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Strategies for Online Teaching: Home


Strategies for Online Teaching

What is it?

Teaching online has its own set of opportunities and challenges. Below are some strategies for online teaching based on some common challenges of this environment.


Because you may not meet with your students in real time, it can be hard to build community. You might consider: 

  • Offering optional synchronous office hours, coffee chats, or social time ( Zoom, Gather, etc.)
  • Using video or voice recordings for discussions and giving feedback (via tools like Flip or built-in tools in Canvas)
  • Social annotation tools (e.g., Perusall) to promote discussions in readings 
  • Use a pre-course poll or survey to learn more about your learners 


As you may never meet with your students, it’s extra important to ensure that your materials and instructions clearly communicate your expectations:

  • Be intentional with how you organize your content (e.g. by week, module) and the user experience of navigating the materials

  • Help students know how much time to budget for each activity (e.g. list number of pages for readings, times for videos)  

  • Provide rubrics, point breakdowns, clear instructions, and opportunities to ask their questions


Promoting engagement can be a challenge online. Consider how you might design your content to help students feel motivated to complete the activities with “brains on”:

Examples and Implementation

Students benefit from multiple modes of engagement. Below are examples of several office hour formats using:

  • Online discussion boards (Canvas)

                                               Screenshot of a discussion board in Canvas showing an original prompt with a student response

Image sources:,,


  • Video discussion boards (Flip)

                                             Screenshot of a video discussion board using Flip


  • Virtual collaborative spaces (Gather)

                                              Screenshot showing a Gather room - a virtual environment for collaboration