Preparing to Teach Online

professor showing a course on their laptop 

Dr. Jill Flanders-Crosby discussing online materials from her long-running oral history and archiving project.

Online and hybrid courses are more effective when designed with the delivery mode in mind. These UAA-focused guides can help you start planning your online or hybrid course to maximize student learning and engagement while maintaining a reasonable workload:


Instructional Strategies for Teaching Online

Getting Started

Blackboard is UAA’s primary online space for courses. If you haven’t activated your Blackboard shell yet, watch the Get Your Course Up and Running webinar (video, 20:10) or the Blackboard 101 Playlist (5 videos, 17:00). The videos go over Discussion Boards, Wikis/Blogs, Grade Center, and Alt Text. For more about Blackboard tools, visit our Blackboard Instructor Help page.

eWolf is UAA's ePortfolio tool. Instructional content may be embedded within various portfolio sections/pages serving as prompts for students to respond to via text, images, audio, etc. eWolf help: New Folio 411 or Digication Help Desk. You can reach out to our ePortfolio Initiative Coordinator at 907-786-6035 or at

If this is your first time teaching online, keep it simple. For more on transitioning to alternate course delivery, watch CAFE’s Keep Teaching webinar (video, 44:42).

UAA faculty have a lot of tools available to them. The trick is to find the best tools to help students achieve the learning objectives. To assist faculty with the challenging task of selecting technology tools, you can use the Tools Comparison sheet for video creation tools, accessibility tools, engagement tools, web conferencing tools, and more.

Delivery Modes

Look up your course in the student-facing Class Schedule Search to check the delivery mode for your course. Online courses can be:

In Person and Online: Combination of face to face and required online instruction; all students participate in both. This is sometimes described as a hybrid or blended course

In Person or Online: Students have the option to participate in class sessions face to face or online. You should prepare to teach in both delivery modes simultaneously. This delivery mode is also sometimes described as hybrid or blended, so make sure you know which mode applies if your department uses those terms

Online - No Set Time: Instruction occurs completely online with no mandatory set meeting time. This is also known as asynchronous. Please review the expectations and requirements for Regular and Substantive Interaction in these courses

Online - Set Time: Instruction occurs completely online at a mandatory set time 

If the Class Schedule lists meeting times, you are expected to hold class at those times. If your course is listed as Online - No Set Time, you cannot require students to attend class meetings. When designing an online course, budget 40-50 hours of time for each credit. The Rice/Wake Forest Course Workload Estimator can help you evaluate the course time for asynchronous work. The UAA Catalog has more information on expectations for contact hours.

Finding Materials

Textbook adoptions are due the semester before the course is taught so students can see costs when they register. Please check UAA’s online bookstore (via Akademos) for information on this process. If you teach for a community campus, work with your campus bookstore. Our Course Materials page has more information and resources.

Presentations for Online Delivery

Record short videos for students using Kaltura or Screencast-o-Matic. Our Creating Videos page explains your options and gives detailed directions. For more, review the Recording and Sharing Video Content recorded webinar (video, 22:28). Remember to submit your videos for captioning through AI&e using this form: Request Professional Captioning for Your Video.

Real-time Class Sessions 

Web Conferencing tools such as Zoom allow real-time meetings with students online. Our Web Conferencing page provides guidance and instruction for setup, security, and more. Set up class meetings and office hours inside your Blackboard courses and use sparingly if any of your students have low bandwidth issues. Review this Zoom Faculty Guide and Playlist on Setting Up and Using Zoom to Teach (5 videos, 41:60).

Student Needs

Our Accessibility Trail Guide walks you through the requirements and resources to make your courses accessible to all learners. The KPC Faculty Accessibility Guide is based on the internationally accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. (Navigate through the pages using the side-bar menu to learn how to make online content accessible to diverse learners.) Our Accessibility Overview page gives more information on this critical topic. Learn how to make digital course content accessible so that all learners have equal access to content at the same time on our Accessibility Tools page. 

Accurate captions are required for all videos. AI&e is currently offering 3Play captioning service free for UAA faculty. Submit your videos for professional captioning: Request Professional Captioning for Your Video.

To review ways to support and accommodate student learning during this challenging time, watch Academic Accommodations in On-Line Teaching and Learning Environments recorded webinar (video, 24:06). 

Disability Support Services will also work with students with documented disabilities to offer appropriate accommodations that help ensure each student is the most successful they can be.

Communication with Students

Establish a schedule for regular communication using one of the tools UAA provides. Learn more about communication tools available at UAA.

Review the Staying in Touch with Students Resource Guide and Getting and Staying in Touch with Students webinar (video, 13:58) for communication strategies.

Student Engagement

There are a variety of ways to provide opportunities for students to engage with the content, with you, and with each other. Check out some of the UAA faculty ideas in Engaging Students in Your Asynchronous Online Course. Our Peer Interaction page explains several technology options to make your courses more interactive. 

Review the Communicate using Blackboard and VoiceThread webinar (video, 21:55) for tips on asynchronous class discussions and student engagement.

Adapting Assessments

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you are adapting a face-to-face course, please review your assessments to decide what’s essential for measuring whether learning outcomes are met and what works better in a different format. Our Track Learning Trail Guide walks you through the principles and design choices behind creating effective, meaningful student assessments. Visit our Assessment page for more resources.

Blackboard includes several tools for assessment. Remote Proctor Now (RPNow) by PSI is an online remote proctoring service, which UAA contracts to offer students a way to take online proctored exams at home with the proper equipment. Learn more about RPNow on our Testing Resources page. 


Further Resources


Faculty Development & Instructional Support 
Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, Academic Innovations & eLearning, and Center for Community Engagement and Learning 
Library 213 • 907-786-4496  Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.