Effective Online Teaching Checklist

Use this checklist as a model for developing an online course or as a tool for evaluating an existing online course. 

The checklist was developed by the Saddleback College Distance Education Committee Self-Evaluation Task Force and modeled after the Rubric for Online Instruction developed by CSU, Chico, and the Instructional Design Tips for Online Learning developed by CSU, Humboldt.

Category 1 - Learner Support and Resources

A. Information about being an online learner

box.jpg Tips for being a successful online student

box.jpg Quiz to self-assess readiness to be an online student

box.jpg Link to library resources (/library/)

box.jpg Link to campus learning resource center (www.saddleback.edu/tutoring)

box.jpg Link to DSPS office (/dsps/)

box.jpg Contact information for student technical support (/de/student-technical- support/)

box.jpg FAQs for Blackboard

box.jpg Netiquette guidelines (such as http://online.uwc.edu/technology/etiquette)

B. Course orientation resources

box.jpg Orientation document or video

box.jpg Course organization is described

box.jpg Contact information for academic department or advisor

box.jpg Link(s) to bookstore(s) to order textbooks or other instructional materials

box.jpg Estimated amount of time needed for completing course requirements

box.jpg Minimum computer hardware and software requirements specific to the course

box.jpg Tutorial(s) for how to use the Blackboard tools (/de/student-technical-support/)

box.jpg Link to off-site testing center if needed

box.jpg Link to faculty and/or department web page

C. Resources supporting course content

box.jpg Link(s) to websites with supporting information relevant to course content

box.jpg Link(s) to websites of organizations or associations related to course content

box.jpg Glossary of terms or links to definitions of new vocabulary

box.jpg Link(s) to learning objects (external to course, such as MERLOT)

box.jpg Link to library resources for research assignments (/library/)

box.jpg Link to LRC tutoring resources (/tutoring)

Category 2 - Online Organization and Design

A. Course navigability and organization

box.jpg Course content is organized in a logical format

box.jpg Syllabus and course schedule are easily located from main menu

box.jpg Links to other parts of the course and external sources are accurate and up-to-date

box.jpg Instructional materials required are clearly identified and easily located

box.jpg Numbers identify sequenced steps; bullets list items are not prioritized or sequential

box.jpg Topics are clearly identified and subtopics are related to topics

box.jpg Due dates for weekly tasks are clearly identifed

box.jpg Course materials are available in a printer-friendly format for student convenience

box.jpg Resources are separated into "required" and "optional" categories

box.jpg Objectives and outcomes are made available in a variety of areas in course (e.g., within syllabus and each individual learning unit)

B. Syllabus includes

box.jpg Course description

box.jpg Student learning outcomes

box.jpg Course completion requirements

box.jpg Textbook information

box.jpg Expectations of students’ participation, honesty, etc.

box.jpg Timeline for student participation is clear

box.jpg Faculty member(s) introductory information

box.jpg Expectations of availability of and turnaround time for contact with instructor

box.jpg Entire course schedule

box.jpg Course policies, including grading, late work, etc.

C. Aesthetic design

box.jpg Typeface is easy to read

box.jpg Sufficient contrast between text and background makes information easy to read

box.jpg Appropriate images supporting course content add visual interest

box.jpg Design keeps course pages to a comfortable length with white space

D. Consistency in course

box.jpg Layout of course is visually and functionally consistent

box.jpg Navigability is clear, simple and user friendly

box.jpg Spelling and grammar are consistent and accurate

box.jpg Written material is concise

box.jpg Language of written material is friendly and supportive

box.jpg Clear directions are given for each task or assignment

box.jpg Sentences and paragraphs brief

E. Universal accessibility

box.jpg Universal accessibility concerns are addressed throughout the course, including captioning of videos, transcripts, and accessible documents

box.jpg Images are optimized for speedy display and include alternative text

box.jpg Alternative formats of materials provided, when possible (e.g., optional print packet of extensive reading materials, CD of audio clips used in course, etc.)

box.jpg Use of color adds interest but does not disadvantage those with color blindness

Category 3 - Instructional Design and Delivery

A. Goals and alignment to learning objectives

box.jpg Pace of delivery of course content is managed

box.jpg Reading and writing requirements are consistent with student abilities and course unit load

box.jpg Course content is "chunked" for more manageable learning

box.jpg Expectations for synchronous vs asynchronous activities are clearly spelled out

B. Course objectives and activities are integrated

box.jpg The match between assignments and student learning outcomes is clearly shown

box.jpg Content delivery and activities are varied and enhance student learning

box.jpg Video and audio clips support course content

box.jpg The order of completion of weekly activities is clearly indicated

box.jpg Instructional materials remain available for repeated viewing

box.jpg Summaries are frequently provided, particularly at the end of discussions or topics

C. Activities to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills

box.jpg Discussions center on questions without a single correct answer

box.jpg Activities such as comparing and contrasting exercises, case studies, collaborative exercises, etc. are utilized

box.jpg Assignments rely on applied knowledge

box.jpg Peer feedback on assignments is utilized

box.jpg Portfolios are to share/peer review

Category 4 - Interaction and Collaboration

A. Promote interaction and communication

box.jpg Students are asked to introduce themselves

box.jpg Students are encouraged to respond to classmate introductions

box.jpg "Ice-breaker" activity to get acquainted

box.jpg Instructor introduces himself/herself to model interaction

box.jpg Students’ input is not evaluated as "right" or "wrong"

box.jpg Student participation is tracked and "wallflowers" drawn in to the discussions

box.jpg Students are prompted by facilitator to expand on relevant points

box.jpg Facilitator may play "devil’s advocate"

box.jpg At-risk students are contacted

Category 5 - Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning

A. Assignment Details

box.jpg Assignment Instructions are clear

box.jpg Assignments expectations are identified (group work, open book, etc.)

box.jpg Consequences of cheating or plagiarism are clear

box.jpg Example Assignments are provided

box.jpg Deadlines are clear

box.jpg Assignments are aligned with learning objectives

box.jpg Criteria used to evaluate participation in online discussion groups (e.g, rubrics)

box.jpg Study guides are provided

B. Multiple assessment strategies

box.jpg Quantity and scope of graded assignments is reasonable

box.jpg When possible, options among assignments are provided to allow for different interests, backgrounds, affiliations, and personal learning styles

box.jpg Students are not assessed solely on tests/quizzes but are provided ample opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in different ways (e.g., discussions, papers, group projects)

box.jpg Assignment deadlines are distributed throughout the semester

C. Regular feedback

box.jpg Feedback turnaround time is clearly stated

box.jpg Frequent and substantial feedback from the instructor

box.jpg Assessment feedback is used as a learning tool (e.g., revisions accepted, common errors addressed)

D. Self-assessments and peer feedback

box.jpg Self-tests are provided

box.jpg Peer review is utilized with clear guidelines

box.jpg Students apply rubric to their own work and describe/defend their score

Category 6 - Appropriate and Effective Use of Technology

A. Appropriate tools are used to facilitate communication such as

box.jpg Asynchronous activities

box.jpg Discussion boards

box.jpg Synchronous "chats"

box.jpg Email

box.jpg Group discussion areas, when appropriate for group activities

box.jpg Instant messaging

box.jpg Blogs

B. New teaching methods

box.jpg Instructor employs innovative methods of delivery of instruction

box.jpg Instructor explains and regularly explores new instructional technology

box.jpg Multimedia elements are used such as

box.jpg Tutorials with screen captures and voice over

box.jpg Audio clips

box.jpg Graphics

box.jpg Video clips

box.jpg PowerPoint presentations

box.jpg Other learning objects, simulations or interactivities

box.jpg Minimal use of publisher created material

Category 7 - Faculty Use of Feedback

A. Course Evaluation

box.jpg Student evaluation survey is given at end of course (including open ended questions)

box.jpg Student input sought at regular intervals throughout the course (e.g., surveys, email checking)

B. Faculty Input

box.jpg Feedback from other instructors is solicited

box.jpg Instructor remains current in the Learning Management System

box.jpg Instruction attends conferences and workshops to improve instruction

box.jpg Instructor reads published materials, listservs, and other material about online instruction