iTeach Essentials

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 skills for communicating effectively online, facilitating assignments, clarifying learning objectives, and creating an accessible course structure are paramount to the success of online learning.





Fall 2019

“I think that this course has been excellent in providing all the foundational concepts for creating an online course. In addition, it brought to my attention many pedagogical concepts that are important for teaching in general. I feel confident now that I can use the skills learned in the class to create an online course by using the Blackboard Learn shell that I already have as a foundation.”

Diane Reeve

Fall 2019

“When I first began this course, I did not know what to expect, but was excited to explore the world on teaching online and how it is developed. Through each weekly unit, I learned ways to incorporate what I do in the class, to online....After completing this 6-week course, I do feel more confident in my ability to create an online course that is both comprehensive and understanding to students.”

Jennifer Mueller

Fall 2019

"One lesson that stuck with me is really quite simple; findability has a direct correlation to the student’s success. When designing the online course, it is important to consider how the organization and navigation of the course will impact the student. Findability has a direct impact the student’s self-motivation and self-efficacy which both play a role in the success of the class."

Thomas Crouse

Fall 2019

“Now that I have completed the six units of reading, watched the videos, and read the discussions posts from my classmates, I am more confident that if I carefully define the SLOs for each unit, organize the material around the SLOs, monitor discussions frequently, give prompt meaningful feedback, and use Kaltura for personal videos, I can make sure that the content of the online course is meaningful. I also learned how to use icebreakers in an online class, which was very helpful.”

Sandra Kraus

Fall 2019

“The strategies that I learned about in iTeach mitigated all of the concerns that I had about teaching an online course. I have never taught an online course, nor have I taken an online course. Through my participation in this course, I was able to not only learn the strategies that I can incorporate in teaching online classes, I was able to see the strategies utilized, and their effectiveness in action, from the perspective of a student. This was a valuable experience that I will use moving forward when I am teaching my online courses.”

Sandra Kraus

Fall 2019

I learned specific guidelines for incorporating UDL principles in various stages of my courses. The important takeaway I learned from this course is the necessity of incorporating UDL through every stage and medium of course design. I will work to use the specific UDL strategies to design logically organized, easy to use, and accessible resources so my students can achieve the course outcomes

Sandra Kraus

Summer 2020

This course has provided a wonderful collection of tools and strategies, modeling the best practices of online pedagogy, and a challenging and supportive environment within which to grow and learn. The quality of instruction has truly been exceptional.”

Alison McCarthy

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:

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.

Sample Syllabus

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.

Register Now