Derived from research-based best practices, these principles are intended to supplement the QM Higher Education 6th edition course design rubric and the NIU Online Essentials to guide effective facilitation of online and hybrid courses at Northern Illinois University. These principles are a tool for faculty development and are not intended as an exhaustive list of online or hybrid instructor competencies or tasks; moreover, other “applied examples” beyond those listed may fulfill the spirit and intent of these principles.
Select resources supporting the NIU Online Teaching Principles are listed below, and can be consulted for additional information.
Stay current: Ensure that the course content is updated, functional and published on-time.
Nilson, L. B., & Goodson, L. A. (2017). Online teaching at its best: Merging instructional design with teaching and learning research. Jossey-Bass.
Encourage equity: State and implement course policies that are sensitive to the needs of nontraditional students.
Darby, F., & Lang, J.M. (2019). Small teaching online: Applying learning science in online classes. Jossey-Bass.
Lehman, R. M., & Conceição, S. C. O. (2013). Motivating and retaining online students: Research-based strategies that work. Jossey-Bass.
Communicate clearly and quickly: State and implement a clear communication policy that supports the pace and structure of the course, including: a 24-hour response time on business days & information about how to schedule a virtual office hours appointment.
Lowenthal, P. R., Dunlap, J. C., & Snelson, C. (2017). Live synchronous web meetings in asynchronous online courses: Reconceptualizing virtual office hours. Online Learning, 21(4). https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v21i4.1285
Zhang, C.W., Hurst, B., & McLean, A. (2016). How fast is fast enough?: Education students' perceptions of email response times in online courses. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 9(1): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.18785/jetde.0901.01
Provide notice: Provide timely notice to students about changes to course materials, due dates, procedures, or your communication availability.
Ko, S. S., & Rossen, S. (2017). Teaching online: A practical guide (Fourth edition.). Routledge.
Commit to timeliness: Provide grades and meaningful feedback before the next assignment is due, including on graded discussion board activities.
Ambrose, S. A. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. Jossey-Bass.
Walvoord, B. E., & Anderson, V.J. (2010). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment. Jossey-Bass.
Wiggins, G. (2012). 7 keys to effective feedback. Educational Leadership, 70(1), 10–16
Be present: Demonstrate instructor presence by using course tools effectively to engage with learners and to encourage active learning.
Ladyshewsky, R. K. (2013). Instructor presence in online courses and student satisfaction. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2013.070113
Martin, J. (2019). Building relationships and increasing engagement in the virtual classroom. The Journal of Educators Online, 16(1).
Foster community: Cultivate a community among online/hybrid students by facilitating regular and meaningful interaction between learners.
Clarke, L.W., & Bartholomew, A. (2014). Digging beneath the surface: Analyzing the complexity of instructors' participation in asynchronous discussion. Online Learning, 18(3), 105. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v18i3.414
Lambert, J. L, & Fisher, J.L. (2013). Community of inquiry framework: Establishing community in an online course. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 12(1).
Support students: Communicate in a supportive manner.
Baldwin, A., Bunting, B. D., Daugherty, D., Lewis, L., & Steenbergh, T. A. (2020). Promoting Belonging, Growth Mindset, and Resilience to Foster Student Success. National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina.
Deacon, A. (2012). Creating a context of care in the online classroom. Journal of Faculty Development, 26(1), 5– 12.
Reach out and refer: Check in with students who may be struggling, and refer students to the appropriate technology, academic or student support services in response to their articulated or observed needs.
Carrell, S. C., Kurlaender, M., & Bhatt, M. B. (2016). Experimental evidence of professor engagement on student outcomes. Working Paper.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2013). Chapter 7: Working with the virtual student. Lessons from the virtual classroom: The realities of online teaching. Jossey-Bass.
Cultivate inclusion: Make facilitation choices that support diverse students and make each student feel welcomed and valued.
Sadykova, G., & Meskill, C. (2019). Interculturality in online learning: Instructor and student accommodations. Online Learning, 23(1): 5-21. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i1.1418
Ke, F. & Chávez, A.F. (2013). Web-based teaching and learning across culture and age. Springer.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine. (2018). Context and culture. How people learn II: Learners, contexts, and cultures. The National Academies Press.
[For Hybrids] Blend learning: Explicitly draw connections between in-class and online learning activities to blend learning across modalities.
Dwivedi, A., Dwivedi, P., Bobek, S., & Sternad Zabukovšek, S. (2019). Factors affecting students’ engagement with online content in blended learning. Kybernetes, 48(7), 1500–1515.
Kahn, C., & Hindman, L.L. (2021). Highly Effective Blended Teaching Practices in C.D. Dziuban, C.R. Graham, P.D. Moskal, & A.G. Picciano (Eds.). Blended learning: Research perspectives (Vol. 3). Routledge.
McGee, P., & Reis, A. (2012). Blended course design: A synthesis of best practices. Online Learning, 16(4). https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v16i4.239
Version 1, last updated 11/2/2021
Online Teaching Principles were developed by Oregon State University and adapted for NIU by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. They are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License