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Overview of Online Teaching

What is online learning? Let's first consider how an online course is defined. For example, the Online Learning Consortium, a leading organization committed to quality education online, has formalized the definition for an online course as being a course where 80% or more of the content is delivered online, typlically with no face-to-face meetings. Other variations of "online' may include blended or hybrid course that blend online and face-to-face delivery, as well as web-facilitated courses that use web-based technology such as a learning management system (LMS) to facilitate the course. 

Online courses are also referred to as "distance education course." The Higher Learning Commission refers to online courses as "distance education courses" and differentiates them from "correspondence educations courses" which are self-paced. The Commission defines a distance education course as one in which 75% or more of the instruction is offered by distance education. The Commission therefore defines distance education courses as being instructor-ped, drawing the distinction between self-paced correspondence courses. 

What is the role of an online teacher? Online teaching and learning research has identified new roles and skills relevant to online teaching. While many parallels to traditional face-to-face instruction exist, teaching in an online environment does involve different skills than those commonly required in the traditional classroom instructional settings. There is a broad range of categories, but many have identified online teaching skills to include: evaluation, social facilitation, content creation, and technology coordination, among many others. The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center can help you hone and develop these skills as you prepare to teach online.  

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Faculty Development and
Instructional Design Center

Adams Hall, Room 319
815-753-0595
facdev@niu.edu

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