Getting Started

Working with the computer

Online teaching at UCF is administered by the Center for Distributed Learning (CDL). There are two modes of teaching online: Reduced-Seat-Time, or Mixed ("M"), and fully online on the Web ("W"). If you hope to teach a class that has reduced seat time or is fully online, additional training will be required. Speak with your department chair about this training.

If you wish to add a Webcourses section to a face-to-face class, note that you will only be given a Webcourses account after you finish the online training course called “Essentials for Webcourses” (which can take up to a few days), which enables you to enhance your face-to-face class with a web page. Email about signing up for “Essentials”; include your full name and NID. To learn more and to register for Essentials, visit

CDL also provides numerous online and face-to-face training opportunities for instructors teaching online. Visit their schedule page for a list of training sessions and scheduled events. Their Resources Page offers links to many helpful files, such as their live training sessions recorded as a video for you to watch. The Center for Distributed Learning also maintains its own website of best practices in online teaching pedagogy.


Continue to the next section: Planning Your Online Course

Additional Reading

The following are commonly-cited books relating to teaching online:

  • Anderson, T.  (Eds). (2008). Theory and practice of online learning (2nd Ed.). (Online book.)
    A collection of essays by experienced practitioners and scholars on implementing the technology that has been recently developed in online learning.  What separates this book from others with similar themes is its inclusion of discussions on the larger infrastructure needed to effective support an online learning environment.
  • Bates, A. W., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education.  The Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    The authors focus on the educational and organizational principles that should be at the heart of technology usage in post-secondary education.  Based on their experience, they provide guidance on the planning, designing, developing and delivering of courses with electronic technology. 
  • Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey,  J. O.  (2004). The systematic design of instruction (6th ed.). Boston, MA:  Allyn & Bacon.
    A new edition of the well-reviewed classic, this book addresses the fundamentals of instructional design and the necessary concepts to apply them to a variety of formats.  This book is popular as a text book at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  The newest edition includes additional information on new technologies including the use of the Internet for distance education. 
  • Duffy, T. M., & Kirley, J. R. (Eds.). (2004). Learner-centered theory and practice in distance education.  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum.
    The authors attempt to bridge the gap between theory and pedagogy by focusing on practical issues related to applying the social sciences to distance learning and student engagement in computer mediated learning.  This book focuses on program design rather than course design with featured programs including campus-wide, system-wide and discipline-specific topics. 
  • Elbaum, B., McIntyre, C. & Smith, A. (2002). Essential elements: prepare, design, and teach your online course. Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing.
    Intended for a beginner, this book presents a brief introduction to the basics of online instruction in a step-by-step fashion based on the Concord Consortium's e-Learning Model. 
  • Hanna, D. E., Glowacki-Dudka, M., & Conceicao-Runlee, S. (2000). 147 practical tips for teaching online groups: Essentials of Web-based education. Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing.
    Short, easy-to-read listing of practical tips based on educational theory and research to facilitate the development of online group learning from a constructivist approach.
  • Ko, S & Rossen. S (2004). Teaching online: A practical guide.College teaching series. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    This book is a required textbook for several university workshops as it focuses on transitioning existing classes to an online format.  Past readers have recommended this book for people with limited technological experience but who have experience teaching. 
  • Lynch, M. M. (2002). The online educator A guide to creating the virtual classroom. RoutledgeFalmer studies in distance education. London: Routledge Falmer.   
    This guide provides starting information for basic planning and course development targeting an audience that is inexperienced with web-based education.  A strength of this book is that it explicitly addresses some of the unsuccessful attempts and practices common in higher education during the rush to digitize many classes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 
  • Piskurich, G. M., & Piskurich, J. F. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. Pfeiffer essential resources for training and HR professionals. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
    This guide is popular for classes on instructional design because it takes a no-nonsense approach to basic "need to know" information. 
  • Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in cyberspace: Effective strategies for the online classroom. The Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    This book goes through the stages of developing a computer-mediated distance learning class by addressing issues such as building community, time management, group size and student buy-in.  This well-reviewed book takes a more theoretical approach to building community in a computer-mediated environment; however, the advice and examples presented could also be useful for increasing in-class active learning.  Additional resources are provided including sample course syllabi and a glossary of computer-mediated distance education terms.
  • Sanders, W. B. (2001). Creating learning-centered courses for the World Wide Web. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 
    This guide focuses on the integration of good practice in learning and the design of web-page technology.  By building on existing theory of active learning and its use in face-to-face instruction, the authors provide examples of how the internet can be leveraged to further higher-order learning.   
  • White, K. W., & Weight, B. H. (2000). The online teaching guide: A handbook of attitudes, strategies, and techniques for the virtual classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
    The Guide is a collection of individual essays addressing the "art" side of teaching online.  The authors draw on their experiences as online instructors with the University of Phoenix to provide examples of how to develop an effective environment in the cyberspace classroom.  Much of the book is devoted to discussing "what" online teaching is but several valuable common-sense suggestions are provided.

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