Introduction to Online Teaching:  Essentials for the First-Timer

Edward Benoit III and Karen F. Gracy


Are you about to teach online for the first time?  This workshop targets novice online instructors who would like an orientation to this delivery method.  We’ll discuss key differences between face-to-face (FSF) learning, how to design courses and course materials using Quality Matters guidelines, and review some current research about best practices for teaching online.  We’ll also give everyone a quick tour of three of the most widely used learning management systems (Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle), and identify resources at your institution that can help you make your first online course a success. The goal will be to help everyone make an action plan for next steps to take in your transition from the physical to the virtual classroom.


  • Face to face and online learning–key differences
    • Instructor’s role
      • Transitioning from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”
      • Methods of engaging and motivating online learners
    • Learner’s role
      • Orienting students to online learning
      • Managing expectations of students
    • The importance of establishing an online presence
      • The instructor
      • Your students
    • Modes of delivery
      • Synchronous
      • Asynchronous
  • Designing for online delivery
    • Quality Matters guidelines
    • Course structure and syllabus
    • Participation/discussion
    • Assignments
    • Instructor and student feedback
    • Integration
  • Your support systems
    • Learning management systems (Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle)
      • Characteristics and functionalities of LMS’s
      • Similarities and differences among the big 3
    • Other technology essentials
      • Equipment
      • Software
    • Centers for Teaching and Learning (for LMS orientation on your campus)
    • Campus instructional designers
    • Tech support/help desk

Learning Objectives for the Workshop

Upon completion of the workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Discuss the difference between F2F and online instruction and learning including the roles of the instructor, learner, and pedagogical approaches.
  • Apply the Quality Matters guidelines to online course design
  • Identify online teaching support systems offered at home universities, professional networks, and online.
    Workshop is 90 minutes in length.


  1. Participants should complete this self-assessment on faculty preparedness for online teaching from Pennsylvania State University, print out:
  2. Watch this video on Quality Matters for an overview of the QM standards (
  3. Review Quality Matters rubric for online courses (

Maximum number of participants: No maximum (as many as the room will hold).


Edward Benoit, III is an Assistant Professor and coordinator of both the Archival Studies and Cultural Heritage Resource Management programs in the School of Library and Information Science at Louisiana State University. He has a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2014) as well as a MLIS and MA in History (2009). His research focuses on participatory and community archives, nontraditional archival materials, and archival education. His dissertation analyzed social tags generated by domain experts and novices in a minimally processed digital archive. His current research continues exploring social tagging and crowdsourced description particular with a particular focus on audiovisual materials. He is also the lead researcher for the Virtual Footlocker Project, examining personal archiving habits of the 21st century soldier in an effort to develop new digital capture and preservation technologies to support their needs. As an educator, he integrates emerging technology into online courses blending practical applications and theory built upon constructivist and apprenticeship learning styles. In addition to archival courses, he also teaches an undergraduate general education course on Information & Society.

Karen F. Gracy is an associate professor at the School of Information of Kent State University. She possesses an MLIS and PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MA in critical studies of Film and Television from UCLA. Recent publications have appeared in Library and Information History, JASIST, Archival Science, American Archivist, Journal of Library Metadata, and Information and Culture. Dr. Gracy’s scholarly interests are found within the domain of cultural heritage stewardship, which encompasses a broad range of activities such as preservation and conservation processes and practices, digital curation activities that consider the roles of heritage professionals and users in the lifecycle of objects and records, as well as knowledge representation activities such as definitions of knowledge domains, development of standards for description, and application of new technologies to improve access to cultural heritage objects.