Online Learning and Teaching
Welcome to the webpage built to help you prepare and deliver your online course. Whether you have a few weeks, a couple of days, or as little as 24 hours, we have you covered.
Everything You Need to Get Started with Online and Distance Learning
What is online or distance learning? Online or distance learning is education that takes place online, via the Internet. It is also sometimes called e-Learning, or electronic learning. Online learning is one type of distance learning, which is any type of educational course that takes place across a physical distance, instead of in a traditional classroom.
Key terms to know
- What is an LMS (Learning Management System)? An online class ‘hub’ that is used to help manage and track class performance in an online course.
- What is Courseware? An online learning program that provides instructors the tools and resources to build and configure an online course and students the space to complete assignments and assessments. Many of these solutions offer LMS integration for single sign-in and grade book integration.
- What is Learning Science? An effort combining research, data, and practices to help educators teach better and students learn more. It draws from disciplines including cognitive neuroscience, learning analytics, data science, behavioral economics, and educational psychology.
- What is Instructional Alignment? The organization of course concepts that will be taught and assessed in a discipline and how they match the larger course goals to meet career standards and knowledge expectations.
- What is Personalized Adaptive Learning? Online courseware that adjusts the information or concepts presented to a student based on their individual needs, which are derived from real-time feedback of their performance in assignments. This adaptation stays in alignment with the course’s overall learning objectives.
- What is Synchronous/Asynchronous Learning? Synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens live, in real time. Asynchronous learning is online learning that occurs without live interaction.
- What is Automated Assessment? Automatic grading of homework or quizzes in an online courseware solution. The instructor does not need to review and grade the homework by hand, but can review the final results.
- What is Proctoring & Browser Locking? Tools that enable instructors to support academic integrity and assessment security, with features like preventing students from navigating away from a test environment, verifying students’ identities, and monitoring them as they complete assessments.
- What are Course Analytics? Student data compiled from online courseware homework and assessment, providing instructors with both course- and individual student–level information about which concepts are understood and which are not.
- What is Lecture Capture? Recording tool that enables instructors to record their lectures and share them with their students through their LMS or email.
- What is Offline Access? Online courseware that can be accessed without Wi-Fi or Internet. This is most commonly available through mobile apps for smartphones or tablets.
- What are Course Apps? Mobile smartphone or tablet apps that supply courseware to students on those devices, instead of a laptop or desktop computer.
- What is a Prebuilt Course? Online courseware with assignments and other learning resources and assessments pre-populated in the course to save instructors time putting together their course material.
- What is Online Accessibility? How websites, tools, and technologies are built so that people with disabilities are able to access and use them with a similar experience to the standard use case, being able to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the online material and tools.
- What is Inclusive Access? A partnership between an institution, bookstore, and publisher to deliver digital course materials to students, at below-market rates, on or before the first day of class.
Get Set Up and Running Fast with this Online Course Guide
With the COVID-19 challenge, you need an immediate and easy solution to quickly move your course online. Here is a simple guide to get you started.
How to create an online course syllabus?
- What are your assignments for the next few weeks? Are they accessible online?
- Shift to digital resources where available, but be flexible about your learning goals and adjust when necessary. See if your textbook is available in digital format, and if quizzes and other formative assessment activities can be delivered through your Learning Management System. Remember to make your syllabus available online as well.
- How can you improve your course schedule?
- Determine your priorities. Consider the time it will take you to get set up online, for your students to settle into the new reality, and the fact that asynchronous learning has different time requirements. You may need to make some cuts and adjustments to your schedule and expectations.
Rethink your in-class experience
- What do you typically do during class time?
- Think of your goals for that time rather than specific activities—this will make it easier to figure out what aspect of the in-class experience you want to simulate. For example, an asynchronous discussion using an online discussion forum can accomplish the same goal as in-class conversation; video recording or audio track added to your presentation slides can substitute a lecture.
- Identify which of your lab activities can be delivered online and how. Investigate virtual lab options; demonstrations of techniques can be recorded and delivered as videos.
Rethink your high-stakes assessments
- How will you administer exams and assess students' learning?
- Determine if you need to explore online proctoring options or some other routes to summative assessments, such as projects, term papers, etc.
Consider the student experience
- Will all your students be able to access the course content?
- Keep in mind that students may be accessing the course on slower Internet connections. Students with disabilities may face different challenges using some technologies or accessing content; consult with your disability office to make sure you are able to accommodate those students.
- How can you help students with online learning?
- First and foremost, communicate to students all changes to schedules, expectations, policies, etc. Make yourself available to answer questions and provide support. Even though your students may be accustomed to doing everything online, distance learning might be a new experience for them as well.
Once you get up and running, here are some other steps you may want to consider
- Be prepared to be flexible:
- If this is your first time moving online, you may find that some strategies you thought would work end up being ineffective. Even for online teaching veterans, flexibility is key—technology problems (for you or your students), changes in institutional policies, and difficult circumstances for your students all may require you to change direction quickly. Learn from your mistakes and adjust. Listen to your students' feedback and adapt.
- Hone your online teaching skills:
- Teaching online is not inherently better or worse than face-to-face: it's different. It requires different skills and approaches and some creativity. There are many resources and courses available to help you make this transition.
- Commit to continuous improvement:
- Do not mistake short-term strategies to quickly move online for the intentional learning experience design needed for high-quality offerings. As soon as you are able, enlist the help of instructional designers or other resources to transform your quick solution to a first-rate online course.
The Best Solutions for Online Learning:
There are several organizations that have created comprehensive frameworks to guide the selection process for online learning solutions, technology, and partners. Here are several tools to consider:
Courseware in Context
The CWiC Framework supports postsecondary decision-makers in effectively navigating the market of courseware solutions.
- Quality Matters
To help you achieve your goals for delivering quality online learning, QM Rubrics and Standards were created to help course developers, teachers, faculty, entire organizations, and—most importantly—students.
- The UDL Guidelines
The UDL Guidelines are a tool used in the implementation of Universal Design for Learning, a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.
- Rubric for eLearning Tool Evaluation
This rubric has been designed for instructors and staff as a formative tool to evaluate eLearning tools in higher education.
Quick Start—Prebuilt Online Course or Custom-Built Course
- Not sure where to start building your online course? Start with one of our prebuilt courses, which provides the basics you can customize as you get more comfortable through the semester.
- Reach out to a McGraw Hill representative today to learn more.
Get Support at Every Step
Get support building your online course, every step of the way. McGraw Hill provides hands-on expertise and standalone resources so you can find the help you need, whenever you need it.
- Get advice and ideas from your peers—sign up for a chat with one of our Digital Faculty Consultants
- Learn more about McGraw Hill Online course delivery solutions supported at every step
How to Move Your Course Online
- The Chronicle of Higher Education has a new report, “Moving Online Now: How to Keep Teaching During Coronavirus,” which provides an excellent, step-by-step guide to online instruction. It can be found here .
- In addition, the Online Learning Consortium has a comprehensive set of resources supporting a quick shift to online instruction that you can find here .
Training for Teachers
- EdX is offering a course, “Pivoting to Online Teaching: Research and Practitioner Perspectives.” You can sign up here . Course resources can be found here , and you can follow the discussions online at #pivotonline.
- In addition, Athabasca, a Canadian online college, is re-running a free MOOC on Learning to Learn Online here .