​Faculty Resources

UW-Stevens Point Online Faculty Resources is the primary support resource for online instructors. This page provides access to support personnel, the UWSP Online Instructor Training, individual training tutorials, and other online instructor resources. If you would like information on a specific topic please click the Request Information link at the bottom of this page and complete the form.
Staff include: the Online Program Manager (Eric Simkins) and an Instructional Technology Support Specialist (Sean Ruppert). UW-Stevens Point Online-Faculty Resources serves as a “one-stop” resource for online instructors to access information and support for online courses and related technologies.

 Exemplary Online Courses

​​Below you will find links to video tours of Blackboard Exemplary Courses. There are a few qualities that most of these courses share.


  • A welcome message or ice breaker activity to create a warm environment and invite students to engage with the instructor.
  • Repetitive module or unit design to provide consistent and easy to follow course navigation.
  • Online office hours to offer students the opportunity to connect with the instructor in a more personal way.
  • Community building or active student engagement activities to improve student to student and student to instructor relationships and connections.
  • The use of rubrics to provide students with clear assessment expectations.
  • The use of course announcements or reminders to help students keep up with coursework and stay on task.


Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Winners (2013)


​Resources found in the Online Instructor Training

Category 1: Technical Competencies

 Complete basic computer operations

Performing basic computer operations is a key skill needed for teaching online courses. Manipulating documents, managing files and folders and working with multiple windows will enable you to manage your time efficiently. Since you stated that you are not able to perform basic computer operations, this will be a problem for you when you teach online.

There are a variety of resources available to learn basic computing skills. UWSP faculty can access Lynda.com at http://lynda.uwsp.edu. You can also visit the Help Desk page to seek assistance.

 Log into D2L (Brightspace) and access class

Being able to log into D2L (Brightspace) is essential to teaching online courses. D2L (Brightspace) is the primary location of your online course. Not being able to login to D2L (Brightspace) will be a problem for you when teaching online.  If you cannot login to D2L (Brightspace) or have logged in and cannot access your class, contact the CITL.

D2L Basics

 Navigate course space in D2L (Brightspace)

D2L (Brightspace) navigation is critical to using your time efficiently and effectively. Being able to locate the various features and documents will enable you to better serve your online students. You have reported that you are unable to navigate the course space within D2L (Brightspace). This will be a problem for you when you teach online courses. To learn how to navigate D2L (Brightspace), view the resources below.

D2L Basics

 Set up gradebook and manage grades

Using the gradebook within D2L (Brightspace) will enable students to keep track of their grades. Grade transparency will go a long way in helping students feel successful in the online course and to help them understand how they are assessed. Your results show that you have never done this. Before you teach online you need to learn how to setup your gradebook and manage grades in D2L (Brightspace). To learn more about the gradebook in D2L (Brightspace) refer to the resources provided below.

There are many features within the D2L (Brightspace) gradebook that will allow you to customize the appearance and calculations of student grades. Some of these include grading schemes, grade categories, bonus grades, grade item exclusions, grade adjustments, and calculations options (points or weighted).

A Quickguide for the grades tool in D2L (Brightspace) can be found here: http://www.colorado.edu/oit/services/teaching-learning-tools/desire2learn-d2l/help/instructor-support/grades

 Use asynchronous communication systems

Using course communication tools within D2L (Brightspace) will enable you to communicate more openly with your students and will increase the level of student-to-student and teacher-to-student interaction. Asynchronous communication tools help to create a sense of community within an online course and accommodate the varied schedules of the class. It is not always possible to communicate live, so using tools to stay connected when you are ‘apart’ is imperative. Some effective forms of asynchronous communication in an online course include email, news items, discussion boards, and text notifications within D2L (Brightspace). To learn more about D2L (Brightspace) communication tools refer to the resources provided below.

Below are two articles that compare and contrast the use of asynchronous and synchronous learning in online courses.

Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning from Educause Review

Benefits of Synchronous and Asynchronous e-Learning from eLearning Industry

The article An Affinity for Asynchronous Learning from Hybrid Pedagogy explores some things instructors should consider when choosing between asynchronous and synchronous learning activities in courses and looks at potential pitfalls of synchronous activities.

Below are resources explaining how to set up asynchronous activities in your classes.

Using D2L News

Text Notifications

Creating Discussions (from UC - Boulder)

Helpdesk Email FAQ
Helpdesk Email Setup guides

 Use synchronous communication systems

Using synchronous communication tools can allow you to communicate more openly with your students and can increase the level of student-to-student and teacher-to-student interaction. Some effective forms of synchronous communication in an online course include online rooms and chat in D2L (Brightspace), Skype, Google Hangouts or Hangouts on Air (to record sessions for absent students). Google Docs provides students a place to collaborate with their peers as well as create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Not knowing how to use synchronous communication tools will be a problem for you when teaching online since students and teachers rely on communication tools to engage in conversation, interact with each other, and to increase the sense of community in online courses. To learn more about synchronous communication refer to the resources provided below.

Below are two articles that compare and contrast the use of asynchronous and synchronous learning in online courses.
Geisbers et. al. (2013) found that students who engaged in synchronous learning activities exhibited improved quality and quantity in asynchronous discussions in the course. For a great article on the benefits of synchronous tools in an online course, visit the following link: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/asynchronous-learning-and-trends/using-synchronous-tools-to-build-community-in-the-asynchronous-online-classroom/

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is available through D2L Brightspace and provides chat, a whiteboard, file and web sharing, breakout rooms and more.

UWSP will be adopting Microsoft Office 365 in fall 2015. Office 365 will allow students and instructors to collaborate synchronously on documents. Student can also collaborate synchronously on papers and presentations through Google Docs and Google Slides. They are able to utilize the chat and comments features and collaborate live on the documents.

The following tutorial on Lynda.com provides an overview of how to use Google Docs:
using google docs lynda.com playlist

Instructions for sharing Google Docs among class members can be found here:
Groups in Google Docs

 Set-up and Manage groups

Managing groups in D2L (Brightspace) is a good skill to have when teaching online. It will enable you to establish learning activities and discussions in group sizes that prove effective for learning. Using groups will allow you to establish effective collaborative learning experiences in your course. Groups can be established within discussions or dropboxes. You can select the members of each group, allow students to select your groups, or allow D2L (Brightspace) to establish them randomly.

In a review of research in group sizes for online discussions, Berry (2008) recommends group size between four to nine students.(http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/resource_library/proceedings/08_12701.pdf) To learn more about setting up groups in D2L (Brightspace), refer to the resources provided below.

You can also click the following link for steps in setting up groups in D2L (Brightspace). Group creation in D2L can sometimes be one of the most complex tasks ahead of you as you set up your D2L course.  Please contact the CITL at citl@uwsp.edu, with any questions or for assistance walking through the Group set up process.
Some faculty prefer to have their groups work within cloud-based collaborative learning programs such as Google Docs. Refer to the following document for information about working with groups in Google Docs:

 Manage student submissions

The ability to use assignment submission tools such as the D2L (Brightspace) dropbox and/or Google Docs will enable your students to submit assignments online. Some faculty review student submissions for originality through Turnitin. Most D2L (Brightspace) dropboxes allow submission of various types of files and they also have the ability to put availability dates on assignments. Before you teach online you need to learn more about managing student submissions. To learn more about managing student online submissions, refer to the resources listed below.

Student file submission through Google Docs allows for easy peer review, utilization of “suggestions” - similar to Track Changes in Word, and inserting of comments and chatting. It also allows instructors to monitor any changes made to the student submission. This is very beneficial if students are collaborating on a presentation (Google Slides - which is similar to PowerPoint) or a written assignment such as a flyer, paper, or debate. Instructors can track who contributed what to the assignment and the date/time they contributed. This is highly beneficial for determining equal contributions to assignments.

Instructions for setting up a dropbox

The following tutorial on Lynda.com provides an overview of how to use Google Docs:
using google docs lynda.com playlist

 Create and manage the content section to create modules and topics.

Organizing and managing content and modules in D2L (Brightspace) assists with student navigation. An intuitive and user-friendly course reduces student confusion and promotes adherence to course requirements. The content area of D2L (Brightspace) is often organized by weeks or modules. Before you teach online you need to learn more about creating and managing content and modules. To learn more about this, review the resources listed below.

Steps to manage files on D2L (Brightspace)

 Report grades using the University’s grade reporting process

At UWSP grades are reported through the Registrar. You have indicated that you do not know how to submit final grades. Grades are submitted through “myPoint” and can be found under the “Academics”, then “myCourses”, then “Grade Roster” links. Please click the following link for guidelines for submission of final grades: https://www.uwsp.edu/regrec/Pages/Reporting-Grades.aspx.

Additional assistance can be provided by the Registrar at (715) 346-4301 or registrar@uwsp.edu.

Category 2: Administrative Competencies

 Clearly communicate due dates.

Communicating due dates to students at the start of the course helps students plan their work time. It is best practice to try to convey the dates for each and every assignment/quiz/exam in your syllabus, on the course outline, and in the course calendar. If due dates are changed, it is important to notify students of these changes using a variety of methods. These methods can include email, news items, and text notifications within D2L (Brightspace).

A course outline should contain dates for each class meeting, the topic to be covered, and the assignments due for that class meeting. This outline is subject to change throughout the semester. Students should be notified when changes are made to this outline. This can be posted on D2L and/or emailed to students. The course outline can also be created as a Google Doc and linked directly into the content or news tools and when the Doc outline is updated it will appear automatically in D2L.

Notification of due dates is best managed through the D2L. Some ways in which an instructor can use the calendar is to provide a place in which important dates are easily categorized and displayed for the student as well as identify upcoming events. Note: The D2L calendar is not course specific meaning a student’s calendar shows all courses.

Instructions for activating D2L (Brightspace) text notifications can be found in the following instruction sheet: Receive Text Notifications

For more tips and instructions on using the D2L calendar see the following link from the Learning Technology Center at UW Milwaukee:

 Provide comprehensive syllabus

You cannot assume that students know your policies prior to participating in your course, even for things that may seem obvious. Providing clear policy statements in your syllabus can ease the resolution of many complaints raised by students over grades, absences, etc. The clearer the information that is provided to students, especially in written form, the easier it will be to prevent, or later resolve, student disagreements. The syllabus is the primary document, along with grade and attendance records, consulted in grade disputes. At UWSP some departments/units have a syllabus template which is recommended for instructor use.

Per Chapter 9.1 in the UWSP Handbook, the syllabus minimally should include a course outline, a statement of course objectives and requirements, a description of the grading system, tentative examination schedule, and a clear attendance policy.

An Online Course Syllabus Template has been created by UWSP online staff and can be downloaded and edited by instructors to use in their courses. The syllabus template can also be found under the Templates For Online Instructors section on the UWSP Online Faculty Resources page.

Additional resources can be found below:

 Mediate course conflicts

There are certain expectations of students to participate in and maintain a civil and safe community in which all students can live and learn. By not mediating conflicts or disruptions, you are not helping to foster the growth and learning of your students. Additionally, you are showing a disrespect of the dignity of all persons participating in the online classroom. To be successful in the online environment you need to show a concern for others, their feelings, and the need for conditions for students to work, grow, and succeed. If a student persists in being disruptive in the class setting, discuss the problem with your department head or supervisor.

The Dean of Students at UWSP has published an Academic and Behavioral Guide, which describes student behavior expectations in the classroom and tips for managing student behavior concerns.

The following articles on online classroom management may also be helpful:  

 Adhere to FERPA policies

Some institutions are beginning to test an instructor's knowledge of the Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). Violation of FERPA may involve possible prosecution, dismissal or termination, or loss of Federal funding to an institution. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with your institution's policies with regards to FERPA.

FERPA Guidelines for UWSP Faculty and Staff

 Create Accessible Course Materials

It is important to ensure your course materials are accessible to students with disabilities, using other devices, or with slow connections to view course materials. UWSP adheres to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and recommends meeting the WCAG AA standards for accessibility. This means you are required to develop your course and related materials for the course in accordance with these guidelines as closely as you can.

Using D2L (Brightspace) helps to ensure that most of the website guidelines are met. There are a few things you can do to make your content more accessible.
  • Use the styles provided in word processing and presentation software, rather than manually resizing headers. This provides a structural markup to enable students who are unable to skim the page to find content in the page quickly.
  • Avoid using color to convey information. Information presented through color coding (ie assignments in red are due on Fridays, Assignments in Green are due on Wednesday) is not available to colorblind students.
  • Use proper header and row labels in tables. This allows students using a screen reader to understand what a cell in the table references.
  • Ensure hyperlinks maintain their meaning when taken out of context. Students using a screen reader can tab through the links in a document. If each of the links is “Click here,” they will be unable to determine where the link goes.
  • Provide alternate representations of visual content. This allows students who can’t see your content to access the information in the content. This usually takes the form of an “alt” tag on a static image, but may also by an additional descriptor of an image or a video.
  • Caption and transcribe video content. This will allow students who are deaf, or who need to watch your content without sound to do so.
Additional resources on accessibility:

     Obtain technical assistance

    Awareness of UWSP technical support resources is necessary for resolving technical issues. It is important to identify UWSP support before the course begins and share the relevant contact information with students. Just because you may not know how to solve the issue does not mean that you cannot find someone who can. The simple fact that you are making an effort to find help for your student will go a long way in fostering trust and a positive learning community.

    In addition to distributing support contacts to your class, it is recommended that students have a means of helping each other or getting help from the instructor when needed. Some methods to accomplish this include:
    • Q & A discussion board for students to post their questions, and get help from each other or the instructor.
    • Instructor email availability.
    • Instructor virtual office hours in an online room or through a web-based service such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
    • Recording of the virtual office hour or others to view at their convenience.
    • Posting responses to student questions for the entire class to see.

    Campus resources for student technical support include:

    The Online Course Syllabus Template contains a Technical Assistance section, which directs students to the Student Technology Tutor and the HELP Desk. The syllabus template can also be found under the General Course Design Materials section on the UWSP Online Course Design Resources page.

     Communicate student behavior expectations

    Just as there are certain behavioral expectations in a regular classroom, there are similar expectations in the online arena. However, the online arena is a bit more gray than the normal classroom because we are all interacting at a distance and cannot interact with each other face-to-face. Letting students know accepted protocols gives them guidelines for how they should interact with the course and others. It provides them with a certain comfort level and support knowing what is expected of them and others, allowing them to approach the course with certainty and confidence. It also helps that they know what to expect from YOU.

    Appropriate conduct online is sometimes known as “Netiquette.” It is recommended that online instructors include a statement of netiquette in their syllabus.

    The Online Course Syllabus Template contains a student behavior expectations statement. The syllabus template and many other resources can be found on the UWSP Online Course Design Resources webpage.

    If the instructor is recording a course orientation video, it would be beneficial to speak about netiquette and behavioral expectations.

    Additionally, the Dean of Students at UWSP has published an Academic and Behavioral Guide, which describes student behavior expectations in the classroom and tips for managing student behavior concerns.

     Communicate and monitor academic integrity policies

    It is the responsibility of the instructor to provide a statement in the syllabus clarifying the application of academic integrity criteria to that course. Because of the legal ramifications of any dishonesty, it is imperative that you are aware of UWSP policies related to academic dishonesty.

    The University of Wisconsin System Code in Chapter 14 defines academic misconduct as an act in which a student:
    • seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;
    • uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;
    • forges or falsifies academic documents or records;
    • intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;
    • engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance;
    • assists other students in any of these acts.
    Examples include but are not limited to: using notes or a programmable calculator in an exam when such use is not allowed; using another person’s ideas, words, or research and presenting it as one’s own by not properly crediting the originator; stealing examinations or course materials; changing or creating data in a lab experiment; altering a transcript; signing another person’s name to an attendance sheet; hiding a book knowing that another student needs it to prepare an assignment; collaboration that is contrary to the stated rules of the course or tampering with a lab experiment or computer program of another student.

    The Online Course Syllabus Template contains a student behavior expectations statement. The syllabus template and many other resources can be found on the UWSP Online Course Design Resources webpage.

    The following resources can assist in issues related to academic integrity and misconduct:

     Respond in a timely manner

    Responding to students in a timely manner is essential to building good instructor-student relationships and is a key component of online instruction. It can be helpful to set parameters for instructor response time in your syllabus (24-48 hours for example). Before you teach online, you need to learn how to effectively communicate online in a timely manner. It is a generally accepted best practice to communicate your course work schedule either in the syllabus or on D2L (Brightspace) at the beginning of the course so students know when they might receive a response. Online students, especially adult online students, have limited windows of opportunity during which they can devote time and energy to coursework. A question that goes unanswered can be frustrating as students watch those precious opportunities to work slip by while waiting for a key piece of information from you. Because many online learners are active in the course over the weekend, you may wish to check communication methods more often during this time frame. It is essential that you make time for more frequent attention to student needs.

    There are also many resources available online to help explain the need for proper response time to student inquiries. Some are listed below.

     Notify students and department of your availability

    Students expect to engage in a dialogue with the instructor, but if you have gone away to a conference for a week with no notice to your students, you can expect to come back to find them a little frustrated. It is very important for students to know when you will be gone and how they can contact you. If you have a planned absence it is best to actively communicate your absence with your students via multiple modes including email, news item, text message, or some other means of active communication. By not letting them know you will be away or unavailable, you set yourself up for trouble. Students will be frustrated and upset if they are trying to contact you and cannot do so. You will be doing yourself a big favor by sharing your schedule with them. It validates the students, shows them respect, and gives you the freedom to state your availability AND unavailability.

    There are several resources/articles available that emphasize how to establish your regular availability throughout the semester and to notify changes to your availability to students. Before exploring the articles, it is good to review how to indicate your availability via a calendaring system. UWSP faculty can maintain their schedule on their Outlook calendar and show students how to check their Outlook calendar. Ensuring that when you are out of the office, you enable your Out Of Office Assistant will also help keep students and departments informed if you are unavailable for a period of time. It is also important to notify your department chair when you will not be available to students.

    IT Service Desk Email FAQ
    IT Service Desk Email Setup guides

    Faculty who utilize Google Calendar can embed their Google Calendar into D2L (Brightspace) using the following instructions: https://vimeo.com/78915428

    Additional Resources:

     Managing Workload

    Online course content is typically developed in advance of the course's start date. In effect, the "lecturing" has already been done! As a result, the role of the online instructor shifts from "the sage on the stage" to "the guide on the side." Teaching online focuses one's efforts on facilitating, guiding, and directing learning, as well as assessing progress toward the course goals. Establishing a course outline with weekly assignments outlined can provide structure when managing an online course. Plan to log into the course several times a day to monitor class activity and provide feedback. Being able to communicate in a clear and concise manner will make the learning experience more positive for all involved.

    Some quick tips are:
    • Setting up a weekly activities checklist.
    • Login frequently, in smaller blocks of time.
    • Record and reuse student communication and feedback.
    • Use technology such as Turnitin, voice recording features, and TechSmith Relay for more efficient grading, feedback and instruction.
    The average online instructor spends about 10-12 hours per week managing their course. The following website offers a great video on time management strategies for the online instructor:
    John’s Hopkins University Online Course Facilitation and Time Management

    Additional resources:

    Category 3: Pedagogical Competencies

     Attend to unique challenges of asynchronous learning

    Attending to students primarily asynchronously requires online instructors to have clear and concise communication skills. Online instructors may choose to use a variety of methods to share course information and facilitate course interaction. These may include lecture capture, podcasts, narrated PowerPoints, emails, text messages, news items, and even posted reflections. Some instructors may even choose synchronous methods for attending to their course. There are several articles outlining best practices to promote asynchronous and synchronous interaction.

    Articles to promote student engagement in class include:

     Effectively deliver course content material online.

    In any learning environment, the teacher must find a way to teach their students the material they wish for them to learn. This is called content delivery and it can differ greatly from class to class and instructor to instructor. Delivering course content in an online course can be much different from delivering content in a face-to-face course. In a face-to-face course, content is typically delivered through lectures. In an online course there are many methods of delivering content. These include lecture capture, video recorded lectures, PowerPoint presentations, videos, podcasts, readings, and more. Some methods, like screen capture and recorded lectures, are similar to the live lecturing that occurs in face-to-face course and some methods, like assigned readings and videos, are less like live lecturing.

     Provide appropriate educational experience for diverse and unique learners

    Online courses often attract a diverse group of students including working adult professionals who need the flexibility that online learning can provide. Adult learners bring a different perspective, motivation, and set of experiences to the classroom than traditional age college students. Faculty may find that traditional college students also populate their courses, so it is important to be aware of the learning needs of both audiences. In addition to a class introduction discussion board, instructors can get to know their students by having them complete an introductory survey in which you might ask them about their prior and current work experiences that might be relevant to the course, their future plans after completing their degree, whether this is their first online course, their preferred learning style and comfort level with the anticipated material. This allows for sharing of more confidential information that a student may not want to share with their peers.

    There are many resources available to orient oneself to the best practices for teaching adults:

    Faculty Focus article on Understanding Adult Learners' Needs

    Journal of Online Teaching and Learning article on Best Practices in Undergraduate Adult-Centered Online Learning

    Articles and workshop materials by Dr. Stephen Brookfield

     Develop measurable learning outcomes from enduring understandings

    Enduring understandings, essential questions, and measurable student learning outcomes are typically developed in advance of the course's start date. These should be reported on the course syllabus. Learning objectives can also be identified and linked to assignments on D2L (Brightspace). You may even want to think about incorporating references to learning outcomes via announcements and feedback throughout the course in order to keep the intended result in perspective.

    The Online Course Syllabus Template contains a Course Learning Outcomes section. Instructors are advised to clearly state their learning outcomes in their syllabi.

    A description of enduring understandings, essential questions, and measurable student learning outcomes can be found at the links below:

    UWSP Syllabus Workshop: Backward Design and Learning Outcomes

    Backward Design: A Brief Overview

    You can learn more about the creation of course goals and lesson objectives at the following tutorial:

    One external article articulates the value of course goals and outcomes to students. It is titled "Helping Students Understand Intended Learning Outcomes" by Faculty Focus: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/helping-students-understand-intended-learning-outcomes/

     Use variety of learning activities

    As with a face-to-face course, online student engagement can be highly impacted by the learning activities in the course. Students have different styles of learning which is often dependent upon the subject area, instructor, and even time of day. By utilizing a variety of learning activities in your course you will be more likely to meet the varied needs of the students in your course. You indicate that you do not use a variety of learning activities, it is recommended that you spend some time reviewing the resources below to generate strategies for diversifying your activities.

    Learning activities may include: online discussions, projects, practice quizzes, papers, reports, video creation, blogging, gaming, debates and more!

    The Illinois Online Network provides a wonderful list of activities that can be incorporated into an online course. Each activity listed include objectives, a description, teaching procedures and evaluation suggestions:

    For tips for creating online presentations, see the following video: https://youtu.be/BhlrKpCT--8

    For tips for creating and facilitating discussions, please see the following video: https://youtu.be/iA6Bp1XkU6I.

    When selecting and designing learning activities, it is a good idea to consider the level of processing and learning that an activity involves. You can use this chart of Blooms’ taxonomy action verbs as a resource when you develop learning activities. http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/oie/documents/assesments/Blooms%20Level.pdf 

     Provide detailed feedback

    As it is one of the primary ways to offer guidance to the student, providing timely, formative, and meaningful feedback is an essential aspect to a successful online course. When students turn in their work, they are eagerly looking for feedback on their work. "There is a close relationship between students' propensity to continue or drop out of a course and the length of delay between assignment submission and its return." (Moore & Kearsley, 2005, p. 122). Moore and Kearsley also indicate that early success in assignment completion is especially important (p. 122). Students who know it will be a certain amount of time before they receive this information can move forward in the class strategically, knowing that the feedback may require an adjustment in how they study or work. Students who wait for weeks for feedback quickly lose motivation as they have no idea how they are performing or if they are meeting the expectations for the course.

    Think of each graded assignment as a "teachable moment" where you help facilitate student understanding and progress. Feedback goes beyond a numerical score and includes giving specifics in the areas of strength and improvement. This includes providing concrete suggestions to the student if they are off track so they can improve their score on a similar task in the future. It also includes recognition of areas the student excelled at and why so they can replicate their great work on similar assignments. It is recommended that faculty set a turnaround time of feedback for assignments and a recommended practice is 5 days for a 16 week course. To help set expectations of the instructor this timeframe should be conveyed to students. It is understandable that you may not be able to give the same amount of feedback for all assignments. It is essential to determine which assignments build upon prior assignments and ensure that you provide meaningful, detailed feedback for these key activities. For non-essential assignments, detailed feedback is still an essential aspect of the course and to provide the proper feedback without being too time consuming it is recommended that you use grading rubrics.

    Grading and rubric development and integration can be easily accomplished through Brightspace (D2L) and Turnitin. In fact, the GradeMark feature of Turnitin provides “commonly used Quickmarks” which instructors can drag and drop onto student work. For instructions on using Turnitin in Brightspace (D2L) for feedback purposes, please see the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFg90N_3k5A

    To develop a rubric within D2L, please refer to the following tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w95isbLjeY&list=PLSQlDP8rsCS1jnqSa6kmzJ1nF4YrjU3o9&index=2

    Additional resources include focusing on rubrics and advice on giving detailed feedback. The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has several resources on rubrics located at: http://www.schreyerinstitute.psu.edu/tools/?q=rubric

    An online rubric creator is the RubiStar Free Online Tool for Rubric Creation - http://rubistar.4teachers.org.

    In addition, Faculty Focus provides a nice article titled The Online Educator's Complete Guide to Grading Assignments, Part 2 giving some advice on provided detailed feedback: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/the-online-educators-complete-guide-to-grading-assignments-part-2/.

    Providing feedback, support and direction is important to the student's feeling of success and satisfaction in the course. There are numerous resources available. Here are a few helpful ones: The Online Educator's Complete Guide to Grading Assignments, Part 1 - http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/the-online-educators-complete-guide-to-grading-assignments-part-1/

     Communicate course progress and changes

    Communicating course progress and changes to students is an essential part of being an active and effective online instructor. Posting periodic announcements that remind students of upcoming topics and due dates, as well as any modifications that may have been made to the course, help students progress toward goals and stay on track. D2L (Brightspace) also will provide text message reminders to students about changes in due dates and when changes might be posted as a news items. Other tools for communicating include email, news items, text message reminders through Remind.com©.

    Weekly announcement at the beginning of each week on a consistent basis can be a beneficial strategy. The introductory weekly announcement can include an overview of upcoming events and deadlines and important updates. Periodic reminders via email, text, or D2L (Brightspace) posting can be a proactive strategy to help students succeed. You may want to consider conducting announcements approximately the same time each week (e.g., Monday afternoon around 1 p.m.) so students can be accustomed to look for this update.

    Instructions for activating D2L notifications can be found at the following link: receive text notifications

    There are several articles that briefly touch upon the importance of course progress and changes via e-mail, course announcements, etc. including:

     Promote a safe, inviting, mutually respectful learning environment

    Appropriate conduct online is called “Netiquette.” Communicating with students in a positive tone and following and promoting Netiquette guidelines help encourage these types of learning environments. Fostering such an environment encourages students to be more open in dialogue in instructor-to-student and student-to-student communication. A best practice is to include a course policy on Netiquette within the syllabus. Many instructors include Netiquette information and set a positive tone during the beginning of the course to establish the sense of online community. This can include starting off all feedback with a positive comment before giving additional comments for improvement and then concluding with another positive comment.

    The Online Course Syllabus Template contains a sample Netiquette statement. The syllabus template can also be found under the Templates For Online Instructors section on the UWSP Online Faculty Resources page.

    It is also recommended that instructors speak about expectations for course conduct in their welcome message to the class. This message is enhanced if it is a video recording posted on D2L (Brightspace).

    Additionally, the Dean of Students at UWSP has published an Academic and Behavioral Guide, which describes student behavior expectations in the classroom and tips for managing student behavior concerns.

    Additional resources that touch upon how a mutually respectful learning environment is important to an online course include:

     Monitor and manage student progress

    Monitoring and managing students in an online class helps ensure that students have a successful learning experience. Shortly after the beginning of the course, contact any "no shows" to see if they are encountering problems with logging in and to encourage their participation. Throughout the semester utilize any available course statistics or reports to identify students who are not accessing course materials, participating in discussion forums, etc., and reach out to those students to encourage them to engage. It is recommended that you become familiar with the D2L (Brightspace) analytics in order to track your students' online activity. This is available through Student Progress and Statistics. Maintaining grades within the D2L (Brightspace) gradebook will allow students and faculty to monitor student performance and remediate concerns in a timely manner.

    A video tutorial for tracking student progress in D2L can be found here: https://youtu.be/Zk_E6XYefTQ

    In 10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education, Faculty Focus covers proactive course management strategies to manage student progress in the second principle: http://www.facultyfocus.com/free-reports/principles-of-effective-online-teaching-best-practices-in-distance-education/

     Establish my presence in the course

    In a classroom, you have your physical presence - your voice, body language, intonation, expressions, and gestures - to help communicate with your students on a consistent basis. In an online environment you provide students with an instructor "presence" in the course by posting periodic course announcements, participating in discussion forums, sending individual student emails, holding office hours, etc. Ideally, instructors should be interacting with students in their online class on a daily basis. Simple audio and video communications can significantly add to a sense of instructor presence.

    Garrison, Anderson, and Archer's (2000) Community of Inquiry model helped establish the increase of research within this area over the past decade which has proven that instructor presence can attribute to higher student satisfaction and student success. Since online instructor presence is critical within these two areas, you are highly encouraged to use the resources to help increase your knowledge on how to establish online presence.

    The Community of Inquiry (http://www.apus.edu/ctl/faculty/community-of-inquiry/ ) provides a great model to establish instructor presence in a course.

    Several research articles are located in the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Network. Go to the following website and search for "community of inquiry" or "teaching presence" as the key terms: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln_main.

    Additional articles on the community of inquiry, teaching presence, and instructor presence include:

     Demonstrate sensitivity to disabilities and diversities

    It is important to demonstrate sensitivity to the many diversities in any class. Modeling awareness and acceptance for all students regardless of cultural, cognitive, emotional, and physical attributes is essential.

    Many UWSP students have disabilities that may allow for academic accommodations. Students seeking accommodations should first work with the Disability and Assistive Technology Center and then contact their instructors.

    The UWSP Disability and Assistive Technology Center helps faculty and instructors working with students with disabilities and offers assistance with accommodations for their individualized needs.

    UWSP provides support to underrepresented students through the Multicultural Resource Center.

    UWSP also supports the Diversity and College Access program.

    The Online Course Syllabus Template contains a section pertaining to students with disabilities. It is recommended that instructors include a section for students with disabilities in their syllabi.