Online Teaching and Learning

Instructional Design regularly offers training and events for all instructional technologies. 

Training is routinely offered for tools in Bridges (Bridges Basics) as well as technologies such as Panopto, and Turnitin. Tool training is always based on best practices in instructional design and course development. 

Please check back often to see what is being offered.  

Workshops & Events

If you are unable to attend a workshop, all workshops are recorded and are available on the ID Training Workshop Recording page. 

If you have ideas for workshops or would like training specifically for a department please reach out to

What Is Universal Design?

According to, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) “guides the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and material that can be customized and adjusted to meet individual needs.” Employing Universal Design principles and practices simply means designing a course and its materials to be all-inclusive and therefore Accessible, or ADA compliant. Learn more.

Why at RWU?

One key goal of RWU's strategic plan is Preparing our Learners. We have consistently focused on our students and this goal reflects that commitment. The concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to pedagogy that will allow us to engage all our students and provide them with opportunities to succeed, regardless of background and previous educational experiences. It also connects to our Equity Action Plan’s focus area of Student Access, Success and Equity.

Learn more about Universal Design for Learning and our workshop series

There are simple ways to make your content more accessible using software you already have. 

How to Make Content Accessible

How to Make Communication and Collaboration Accessible


If you are slated to teach a fully online or hybrid course please reach out to to setup an appointment with an Instructional Designer and to begin the course design process.

Alternatively, you can also enroll in the Accelerated Teaching Online & Web-Enhanced Course (once yearly) which reviews all the basics of course design and implementation (course outcomes, objectives, course development in Bridges and interaction). 

Helpful Workshop Series:

Rethinking Your Course for Online or Hybrid Delivery

Part 1:  Organizing Your Course Online (Video)

Part 2: Creating Digital Content 

Part 3: Developing Online Learning Activities

Part 4: Managing Online Assessment

Additional Resources: 

Advice for best practices for teaching remotely is also plentiful on the web.  

Stanford's Teach Anywhere site offers lots of advice on ways to communicate with students, distribute course materials, deliver lectures, run lab activities, foster community and collaboration among students, and assess student learning.

Harvard's Teach Remotely Best Practices in Online Pedagogy offers advice on platforms and norms, accessibility, teaching different course types, and engaging students.  Don't miss their Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching Remotely site as well.

Online Course Design for College & University Faculty, Vanderbilt University - Iris Center.  This module overviews the basics of backward design, offering practical tips, strategies, and steps to help develop and deliver a course for and during a variety of circumstances that include face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction.

Vanderbilt Resource List for Active Learning Strategies 

Online Tests & Quizzes

Bridges Assessments
Bridges Testing Reference Guide

Heavily weighted assignments, such as midterms and finals are difficult to run with integrity in an online environment. Consider other ways to achieve your learning outcomes that reduce the need for proctoring.  Some of these may include: 

  • Multimedia projects

  • Online discussions/forums

  • Student Projects

  • Take-home exams

  • Blogs/wiki

  • Exit interview

  • Critiques

  • Live review of labs

  • Portfolio

  • Quizzes & Exams

  • Count attendance and participation in final grade

Assessments: Exams and Quizzes in Bridges (workshop video)

Aside from the instructional technology tools offered and supported by RWU, there are many other 3d party applications, games, re-useable learning objects, and collaborative tools that RWU faculty have used over the years to enhance their classes and online learning courses. 

Instructional resources is a Lib guide of these resources and collections.


Strategies for engaging students:

  • Maintain communication through frequent emails, online forums and individual student messaging. 

  • Distribute a welcome letter describing course objectives and expectations.

  • Use a variety of assignments, including group work and student presentations.

  • Live classroom sessions for engaging students through discussions, calling on students, and using polling and chat features within the online platform.

  • Varying topics and activities. Develop online learning activities.

  • Project-based work and the use of break-out rooms.

  • Provide engaging topics and questions in the discussion forums and giving credit for participation.

  • Using a flipped classroom model

  • Using a whiteboard tool to draw and illustrate during synchronous sessions.

  • Persistent and reliable availability of the professor.

Faculty Recommendations for Building & Maintaining Community in the Online Environment:

  • Use the Forum platform to elicit discussion, engage student-to-student interactions, student-to-professor interactions, share knowledge, and get to know each other

  • Many faculty have found informal weekly check-ins to be useful in allowing students to ask questions, give feedback and share/reflect about their experiences.

  • Breakout rooms, in-class group activities, and group discussions during synchronous meeting time.

  • Scheduling small group meetings before and after class meetings.

  • Publicly recognizing students by name for their responses and inviting others to comment.

  • Constant contact and more open office hours. Instructor “showing up” every day.

  • Maintain energy and positivity recognizing that student participation may vary depending on individual situations.

Asynchronous & Synchronous Tools:

  • Announcements
  • Email -- Individual, Groups, or All Students
  • Email Archive 
  • Calendar 
  • Messages - Individual, Groups, or All Student
  • Polls
  • Feedback Surveys
  • Panopto
  • Forums - Virtual Classroom Discussion
  • Commons - Social Media Tool
  • Blogs/Wikis
  • Zoom
  • (Social Annotation)

Other Resources

Fostering Communication Online, Engagement, and Collaboration (video)

Engaging Students in Zoom (video)