Welcome to ACUE’s Online Teaching Toolkit

To support instructors needing to make a quick transition to utilizing an online environment, we’re offering resources and recommendations that can be immediately put to use by instructors, to benefit both faculty and their students.

These resources are divided into six key topic areas for teaching remotely:

In the discussion forum below, we invite you to submit questions about these resources or share instructional challenges you may be facing.

Welcome Students

Recommendation 1. Create a welcome video.

Create a welcome message designed to calm student fears and let them know that you are “in this together” and ready to fully support their continued learning.


Recommendation 2. Create Q&A and social forums.

Create a question-and-answer forum in which students can post general questions about the course and assignments. If you think it would be helpful, you can also create a social forum for students to connect with one another. Monitor the Q&A forum to ensure that correct information is being shared and to address any unanswered questions (Darby & Lang, 2019, p. 29).


Recommendation 3. Create an online orientation video.

Create a video that takes your students on a tour of your course in the online environment. Try to include the following on your tour: (a) how to prepare for online learning, (b) directions for navigating the course, and (c) weekly communication expectations.


Manage Your Online Presence

Recommendation. Establish clear expectations for your teaching presence.

One of the most important aspects—if not the most important aspect—of any student’s learning is you, the instructor. Students look for you to be involved in discussions, respond to questions, provide feedback and encouragement, and reach out when you notice they may need additional assistance. This does not mean that you need to be online 24/7. Establishing expectations and routines around your online time can help students feel more supported and engaged in your course.


Organize Your Course

Recommendation 1. Organize your course content from a student’s point of view.

Online students can become confused, frustrated, or disengaged if they find it challenging to simply navigate a course learning environment. Try to make the organization of your course as clear and intuitive as possible, ensuring students have more time and cognitive resources to engage with course content and activities (Darby, 2019).


Recommendation 2. Provide a module roadmap.

Learning modules, or units of study, are the building blocks of an online course. Ensuring consistency in module design helps students more quickly understand your expectations and plan their work time more effectively.


Recommendation 3. Create a predictable rhythm.

Establishing a weekly pace for your online modules, or units of study, helps students manage their time to meet course expectations. A standard rhythm often reduces stress, because the structure answers questions such as “What’s next?” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2016).


Plan and Facilitate Effective Discussions

Recommendation 1. Provide a rubric.

To help students get the most out of discussions, set clear expectations for their participation. Providing students with discussion forum grading rubrics helps them understand, and therefore better meet, your expectations for thoughtful participation.


Recommendation 2. Assign a reflection activity.

Assign a self-reflection activity, aligned to your discussion forum rubrics, to help students evaluate their participation in an online discussion.


Recommendation 3. Provide strategic feedback.

The type and amount of feedback you provide at key points in a discussion should be strategic, to ensure quality discussions are taking place (Boettcher & Conrad, 2016, p. 167).


Record Effective Microlectures

Recommendation. Create a microlecture video.

Microlectures are short (6 minutes or less), instructor-produced videos that are designed using a structured format to provide effective explanations of a single key concept or specific skill set. Use this format to help maintain student attention and allow students to reengage with the content when and if needed.


Engage Students in Readings and Microlectures

Recommendation 1. Create engaging assignments with accountability.

There are a variety of ways to keep students engaged in the content and help them focus their attention on what is most important.  We can also use a variety of practices to assess how well they are learning and making key connections. Try a few of these out to find the process or set of processes that work best for you and your students.


Recommendation 2. Provide skeletal outlines.

Provide students with a skeletal outline to support their learning and help them track the concepts and issues of highest importance.


Special thanks to our incredibly talented and gracious contributors:


  • Thank you for these well organized and easy to use resources!

    Patty Kohler 13.03.2020
    • Thanks very much!

      Gail Super 15.03.2020
  • Thank you so much for releasing these quick lessons to help us all transition to a “new normal.”

    Bonnie 13.03.2020
  • These are amazing and so quickly assembled. Thank you for organizing these tips for use.

    Kathy Jackson 13.03.2020
  • Excellent and practical advice with examples of how to accomplish each topic! Adding self videos was new to me this year in Canvas and I appreciate the ideas generated from this video clip section. Having to suddenly switch from “face to face” to all online for my courses is an exciting, new adventure. After reviewing this information, I see how some of my current inclass coursework and instruction has to be adjusted. With the help of this information, I am anxious to make appropriate revisions and share with my students. Thanks!

    Susan Saint John 13.03.2020
  • As a facilitator of an ACUE cohort, I get to see these valuable resources in all of your modules. Kudos to ACUE for creating and sharing these timely resources to support all faculty teaching remotely during the COVID 19 crisis. Thank you!

    Jodi Robson 13.03.2020
  • Thanks for making this available to all faculty, not just those in the program. It’s a brave new world for many new to online learning and the guidance is appreciated!

    Deborah 13.03.2020
  • Please note that the following URL does not work. https://www.apple.com/au/support/imovie/tutorial/

    Michael B. Wood 13.03.2020
  • Thanks for sharing these materials! Looking forward to taking your Teaching Online module in June!

    Bahiyyih Hardacre 14.03.2020
  • I work for a University in Pakistan that encourages faculty to use virtual learning environments for teaching and learning purposes. Due to the worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, all academic institutions in the country are closed.

    We would like to immediately equip all our faculty with the necessary skills and knowledge to start teaching online synchronously and asynchronously in these hard times. For this purpose, I would like to request and seek your permission to reuse and adapt online resources https://acue.org/online-teaching-toolkit/ available on your website. I found this resource extremely useful.

    Time is an important factor for us because face to face classes are all stopped and we have to shift programs/courses online.

    I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate you for developing this resource for larger community.

    Much appreciated.

    Khurram 14.03.2020
    • Hi Khurram,

      Please feel free to distribute these resources to anyone you think may find them useful. Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do to be helpful. These are certainly challenging times!


      ACUE 15.03.2020
      • Hello,

        Would permission to link to this resource extend to a government agency? I work for Montana’s Office of Public Instruction and we are creating a course for all eductors to transition online and we’d like to link to this resource. Thank you!

        Carli Cockrell 16.03.2020
        • Hi Carli, absolutely. Technically these resources are licensed as all rights reserved by ACUE, but we intend to treat them more along the lines of Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0). Consider this note as permission for you to link to or utilize these resources as needed for Montana’s Office of Public Instruction. Good luck.

          bradfelix 16.03.2020
  • Beautiful!!!!!–organized, practical, and professional!!!!!

    Ludwika Goodson 14.03.2020
  • This is very helpful. I am a big Michael fan anyway since his work with Visual Syllabi. His Tedx is great as well.

  • Thank you so much for sharing! Everything is outstanding and enormously helpful and organized. Your contribution with assisting us is appreciated beyond any words of gratitude. Humbled and grateful to experience this assistance from all of you!

    Elaine 14.03.2020
  • Thank you so much for producing this. You are helping many of us transition to remote teaching during a stressful time. Love the short microlectures–I will be sure to implement them! Please keep it coming. ( ;

    Nicol Epple 14.03.2020
  • Well done. Extremely help ideas on spicing up the remote teaching approach.

    David Porter 15.03.2020
  • These are tremendous resources. I would like to request captioning on your videos. Any chance you can “turn-on” this option from your end?

    Amy Malm 15.03.2020
    • Hi Amy,
      Thank you for the request. We are currently. working on it!

      ACUE 16.03.2020
    • Hi Amy,

      The captioning has been added to the videos. Thanks for your note!

      ACUE 16.03.2020
  • ACUE, you are wonderful. Thank you for reaching out to faculty and students during this critical time. Your resources and your kindness are greatly appreciated. On behalf of my students and myself, we thank you.

    Sheila Bridges-Bond 16.03.2020
  • Thank you very much for sharing. It was very easy to follow.

    Doris E Sanchez 17.03.2020
  • Thank you for making this great resource available, ACUE. My tech-savvy alter ego and I agree that it’s helpful to reluctant and skilled online teachers alike 🙂

    Lit Phudd 17.03.2020
  • Thank you, outstanding resources. I am especially appreciative of the rubrics.

    Simon Tanner 17.03.2020
  • Thank you for your ideas of “Micro-lecturing”, “Skeletal Outlines” and “Creating a Rubric”. I’ve never had to teach online before and I totally welcome this adventure.

    Valerie Butler-Harris 18.03.2020
  • Extremely helpful advice, efficiently delivered.

    Leo 19.03.2020
  • These are amazing tips that I can use, thank you!

    Monica 19.03.2020
  • i would like to thank you for the guide
    as it is for every one it is the only way to communicate with the students
    i can send a comments after use the guide and the response from our students
    it is a challenge for all of us

    samia 20.03.2020
  • Thank you for sharing this well organized tips on online teaching.

    salam 20.03.2020
  • This is Awesome! very timely! Thank you so much for providing this resource especially in this current climate of COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to ask for permision to print/ share with other faculty

    Ngozi 20.03.2020
    • Hi Ngozi, absolutely. Technically these resources are licensed as all rights reserved by ACUE, but we intend to treat them more along the lines of Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0). Consider this note as permission for you to link to or utilize these resources as needed your faculty. Good luck.

      ACUE 20.03.2020
  • Could ACUE please post the latest link to the free version of DaVinci Resolve? There seem to be a lot of potential URLs out there. A little concerned about choosing one that is not legit and infecting my computer.

    Marlene 20.03.2020
  • Thank you very much for your support. I teach nursing courses. I quickly learned some techniques for online discussions that students can post. However, I still am looking into discussions and asking questions during the lecture portion of the course and how can I engage the students instead of me just talking? I will use Kahoot at the beginning and end of the lecture. I can use a case study instead of lecturing on that topic. Clinical is a challenge but we assigned case studies, care mapping, care plans, and the use of ATI which is a platform for students to engage in self-learning. We will meet online to discuss all of these. I feel I am overloading students with work and adding to their stress. We must account for hours of instruction for clinical which is straining on the students. Any comments would be appreciated.

    JoAnne Diamantidis 23.03.2020
  • Thank you so much for these resources! Such a quick response to the current situation and well-curated materials! I really appreciate the quality and professionalism!

    Kathleen 26.03.2020
  • Thank you so very much for sharing your expertise with us! I feel more relaxed and confident going into this online journey with my first-year freshmen students.

    Kim F. Smith 26.03.2020
  • Wonderful resources supporting the end-user experience. May I request to share the link to your resources with teachers?

    Jaime Orozco 30.03.2020
    • Hi Jaime, absolutely. Technically these resources are licensed as all rights reserved by ACUE, but we intend to treat them more along the lines of Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0). Consider this note as permission for you to link to or utilize these resources as needed your faculty. Good luck.

      ACUE 30.03.2020

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