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Lesson 1: Introduction to developing online courses

Foundations of designing online courses

Online learning is when all instructor-student-content interactions happen entirely online. Using D2L, the University of Calgary’s online learning management system (LMS) and other learning technologies, a rich and meaningful learning experience can be designed and facilitated.  

What key terms do you need to know?

Interactions that happen at different times, such as an online discussion board.

Interactions that happen at the same time, such as a Zoom session where all students and instructor are connecting at the same online place and time live.

Assessments that take place of more traditional assessments such as midterms or final exams.

Where course content and other material are organized by chunks with a consistent layout within an online course.

An asynchronous method of having online interactions. The discussion board in D2L is often used to facilitate activities, group work, and reflection. 

The learning management system (LMS) that the University of Calgary uses to host online courses.

Video and audio-conferencing software to facilitate live sessions with students. Zoom is often used for small group work, virtual office hours, lecturing and other learning activities.

What does an online course look like?

In the following video Dr. Jessica Ayala from the Faculty of Social Work introduces her online course and includes some best practices on: 

  • Designing an online course 

  • Student engagement 

  • Helping students succeed online  

Additional resources

Resources and recommendations that can be immediately put to use by instructors, offered by the Association of College and University Educators, including videos on welcoming students, managing your online presence, organizing your course, planning and facilitating effective online discussions, and engaging students in readings and micro-lectures.

An article from Faculty Focus that describe the key elements of course design, requiring alignment of: specification of learning objectives, instruction and assessment.

A video and other resources from the UCLA, Centre for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences. 

Lesson checklist

  • Review key terms and definitions

  • Watch the orientation video 

  • Check out additional resources

More lessons


Lesson 2: Foster an inclusive and accessible learning environment

Course outcomes

Lesson 3: Developing online course learning outcomes


Lesson 4: Designing active learning in online courses