SIOT Independent Study

SIOT Independent Study

Summer Institute for Online Teaching

Course Facilitators

This version of SIOT is offered for your independent review. All the assignments have been set to No Submission, and assignments will not be reviewed for certification.

If you would like feedback on activities as you work through these materials, contact an instructional designer assigned to your college. Instructors in the Law College can reach out to the College of Business instructional designers.


The Summer Institute for Online Teaching course takes participants through the main steps of course planning and development and focuses on the basic pedagogical approaches, design principles, and technological tools that facilitate online learning. The course includes readings, online hands-on learning activities, and discussions facilitated by peers and facilitators. The course was developed by members of the Center for Transformative Teaching.

Course Goal & Objectives

The course's overall goal is to encourage and enable faculty to develop a well-designed and interactive online course that is based upon their course learning objectives.

The following course objectives were identified as key areas of development to help you achieve this goal:

  1. Use principles of instructional design and nationally-recognized quality standards to evaluate, design, or redesign online courses.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of legal issues surrounding online courses including academic integrity, course material accessibility, copyright considerations, and other university resources and policies.
  3. Create authentic assessments of learning that appropriately align with course learning objectives.
  4. Apply research-based principles of instruction to create learner-centered, interactive, online learning activities that promote student success.
  5. Establish an effective online instructional persona that is present throughout the course and fosters a sense of collaborative community among learners.
  6. Develop strategies for managing time, communication, and instructor/student roles in online courses.

By the end of this course you will have developed a comprehensive blueprint and strategy for your online course.

Textbook (optional)

Everything you need to complete this course is included in the course site. However, if you're interested in learning more about these topics, we highly recommend Teaching Online: A Practical Guide by Susan Ko and Steve Rossen. In most module overviews, we will identify one or two sections of this book that align with the subject covered in that module. Reading this book along with the course materials provided will give you deeper insight into the strategies discussed.

Susan Ko and Steve Rossen (2017), Teaching Online: A Practical Guide, 4th Edition. Routledge. (ISBN 978-0-415-83243-4).

A digital copy of this book is also available through the UNL Libraries. We will reference sections along with page numbers so you can identify the associated passages consistently.


The course website is divided into just a few navigation items along the left-hand side:

  • The “Syllabus” page (You are here!) displays the course syllabus and lists all activities
  • The “Modules” page is where all course content can be found organized into module sections. Each module has an Overview page that lists important information concerning that module including objectives, textbook selections, and Quality Matters alignment information. The content pages following the module page are where you will find content and activities.


The modules focus on the primary skills and issues critical to online teaching: planning for online instruction, assessing student learning, content presentation/conversion and developing community and instructor presence. All of the modules follow a similar organization and include readings, online assignments and discussions. The following are typical module components:

  • an introduction that presents the module topic
  • module objectives
  • readings from the textbook and other resources such as recent literature reviews on the module topic
  • references to the Quality Matters course design rubric
  • examples from UNL online courses relating to the module topic
  • videos on related topics
  • assignments/self-checks
  • discussions

Technical Requirements

These technical requirements will allow you to access the course site successfully, send/receive online communications, complete assigned activities, and view multimedia content:

  • an active e-mail address in Canvas (view the Canvas Guide if you need to add an e-mail address).
  • an Internet connection (preferably high speed)
  • a supported Web browser (Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome are strongly recommended)
  • a word processor (such as OpenOffice Writer or Microsoft Word)
  • Adobe Reader (to view PDF files)
  • a media player (such as the VLC Media Player)

The technology skills you will need to succeed in this course are a basic familiarity with a Web browser, e-mail, word processing, and the ability to locate specific information on the Internet.

Technical Training Resources

This course is focused on course development and teaching strategies rather than the technical skills of using Canvas and other learning technologies. The University's ITS team provides opportunities to develop those skills as well. If you are uncomfortable in technical spaces you may want to seek out some of the opportunities outlined below alongside your participation in this class. Links to each of the resources listed below are also provided in the Getting Started & General Information module of this course. If you are interested in more formal technical training opportunities, review and register for these sessions through the training catalog.


An effective online course requires an online presence. UNL has adopted Canvas as its learning management system. If you would like to develop your skills with Canvas you can also progress through the materials in a self-paced, online training called "Canvas 101 for Instructors." This resource will help you achieve basic competency with all the main Canvas tools and features.

UNL Academic Video (VidGrid)

To deliver online course materials we often leverage video. UNL has adopted VidGrid as a video recording and hosting solution. ITS has developed a "UNL Academic Video Workout Session" to help you learn the basics of this tool.


Even in online classes, meeting synchronously can provide an opportunity for you to actively engage your students and gauge their understanding of the content. Zoom is the synchronous platform that UNL has selected. ITS is developing a training resource for that tool, but in the meantime, you can enroll in a synchronous training session or refer to the Zoom Help Center to learn more. More information about Zoom, including how to create your UNL Pro account can be found on ITS's Zoom info page.

Course Schedule

This course is divided up into weekly modules. You can see a breakdown of the modules on the "Modules" page which is linked in the left-hand navigation bar. The "Course Summary" below provides a quick glance of assignment due dates and meeting dates. 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due