Distance Learning | School of Professional Studies | Northwestern University

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Workshops

Learn to develop and teach online courses.

Faculty who teach online with SPS participate in two workshops: one at the beginning of the course development process, and one at the end. These workshops prepare online faculty for both course development and for teaching online.

The Distance Learning Team offers a three-week online workshop to prepare faculty developers for the work they will do with the development team to create their online courses. The workshop is facilitated by a three member team that includes a Learning Designer, Instructional Technologist, and Senior Content Specialist.

Faculty who are new to teaching online with SPS or who haven’t taken the workshop previously are required to complete it.

What are the Learning Objectives for this workshop?

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Address concerns about online teaching and learning.
  • Identify important legal and ethical considerations involved in teaching online.
  • Create measurable course goals.
  • Illustrate or demonstrate alignment using course goals and assessments from your course.
  • Describe the course design process.   
  • Articulate the importance of quality standards and Universal Design principles in online courses.  

How is the workshop structured?

The workshop lasts two weeks, with an additional week allowed for introductions to distance learning team members and questions about the development process. Weeks begin on Sunday at 12 am and end on Saturday at 11:59 pm.

Module 1

This module is designed to engage participants thinking and articulation about what it truly means to teach online. The module will introduce legal and ethical considerations for teaching online, including Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. Content will familiarize students with the principles and best practices for writing measurable learning outcomes (and how to appropriately sequence them.) They will draft course-level learning objectives and receive feedback.

Module 2

In this module, we will elaborate on that discussion by examining how to use Quality Matters Standards in the course design process as well as key elements of our course syllabus and course blueprint. Students will then draft a module of a course blueprint, including objectives, resources, and assessments, and receive feedback.

Module 3

During module 3, students will identify the essential elements for your course syllabus. They will learn what the Milestones are for the course development schedule and what is required of faculty developers by reviewing the course development checklist. Students will submit a revised draft of their blueprint and get additional feedback, as well as complete a quiz on UDL and the course development process. Lastly, faculty will be introduced to the development team for a smooth transition from the workshop directly into the development process itself.

How do I participate in the Course Design Workshop?

All faculty who are new to designing a course with SPS, or faculty who have not participated in the workshop for over a year, are required to particpate in the workshop before beginning the course design process. Other faculty who are intersted in participating can contact SPS Distance Learning at distanceeducation@northwestern.edu.

The Distance Learning Team offers a four-week online workshop to prepare new faculty and teaching assistants prior to the first time they teach online at Northwestern. The workshop is facilitated by a learning designer and instructional technologist each quarter.  While the workshop is mandatory for new faculty and teaching assistants, it is free and available to all faculty and teaching assistants who would like to refresh their skills.

What are the Learning Objectives for this workshop?

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Use Canvas and Blue Jeans to facilitate student engagement and learning in your course.
  • Apply SPS philosophy, policy, and procedures to create high-quality learning experiences for students.
  • Experience the student perspective of an online course at SPS.
  • Share knowledge of best practices, tools, and techniques with the SPS new faculty community.     

How is the workshop structured?

The workshop lasts four weeks, and participants can expect to spend 1-2 hours per week participating in discussions, completing assignments, and reviewing course resources. This workshop is heavily discussion-based and participating in the discussions early and often throughout each week is key to success.

Week 1 - Getting Comfortable with Technology

In the first week of the workshop, participants will be introduced to the major systems they’ll work with teaching when online at Northwestern: Canvas and Blue Jeans. They’ll also consider how to handle students that may be struggling with technology at the course outset.

Week 2 - SPS Policies and Procedures

In the second week, participants will familiarize themselves with the policies included in the SPS Faculty Handbook. They’ll discuss how to communicate relevant policy and course expectation information with their students and escalation procedures for student issues.

Week 3 - Facilitating Engagement

The third week of the course will focus on student engagement in asynchronous discussion. Participants will learn techniques to keep their students active throughout the course. In this week, participants will use Yellowdig, the first of two integrated technology applications in the course, and begin to familiarize themselves with the SPS High Impact Practices for Online Instruction guide.

Week 4 -  Providing Feedback to Students

The fourth week of the course will cover techniques for providing feedback to students. Participants will use Nebula, a discussion visualization app developed at Northwestern, and continue to work with the High Impact Practices for Online Instruction guide.

How do I participate in the Faculty Training?

All faculty who are new to teaching an online course with SPS, or faculty who have not participated in the workshop for over a year, are required to particpate in the workshop before the quarter in which they are teaching begins. Other faculty who are intersted in participating can contact SPS Distance Learning at distanceeducation@northwestern.edu.