Using the E-Learning Best Practices: A Guide for Faculty to develop a quality online course


Anne de la Chapelle



Welcome to my mini course for new online instructors. The purpose of this course is to help participants to identify and remove unnecessary obstacles to students online learning successes.

Online learning is becoming more popular every year. Statistics show that enrollment in distance learning course is up dramatically over the past 10 years. (Kin, K.J, & Bonk, C., 2006) More students and faculty are seeing the benefits of working from home now that high speed Internet is widely available and more colleges are offering everything from online workshops to online courses to entire degrees available fully online!

What's not to love, right? Well, first we all need to understand a couple of fundamental truths about online teaching and learning. Ready? First, it is not easy. Yes, you heard correctly, it is not the silly piece of cake credit give away that some have imagined. Online learning require a high degree of self discipline, the ability to read and reflect on one's own, and a commitment to oneself to stay focused and on track. This applies to both instructors and students. Second, not all online courses are developed equally. Just as there are horrible cranky offensive old foggie professors in the classrooms on every campus, who can't teach for a darn, it can happen in the online world as well. Sometimes the instruction isn't really the problem, but the course design or lack of resources masks any opportunities for learning the content, however great it is.

This is because the virtual world requires an additional layer of expertise to successfully develop and deliver a seamless online product. This is a skill that must be learned and a commitment must be made by the online instructor to do it correctly and do it well, or else the student will suffer immeasurably. This is why we are here- to begin to work toward solid, quality online delivery of instructional materials. It all begins with a holistic mindset that never leaves the student out of the decision making progress, even before the course goes live. Ready?

In this mini course participants will research appropriate services and resources for online students at their campuses and learn to integrate this key information into their online course.We will use the E-Learning Best Practices Guidelines developed at York State College as our guide. Participants will self assess based on the best practices. This is a self paced mini course which can be used by new online instructors after completion of a comprehensive course management training or by current online instructors as a form of review and self assessment. Participants will be encouraged to attend a workshop on campus one month after receiving access to this course in order to facilitate the actual integration of the resources identified in this mini course into their online course. This includes specific library resources that they have identified as being supportive of the instructional objectives and activities. Librarians will focus on helping faculty to locate good scholarly materials as well as discussing additional resources such as course related instruction for the online courses and subject or topic specific web page development.

To read more about the growth of online learning:

Learning Curve: UT Distance Education Sees Huge Growth in Past Decade

The Future of Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: The Survey Says…

Learning Modules

Unit 1: Best Practices Guidelines for Resources and Services

In this unit participants will be able to:

  • determine the needs of distance students when trying to begin a course of study
  • document the resources and services necessary to complete the normal tasks of preparing for the start of a class
  • use the E-Learning Best Practices Guidelines to map inclusion of student services and resources into their online courses.

Unit 2: Discovering appropriate resources and services

In this unit participants will be able to:

  • identify offices and contact info for students
  • identify library resources necessary to the course
  • create a document to assemble this information for students

Unit 3: Integrating Resources and Services

In this unit participants will be able to:

  • assess how to integrate library resources and services into courses
  • identify technical support and tutoring support for students
  • assess best methods to integrate support services into online course

Anne de la Chapelle's Portfolio Page

Anne de la Chapelle