online ed logo with computer, phone, and DVC logoOnline Teaching Tips

Online courses allow us to welcome more students whose work or family schedules are obstacles to taking face-to-face classes, or whose learning styles thrive in the digital environment.  Learn more about online teaching:

Instructor training (BEOI)

BEOI Canvas shell screenshot

Under our UF contract, instructors who teach online will need to take our district's Becoming an Effective Online Instructor (BEOI) course or submit evidence of equivalent training.  Learn more about our online teaching trainings. 

Synchronous vs. asynchronous 

Online classes may be offered with synchronous or asynchronous elements.  Learn more about synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

Technology needs


Welcome letter 

Online instructors typically email students the week before classes begin to help students understand how to get started in their online course.  

Online syllabus 

There are additional points to add into your syllabus when teaching online, such as any requirements for technology and/or software.  

Online office hours

Consider offering office hour(s) online via Zoom to replicate an on campus office hour.  Video chat with students, share your screen, or have students share their screen. 

  • Include your office hour(s) day(s), time(s), and virtual location in easy-to-find places, like your syllabus and Canvas home page.  
  • Include instructions for how students will access your office hours. Consider sharing DVC's Student Zoom Guide.
  • Consider scheduling your Zoom office hours with a waiting room.  There may be times you want only one student at a time for quick one-on-one chats, and other times you want to meet with a group of students to review key concepts.  The waiting room allows you to control who enters your office space when.
  • Check out DVC's Instructors Zoom Guide for technical tips and/or watch:

Best Practices Checklist

checkmarkReview DVC Online Best Practices for a checklist of equitable practices in online instruction.

Regular and effective contact

computer with three profile shadowsFederal and state law requires online courses include regular and effective contact - both between the instructor and students and among students.  DVC Procedure 4003.02 defines our college policies and includes sample activities.

Camera-optional Recommendation (Zoom)

View the DE Committee's Camera-optional Recommendation to promote equitable virtual experiences and respect student concerns around privacy, safety, disability, and religious strictures.  

Online Proctoring Recommendation

View the DE Committee's Online Proctoring Recommendation (COVID-19), endorsed by the Academic Senate.

Canvas Combined Sections Recommendation

Due to complexities with FERPA compliance, a risk of lost course materials, and technology integration issues, DVC’s Distance Education Committee and Academic Senate recommend instructors do not combine sections on Canvas, except when courses are already cross-listed in the schedule and meet at the same times.

IMPORTANT: Please carefully review the DVC Canvas Combined Sections Recommendation for alternatives and instructions:

  • to create and download an export of any existing materials before proceeding
  • to keep student interactions separate by section
  • to request combinations through InSite
OER (Open Educational Resources)

With the cost of college and student debt rising, utilizing high-quality, free teaching tools is a great way to support your students.  Learn more about OER and grant opportunities.

ZTC (Zero Textbook Cost) badge

ZTC logo, textbook with a crossed out dollar signIf you leverage open educational resources over paid publisher content, make sure students know by getting your course badged with the ZTC (Zero Textbook Cost) symbol in the online searchable schedule.  ZTC means there are no textbook or digital material costs for students. (However, other costs for physical materials such as a calculator, lab, or art supplies may be required.)  To get your class badged, follow the instructions in Get Your ZTC Badge.  

CVC Course Design Rubric

Peer Online Mentorship Canvas Course CardIn Spring 2019, DVC's Academic Senate approved the CVC Course Design Rubric as a guide for best practices in online teaching.  Would you like to participate in a peer mentorship program to align your online course to the rubric?  Apply to DVC's Peer Online Mentorship Program (POMP), or learn more in Online Teaching Training.


email symbol in envelopeReview (and give feedback!) on our 4CD Equity Rubric (draft) to learn about important strategies for creating equitable and inclusive online classes. 

You can also join one of our Pedagogy Inquiry Teams by emailing Ian Thomas-Bignami at  Access support materials by self-enrolling in the Pedagogy Interest Team Canvas course.  Log in with your InSite username and password when prompted to add this course to your Canvas Dashboard.

Academic Integrity

checkmarkAll online classes offered within the California Community Colleges have a common entry point through the learning management system Canvas.  Even faculty who supplement their instruction through third-party resources must have students authenticate through Canvas to ensure academic integrity.  

FERPA (student privacy)

bullseyeOnline instructors need to be aware of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) concerns in online courses, particularly around combined sections and Zoom.  Get familiar with FERPA in the DVC FERPA Quick Guide or FERPA Basics video: