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Teaching Online

Teaching Online

Online Course Manual and Other Information

Online Course Manual

Online Course Information for Students –  from the Registrar’s Office

Technology and Training Resources

Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) at Ramapo College, and can be used for online, hybrid, or face-to-face courses. Visit the Canvas page for information, training and resources to get started with Canvas.

Canvas Login

Discover other Instructional Technologies available at Ramapo.

Recorded Workshops – explore all of the IDC recorded workshops including:

LinkedIn Learning (formerly online training courses:

Faculty Resource Center – join the Online Teaching Circle on campus in the FRC to explore the pedagogy of teaching online.

Accessibility Resources – ensure your course is accessible.

Best Practices

The Task Force for Online Learning research review highlighted a number of best practices for online and hybrid courses. These best practices are summarized below.

  • The online or hybrid course content must be driven by the identical learning outcomes that drive the on-site course.
  • The online or hybrid course content must be equal in content and challenge to the on-site course.
  • Although class session time is not a factor in an online course, class participation is still important.
  • A hybrid course must have clear goals, outcomes, and activities for both the on-site and online sessions.
  • Online “attendance” is determined by looking at both the quantity and quality of learner participation.
  • Deadlines and guidelines play a crucial structuring role in an otherwise open time frame for online and hybrid courses
  • It is crucial for online instructors to actively connect and engage with their students through video-based introductions to assignments; multimedia “lectures”’ and ongoing, comprehensive, and rapid feedback.
  • Online instructors should be available for students through online office hours; any questions or concerns from students should be addressed within 24 hours on weekdays and as soon as possible on weekends.
  • The structure and organization of an online or hybrid course is very important. The course should feature a logical structure, clear assignments, and delineated requirements and expectations delivered through a learning management system (Canvas).
  • Students in online and hybrid courses should have opportunities to communicate and collaborate with each other through forums, blogs, wikis, and other platforms.
  • Any required synchronous sessions in an online course should include a make-up assignment for students who are unable to attend. Alternate assignments for synchronous work should be the exception. Students should be committed to attend synchronous sessions, unless an emergency occurs. Dates for synchronous sessions should be posted prior to or early in the semester. These meetings should also be recorded and posted to the course page so that they can be viewed at a later time.

Using Announcements to Give Narrative Shape to your Online Course, June 1, 2020

Adding a Live Online Class to Your Course, February 24, 2020

A Discussion About Online Discussion, February 3, 2020

Organic Online Discussions: Saving Time and Increasing Engagement, January 27, 2020

Building a Community of Learners in Online Classes, October 2, 2019
(Note: Ramapo offers TechSmith Relay for recording videos and Webex & Adobe Connect for Web conferences)

Supporting Underprepared Students in the Online Classroom, September 25, 2019

10 Tips for Effective Online Discussions, November 21, 2018

Ideas for Creating an Effective Syllabus for Online Learning, June 4, 2018

Online Students Don’t Have to Work Solo, April 25, 2018

Using Your Instructor Bio to Humanize Course, Reduce Student Anxiety, April 20, 2018

What Online Teachers Have Learned from Teaching Online, April 11, 2018

Using A Course Startup Message to Improve Student Outcomes, April 9, 2018

Strategies for Creating a Successful Online Classroom, April 6, 2018

How to Deepen Online Dialogue, January 26, 2018

Helping Graduate Students Join an Online Learning Community, May 22, 2017

What Research Tells Us About Online Discussion, March 17, 2017

Reduce Online Course Anxiety with a Check-In Quiz, March 10, 2017

Instructor Presence: How to Keep from Going MIA in Your Online Course, February 3, 2017

Five Ways to Make Your Online Course More Interactive, December 12, 2016

More articles:

Faculty Focus, Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications on Teaching Online


How is online teaching different from traditional face-to-face teaching?

Online instruction represents a different mode of delivery for course content, assignments, and support. In an online class, the instructor will post assignments, resources, and even exams via Canvas, the learning management systems (LMS) at Ramapo College. The students upload their work to the LMS for the instructor to grade and provide feedback. The online course should also feature opportunities for students to communicate and collaborate through forums, chats, whiteboards, and other online tools. Students in an online course need to be very organized and self-motivated because there are no scheduled class meetings. This is one of the reasons why instructor-student communication is very important; students need to understand the goals and expectations of the course. This communication can occur asynchronously via email or synchronously via Webex Meetings.

What is the procedure if I want to teach an online course?

Consult with the convener of your program, as well as the dean of your school, to discuss how the online course you want to teach fits with the overall goals and mission of your program. All online courses are approved at the program and unit levels by conveners and deans.

What resources are available for me if I want to teach an online course?

The Provost’s Office has been offering a stipend in the past to convert an existing course to online format for summer session. Look for the email announcement from the Provost to apply, or contact the Provost’s Office for more information.

How can I gain insight into the pedagogy of teaching online?

Join the Faculty Resource Center’s Online Teaching Circle to learn with your colleagues. The teaching circle is a small group that meets regularly throughout the semester to read and discuss topics relating to online teaching and learning.

How can I learn about available technology and get assistance developing an online course?

Visit the “Technology and Training Resources” section on this page for a variety of resources to get started now. Take advantage of workshops offered by the Instructional Design Center throughout the spring and fall semester. Attend Faculty Development Day, co-sponsored by the IDC and FRC, each spring and fall. Explore available instructional technology at Ramapo, and Technology Guides for Teaching and LearningContact the staff in the Instructional Design Center for more information, or drop by the IDC for one-on-one assistance.

How long will it take to develop an online course?

Start as early as possible. It takes longer than you may anticipate when developing an online course the first time. Modifying or updating an online course will not take as long when you teach it in the future.

What is a Learning Management System?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform used to deliver online courses. We use Canvas as our LMS. The LMS allows you to post course resources, create learning activities, setup assignments, manage group work, setup a grade book, communicate with your students, and more. Canvas can be used for online, hybrid and traditional face-to-face courses.

Are my upcoming courses automatically available in the LMS, or do I have to submit a request?

All course sections for all instructors are created in Canvas automatically through Banner, and are managed by the LMS Administrator. They are generally available midway through the previous semester, so you have time to begin course development. A notification will be sent to let you know exactly when they are available.

Are my past courses always available in Canvas?

Yes. Go to Courses and select All Courses to see them all.

How do I copy my course content from a previous semester into the upcoming semester?

Copying course content from semester to semester is easy in Canvas. Instructions for importing course content can be found on the Canvas page, or contact the IDC for assistance.

When will registered students get access to my courses?

Students should have access to your Canvas course about two weeks before the start of the semester. The instructor needs to  “publish” each course in Canvas in order for students to have access to the course content. The course will no longer be accessible by students after the course end date.

How should I communicate with registered students before my online course begins?

When students register for an online course they receive an email from the registrar stating that the course instructor will reach out with requirements and information about the course. This is very important to do, so the expectations and requirements are clear. Send an email introduction to students as early as possible, but be aware students may register up to the add/drop deadline.

What happens if a student seems to be struggling with, or failing an online course?

Use Connect to flag the student so that there is a record of the students performance, as well as acknowledgement to the student and their advisor about their performance. The link to Connect can be found on the Canvas dashboard.