KOLT Online Faculty Training

Fall 2020

This online training package consists of four consecutive modules. It is quite concise but full of valuable resources; here, you can find everything you need to support your teaching in Fall 2020. We highly recommend that you go through each module, read, and watch the KOLT and external resources at your own pace and at your own convenience and use the ready-made templates to design your course for Fall 2020. To review the available educational technologies at Koç University (KU) and learn how to use them effectively, please visit Information Technologies’ (IT) website.


I. Designing an Online Course

Designing a course is the first step in creating learning-teaching experiences at any level of education. This module aims to equip you with the nitty-gritty of online course design. Indeed, both online and face-to-face teaching is grounded in similar pedagogical principles, so course design principles are pretty much the same for both types of learning. Today’s education must be student-centered, with learning at its core to maximize students’ learning experiences. You can start designing your course by identifying your learning outcomes and aligning them with assessment, learning activities, and course content. Module II will walk you through this design process step-by-step, with some useful resources.

II. Assessing Student Learning in an Online Course

Online education has changed our perceptions and practices for assessing student learning. Designing a course to create a cheating-free environment is possible if you aim for mastery learning to build intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. High-stakes traditional proctored exams are replaced by continuous monitoring of student learning with frequently administered low-stakes assignments, tests, and several other alternative methods. Module IV presents you with some tips on how to design cheating-free courses with alternative approaches to assessment.

III. Student Engagement and Interaction in an Online Course

Module III presents a large list of online activities to be implemented during synchronous live classes. You can also consider designing out-of-class collaborative assignments to improve students’ engagement in an online environment.

IV. Helping Students Learn in an Online Course

Learning in an online environment is a new experience for many students. You can support your students’ learning by using metacognitive skill-building activities or by providing them with useful tips that highlight important features of online learning and study techniques that result in learning.

At the end of the last module, we also provide an additional resource bank for you to explore further.

MODULE I: Designing an Online Course

This first module is about designing an online course. Backward course design principles, which do not vary across disciplines, can be followed to create a significant blended/online learning experience for your students. Developed by Wiggins and McTighe from Columbia University, Backward Course Design (known as Understanding by Design-UbD) is a process that starts with the identification of learning outcomes, followed by determination of assessment methods, learning activities, and course content. All of these elements must be aligned and pivot on students’ achievement of learning outcomes at the end of the course.

Here is the roadmap for this module.


STEP 1Course Design Essentials
You can make yourself familiar with the fundamentals of Backward Course Design before you start designing your course.

STEP 2: Start Designing your Course

You can start designing your course by defining your learning outcomes, assessment methods, learning activities, and selecting your content.

STEP 3: Organizing your Course

After determining learning outcomes and their alignment with assessment methods, learning activities, and content, you can start organizing your course. The organization of an online course requires detailed weekly plans/roadmap for students embedded in the syllabus as well as an online course page.

  • You can prepare/review your syllabus by using the template in KUSIS. If you wish to add more items, like detailed weekly plans (please check Step 4), online class etiquette, or any other items, you can use the “Course Schedule” or “Other” part at the end of the syllabus template in KUSIS.
  • If you are new to Koc University, you will learn more about how to use the official learning management system, Blackboard, to start designing your course page. Please refer to IT’s resources to learn Blackboard.
  • If you are already familiar with Blackboard, you can evaluate and start re-designing your Blackboard course page by adapting the principles of online education to enhance students’ engagement and motivation. The design of the online course page is critical for the success of online courses. You can view resources prepared by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). Click on the following items to see the resources.

STEP 4: Planning your Course

You can start planning each class (you can embed your weekly plans into your syllabus or upload them to your Blackboard page as suggested in Step 3).

  • For Fall 2020, you need to detail your weekly plans to clarify what you will be doing synchronously and asynchronously. KOLT has prepared some weekly plan templates and examples for you.
  • For online courses:
  • You may start recording course videos* for students to view asynchronously before your online live sessions or as supplementary materials that can be accessible and viewed after class. You can record a video for topics that you plan to cover during your online live session every week. We recommend you keep your course video(s) short, not more than 7-10 minutes, and focus on ONE specific topic/concept per video. You can record more than one video, but each video should concentrate on ONE topic/concept. You will design online activities for your 50-minute online class(es) concerning the topics that you cover in your course videos.

*We would like to remind you that designing your online course around only pre-recorded course videos may cause dissatisfaction on the part of students. Pre-recorded courses should be used for two purposes:

(1) to assign students to watch the videos before your online session and use the entire session (50 minutes) to conduct activities to help students apply the concepts and topics that are taught in videos, or

(2) to use pre-recorded course videos to scaffold when you teach a new topic or concept, or to further support student learning.

If you still wish to teach only via pre-recorded course videos, you need to support student learning with asynchronous activities and virtual office hours or Question & Answer sessions. Online presence does matter, and you need to make yourself visually present to your students. KOLT Tipsheet: The Benefits of Live Online Class Sessions

MODULE II:  Assessing Student Learning in an Online Course

Assessing student learning seems to be the most controversial topic in online education. Low-stakes, alternative assessment methods, and frequent assignments are strongly preferable to high-stakes, infrequent assessments that stimulate performance rather than mastery. The goal should be assessing student learning, not assessing how difficult your course is. This module will help you design and administer different assessment methods to assess student learning in an online course.
Here is the roadmap for this module.

MODULE II ROADMAP1.     Online Quizzes and Exams
You can consider assessing student learning through frequent quizzing activities.

  • If you are using asynchronous videos, you can build quizzes inside these videos.
  • You can use Blackboard to give assignments, quizzes, and exams, and easily and quickly grade them.
  • You can use online polling systems to give students immediate feedback about their learning progress. You can use them as graded activities in live online classes.

o    Online Polling Tools:

Ø  Kahoot   https://youtu.be/q_YBLoE1Vss

Ø  Poll Everywhere  https://youtu.be/IvYrJeDG5J0

Ø  Socrative  https://youtu.be/3FpabxFOkis

Ø  Mentimeter https://youtu.be/8ckjXGzOM-g

o    KOLT Tips for Faculty: How to Choose Among Different Online Polling Tools

2.     Alternative Assessment Techniques

You can use different assessment methods to give students more diverse opportunities to show their learning over time in an online environment.

  • You may assess students’ oral performance or group work activities.

o    Oral exam

o    Group work activities

o    KOLT Tips for Faculty: Assessing Group Work Online

  • The way in which you assess different alternative methods requires some pre-determined criteria for evaluating student work.

o    Creating and Using Rubrics

3.     Creating Cheating Free Courses

Cheating may be an issue in an online environment, but it is possible to eliminate it from the beginning.

  • You need to set clear expectations about the accepted norms and behaviors during online exams and explicitly share them with your students in the syllabus and remind them before your exams.

o    The Honor Code at KU as suggested and sent by the President Prof. Umran Inan to all Deans of Colleges/Schools and Directors of Institutes:

Ø  I hereby certify that I have completed this exam on my own without any help from anyone else. I understand that the only sources of authorized information in this open-book exam are (i) the course textbook and (ii) the material that is posted at Blackboard for this class, available to all other students.   I have not used, accessed, or received any information from any other unauthorized source in taking this exam. The effort in the exam thus belongs completely to me. 

  • By changing your perceptions about course design, especially the way you design your assessment methods and learning activities, you can reduce cheating in your class.

o    KOLT Tips for Faculty: Creating Cheating Free Courses

  • You can use technology in an effective way to reduce the risk of cheating. You can familiarize yourself with certain tools and features in Blackboard to avoid some of the common pitfalls of online tests and exams.

o    KOLT Tips for Faculty: Preventing Cheating in Online Environment

  • You can also use some of these simple strategies to reduce cheating in your courses.

o    14 simple strategies to reduce cheating in online examinations

  • Academic Integrity in Engineering and Science classes

o  https://www.lsu.edu/eng/chevron/resourcesandoutreach/academicintegrity.php

4.     Sometimes students cheat because they do not know how to study for an exam.

  • See Module IV to help your students improve their study strategies in the online environment.

MODULE III: Student Engagement and Interaction in an Online Course

For fall 2020, we strongly encourage you to design synchronous or asynchronous online activities and use some features of Blackboard and Zoom together with some online collaborative tools. The more these activities are used, the more engaged and motivated students will be in online classes. The negative effects of limited socialization on students’ learning can be addressed with the integration of synchronous and asynchronous pair or group work activities.

Here is the roadmap for this module.


1. Online Discussions

Online discussion is one of the most used techniques for engaging students in online environment.

  • You can use the online discussion board feature of Blackboard. Please see IT resources how to use the discussion board in Blackboard.
  • You can read the following resources about online discussions.

2. Wikis and Blogs

You can ask your students to create wikis or blogs as a group work activity.

3. Online Tools and Activity Ideas

Activities that you already use in face-to-face teaching can be adapted to the online environment.

4. Activity Ideas for LABs and PS

Hands-on courses and science labs in which student movement, interaction, and engagement are higher.

MODULE IV: Helping Students Learn in a Hybrid/Online Course

Learning in an online environment is a new experience for our university students who are trying to be mature, self-sufficient, and life-long learners. Self-regulated learning, a concept that simply refers to students’ self-discipline and acceptance of responsibility for organizing and executing actions to manage their own learning, is much more critical in an online environment. Students can learn the skills for becoming a self-regulated learner. This last module aims to provide you with resources that you may use when helping students develop these skills in your Fall 2020 course(s).

Here is the roadmap for this module.


1. Helping Students Learn

Student learning can be improved if a course instructor shows interest in students’ learning. Conversing about students’ learning and progress in your course can be quite helpful for students, especially for those who struggle or even fail in your course despite all their individual efforts. Sometimes students lack the knowledge and skills necessary to learn in a new environment. Thus, you need to guide your students as they find their way in your online course.

  • You can use KOLT tip sheets to support your students’ learning in an online environment.

o    How to Be an Effective Online Learner

o    How to Enhance Students’ Self-Regulated Learning in your Courses

o    How to Help Students Develop their Metacognitive Skills

o    How to Create a Culture of Reading

o    How to Provide Extra Help-Scaffolding

o    How to Study: Spaced, Interleaved, and Retrieval Practice

o    How to Help Students Prepare for Exams

  • Here are some additional useful resources that may help you understand your students and help them learn better in your course.

o    https://www.learningscientists.org/downloadable-materials

o    https://digitalpromise.org/initiative/learning-sciences/

o    https://kpu.pressbooks.pub/learningtolearnonline/

o    https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/identifying-and-supporting-struggling-students-in-online-courses/

2. Buddy System for Online Courses

You can encourage students to help each other learn better in a hybrid environment.

  • You can implement a buddy protocol for students following the course online.

o    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wondering-how-accommodate-remote-learners-your-face-macharaschwili/?trackingId=wQTScFEUNuhI%2FSBpXq4XCA%3D%3D

Resource Bank

If you are interested in learning more about creating a comprehensive learning experience, you may have a look at Universal Design for Learning guidelines.

Creating a course map is one of the essentials of online learning.

Do you want to hear stories about how others teach online?

There is always room for improving (online) teaching.

What will happen to active learning? Can Active Learning Co-Exist with Physically Distanced Classrooms?

  • https://insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/05/27/will-active-learning-be-possible-if-colleges-have-physically?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=92abf6556a-InsideDigitalLearning_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-92abf6556a-235165905&mc_cid=92abf6556a&mc_eid=deccb4bfca

Are you ready to go beyond traditional assessment methods?

Faculty members all around the world share their ideas to spark innovation in online teaching.

You may be interested in completing a MOOC for professional development.

Coursera Course: Resilient Teaching Through Times of Crises and Change

You may need more tips and guidelines for adapting to hybrid and online teaching.

How can you claim that your online course meets some standards?

Quality matters:

[1] Raes, A., Detienne, L., Windey, I., & Depaepe, F. (2019). A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: gaps identified. Learning Environments Research, 1-22.