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Online Teaching Institute: Frequently Asked Questions

LITS has created a set of institutes for faculty interested in designing effective learning experiences for online environments.

What is the Online Teaching Institute? 

The Online Teaching Institute is geared toward supporting faculty in designing effective learning experiences for online environments or for the hybrid approaches the College may need to take at different junctures during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a great opportunity for faculty to join their colleagues in reflecting on the best ways to create effective and meaningful online learning experiences for both students and instructors.  

How does it work? 

Offered at various times throughout the summer of 2020, the Online Teaching Institute engaged participants in hands-on supported practice aimed at designing key elements of an online or hybrid course. For 8 hours distributed across four days in a mostly asynchronous model with a few real-time touch points, faculty moved together as a cohort through the Institute’s modules with many opportunities to share, connect, and receive feedback on their course designs, planned assessments, learning materials, and effective use of available technologies.  

Who can participate? 

The Institute’s structure allows both faculty new to online learning and faculty with experience teaching online to benefit from participating. Faculty designing an online (or potentially/partially online) course for the first time will have the opportunity to devise, create, and reflect on the different components of an effective online course. At the same time, faculty with more online teaching experience may work through the modules to further reflect on their existing online course components. 

Can I participate on my own schedule? 

The Online Teaching Institute took place entirely online and mostly asynchronously during spring/summer 2020, with the opportunity for participants to attend a synchronous kick-off meeting and by-appointment consultations with the Institute’s facilitators.

Although the Institute is not being taught at the moment, you can still request access to the Moodle site to explore content and resources provided during the Institute. To request access to the Institute's Moodle site, please contact Maria Ocando Finol at

How will faculty’s experiences and practices inform the Institute’s design? 

Faculty members' suggestions and contributions to the design of the Institute are strongly encouraged and can be communicated directly to LITS or included in the registration form for the Institute. In addition, the College via Institutional Research is working toward gathering feedback from faculty and students about the experiences of teaching and learning remotely this spring, and that data will also help us to hone the institute and to focus in areas that would be most valuable to participating faculty.  

Who are the Institute's facilitators?

The Online Teaching Institute team is composed of Chris Boyland, Maria Ocando Finol, Alex Pfundt, and Gina Siesing. All members of the team bring significant experience designing online learning experiences. Assistant Professor, Tamarah Moss, is part of the Institute's design team. Although she is not currently facilitating the Institute due to scholarly commitments, she is available for consultations on the topic of trauma-informed teaching.