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Teaching and Learning Online

Resources for Douglas College faculty as they move to online instruction.

Best practices

Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education 

(Chickering & Gamson, 1987)

Online Teaching Adaptations


1. Encourages student-faculty contact
  • hold online office hours
  • inform students when you will check email/online forums
  • introduce yourself to students and give them an opportunity to introduce themselves to the class to encourage community-building
  • send communications about deadlines, course topics, and other important information
  • inform students of supports in place to help them (Accessibility Services, Library, Learning Centre)
2. Encourages cooperation among students
  • use discussion forums; try staggering due dates for initial and response postings to allow for more meaningful discussions
  • assign group projects
  • put opportunities for student-student interaction within each module/topic/week
3. Encourages active learning
  • include authentic formative assessments so students can track their learning progress
  • include active learning activities like case studies, debates, group projects, presentations, problem solving, peer reviewing, and self-reflection
4. Gives prompt feedback
  • give students clear timelines for when marked work will be returned
  • use rubrics with clear assessment criteria
5. Emphasizes time on task
  • give clear deadlines for discussions, assignments, and other course work
  • send reminders to students of deadlines
  • give students guidelines for how much time each task should/could take
6. Communicates high expectations
  • communicate student learning outcomes that are specific, well-defined, and measurable
  • organize the course around the student learning outcomes in a logical manner (by topic/module/chapter/week)
  • provide students with sample assignments that meet rubric criteria
  • incorporate information literacy, communication, and academic integrity skills into the curriculum
7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning
  • use a variety of learning materials (videos, audio files, documents)
  • use Universal Design for Learning principles to ensure that accommodations are in place for students (captioning videos, tagging pictures, making sure documents can be read with screen readers, providing transcripts for audio files)
Adapted from Duquesne University's Online & Active Teaching Resources (University/College-Level): Best Practices,