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10 research-based principles paint a picture of what good online teaching looks like

By Shannon Riggs
Executive director, Academic programs and learning innovation
Oregon State University Ecampus


Over the years, Oregon State Ecampus has built up a robust system of support for online course development that includes a six-week training workshop for faculty, instructional design services and multimedia development. It is also guided by the Quality Matters research-based course design standards.

All of that support in the development phase of the course set faculty up for success, but we felt that our support should extend further and be more robust when it comes to all that follows the course design phase — when students are enrolled and Oregon State faculty are actually teaching their newly designed courses.

As an institution that’s been delivering online courses since the mid-1990s, we knew that we needed to serve faculty new to online education, but we also needed to engage more experienced faculty. We use the QM Rubric to paint a picture of what good online course design looks like, but we realized we needed a tool that would help us paint a picture of what good online teaching looks like.

So, the Oregon State Ecampus course development and training team set to work in developing Online Teaching Principles, a resource that would help paint a picture of what good online teaching looks like. It was critical that these principles be evidence-based and that we be able to point faculty to a few key resources for further reading and exploration.

Finally, and very importantly, the Online Teaching Principles needed to be “road-tested” by experienced faculty who teach online to help promote buy-in. Before the public release, we partnered with faculty in the School of Psychological Sciences, who provided feedback on the principles themselves (namely, how to clarify them) and how they could be used to plan for online teaching. Faculty in the Faculty Senate Online Education Committee provided comments used for final revisions.

In working with faculty, we’ve already seen the Online Teaching Principles make a difference in preparing new faculty to be effective online instructors and helping continuing faculty to improve their online teaching practices. Our principles are not a one-time checklist, but a framework for thinking further about and continually refining online teaching approaches and choices.

And, they are available under a Creative Commons license, free for all to use.

Read the Online Teaching Principles

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