 6-week fully online course focus on pedagogical concepts and best practices of online teaching and classroom management. This is a moderated course that faculty complete during six sequential weeks. It does not include training in technical skills within the learning management system.

Who should take the Pedagogy course?

This course is targeted at instructors would like to teach fully-online courses. Participants have included those who have already been using Blackboard in their on-ground or hybrid courses, as well as instructors who have been teaching online but have never really had the opportunity to explore best practices of online teaching. It is not an introductory course in how to use the Blackboard course management system.

What kind of time commitment is expected for the Pedagogy course?

This course requires a consistent commitment to a professional development activity. Although the class takes place completely online, it is not a self-paced course. You will be expected to submit substantive posts to each weekly discussion, as well as a final summative reflective paper. Participants can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week reviewing the course content and participating in discussions.

Please be sure to carefully consider your other professional and personal demands; it may not be advisable to register for this class when you anticipate major personal obligations or commitments (weddings, surgeries, personal or school vacations, etc.) that will result in several days at a time when you will be unable to complete your online work. If you don't think you can complete the requirements within the stated period, please wait and register for a different session in the future.

What are the goals of the Pedagogy course?

  • Provide faculty with the opportunity to experience online learning as a student, rather than as an instructor, so they have a personal perspective of online learning.
  • Introduce faculty to theory, as well as many practical strategies, related to online teaching and learning, and to share their experiences, ideas, and insights with fellow course participants in a fully online setting.
  • Model best practices of online teaching, course design, classroom management, and online communication and interaction, for participating faculty.

What does "Fully Online" mean? 

  • There are no in-person/on-ground classroom meetings or hands-on labs.
  • There are no scheduled "synchronous" (i.e. "real-time") video conferences--all interactions take place online asynchronously.
  • All course readings, videos, etc. are delivered online.
  • Each course will have one or more facilitators--someone who will interact with participants, answer questions, and review and provide feedback on gradable discussion posts and on the final reflective paper.

What are the course prerequisites?

  • Anyone who is considering taking, or teaching, a fully-online course should already possess a fundamental set of technological competencies, such as the ability to upload/download documents, organize their computer’s files and folders, attach content to emails, do effective Internet searches, understand how to use a web browser, navigate to specific URLs, etc. If you are not certain if you have the fundamental skillset, we recommend that you have a chat with your local director of educational technology to get their input and advice.
  • You have a basic familiarity with how to use and navigate the Bb Learn interface, either by having used it to "web-enhance" an on-ground classroom based course, OR by having a solid technical foundation in a comparable learning management system.

    Prior experience having taught a hybrid or fully-online course in a learning management system is certainly helpful, but not required.

What are the technical (computer/hardware/software, etc.) requirements?

  • High speed Internet access (e.g., cable or DSL) from home as well as office (since it's likely that you will wish to do at least some of the work from home).
  • A newer computer (can be PC or Mac) that is configured to work with Blackboard, and current versions of at least two different web browsers (i.e., Chrome, Firefox, Safari).
    • Please note that you may no longer use the Internet Explorer browser with Blackboard.

How do I enroll?

The Best Practices of Online Pedagogy course will be offered by various community colleges. To find out more about the current schedule of courses and cost, please contact your college’s local Director of Educational Technology or Distance Learning.