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Govs Go Digital!

Whether you are moving a course online, creating a new course online, or temporarily transitioning online, Distance Education is here to support you.  Start here for step-by-step guidance to think your way through moving a course online and additional resources as you continue to improve your courses. 

Are you a student? Check out our student resources page!

 Getting Started Step-by-Step

Regardless of whether or not you have designed or taught an online class before, moving a face-to-face course to the online environment is a large task.  That being said, the Distance Education Instructional Design team would like to break this process down for you step-by-step with some basic tips and best practices. 

Check out this Taking Your Course Online Guide and use the steps below and resources on this page to get started.

The big hurdle in moving a course online is considering how your face-to-face activities would function in the digital world.  Use this F2F-Online Translation Table to guide you through the digital possibilities.  And remember, you do not have to use all the technology available to you.  Use what fits your subject and content best.  Using two to three technologies effectively is better than using many poorly.

Translating all your content at once can be a daunting task.  Use this Planning an Online Course template to help you think out that process by module/week.

You should also consider consulting with other faculty in your subject area that teach online.  Faculty champions are a great resources for translating something online that may be very specific to your discipline.  They have also been there before.  Ask them, "what do you wish you had known from the start?"  If you do not already know someone, consult with your department chair and/or dean.

Now that you know how you will translate your face-to-face content, take the time to learn about the digital environment and tools you will be using.  Preparation now can save you time and stress later on!

Distance Education's Tech Tools and Resources website has guides (videos, step sheets, and sometimes both) for all of our tools.  Resources like this are really great because they can support you 24/7 and you can learn all about the tool or search for a specific topic.

Distance Education offers webinars for the tools listed above.  Please check the webinars schedule.  If there is no upcoming webinar scheduled for a tool you are interested in, you can view a recording from the previous session. 

Now it is time to move and/or create your course content in the online classroom. Please refer to the D2L Brightspace resources for general information about adding course content to D2L.

Course Combines

If your D2L course shell is empty, you may consider course combines and course copies.  Course combines allow faculty to manage multiple sections of a course they are teaching all in one course shell.  For example, BIOL 1010-09 and BIOL 1010-12 could be combined into one place in D2L.  Course combines must be performed prior to content being added and students having access to the course.

Request a course combine (opens new window)

Course Copies

Course copies are performed to copy content from one D2L course shell to another.  This could be copying your own course content from term to term or copying course content between faculty.  In order for content to be copied from another faculty member, they need to provide their permission via email. 

Request a course copy (opens new window)

D2L Course Template

A general D2L course template can be imported into your D2L course shell so that you do not have to start from scratch!  The template includes a getting started module and module outlines.  The getting started module contains links to student resources and place holders for all necessary course information that needs to be included in an online course.  The module outlines are designed to help you create an organized course that is easily navigated by your students. 

The getting started module is also available separately from the whole D2L course template.  If you already have an online course or are using a course copy, you can still use the getting started module to ensure you are providing complete information to your students.

Contact Distance Education Support at online@apsu.edu to request the D2L course template or getting started module (stand alone).  You will need to provide the course information (example, BIOL 1010-09 Spring 2020).

Faculty Champions

As mentioned under Step 1: Planning Your Course, faculty champions are a great resource and now is another great time to consult with them.

Accessibility deals with making your content usable by your students and is especially important for students with disabilities.  For example, if you have text pages/files in your course, students should be able to use screen readers to hear the content.  If you have videos/audio in your course, students should have access to the captioning and/or transcripts so they can read the content.  This content diversity is beneficial to all your students and gives them choices in how they access the content.  Accessibility is more than just a good idea; it is part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (opens new window).

Here are some resources to help you with course accessibility:

Communicate with Students

If online is new for you, it might be new for your students too!  Make sure you share plenty of resources with them.

A great place to start is with the D2L course template or getting started module listed under Step 3: Course Creation.  These already contain resources for your students for student success, technology, library, and more.

Another great resource for students is the Distance Education Introduction to Online Courses Guide.  You can share a link with your students in your regular communications, include it in your course syllabus, and/or add a course link directly in D2L.

Finally, be very clear with students in your course syllabus, schedule, and announcements about expectations and behaviors for the online environment.

Here are examples you can use or use as a starting point when communicating with students:

Communicate with Us

Distance Education provides resources for you and we love to hear what else you may need!  Make sure you reach out to Distance Education Support with your needs, questions, concerns, etc.

Move the Needle with Continuous Improvement

Moving a course online from face-to-face is a lot of work and can feel overwhelming.  We subscribe to the perspective of continuous improvement.  Focus on actionable steps and keep your student's success and experience in mind to help drive your choices.  And remember, it does not have to be perfect (but it does have to be accessible)!  Your course will continue to get better and better as you work on it, learn more, and receive feedback from your students and peers.

Below is a list of additional resources you may consider when you are ready to move deeper into online course design and delivery.

  • Distance Education's Online Teaching Toolkit - this D2L course contains information on best practices in online teaching.  It also provides many resources for integrating a variety of instructional technology into your online courses.  To access this resource, self register for it in D2L.
  • Consider varying the type of assessments - review these resources for selecting, designing, and administering assessments in a remote learning environment.
  • Work more with faculty champions - if you do not already know someone in your subject area that is teaching online, consult with your department chair and/or dean.
  • WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) - WCET is nationally recognized as an informative, reliable and forward-thinking organization in the areas of technology and innovation in higher education.  WCET is focused on Institutional Success, Policy & Regulation, Student Success, and Technology.  Stay current with the latest trends in distance education by joining WCET News or wcetMIX (opens new window) to collaborate with other faculty, administrators, and higher education professionals from institutions across the nation.  For more information about WCET, please visit their website to learn more (opens new window) and establish your membership (opens new window).    
  • QM Workshops - APSU is a subscribing member of Quality Matters (QM) a leader in online course quality assurance.  They have a comprehensive rubric that can be used to improve online courses.  The Applying the QM Rubric online workshop will familiarize you with the rubric and teach you how to apply it to your own courses.  If you would like to complete this workshop, Distance Education will pay for it.  Simply email Distance Education at online@apsu.edu regarding your interest.
  • Online Learning Consortium (OLC) - Distance Education provides institutional access to the OLC.  They are a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Learn more about OLC membership benefits and how to activate your account (opens new window).
Bridge to Quality: A QM Online Course Design Guide

The Bridge to Quality Guide, like QM's Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist, provides a phased approach to help you engage with course design as a thoughtful, student-focused process. You can use the web-based guide to complete the hands-on, iterative work that is central to creating a quality course.

Access the guide now! (opens new window)
QM Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist

QM has provided this checklist as a guide to moving your face-to-face course to an online environment.  It is a comprehensive list of steps instructors can and take when moving online.


Get it now!