Online Teaching Guidelines

Distance education is a growing field helping to meet the needs of our diverse students.  Moving our classrooms into the virtual world on Canvas allows 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.

BEOI Canvas shell screenshotMandatory training

Under our UF contract, instructors who teach online will need to take our district's Becoming an Effective Online Instructor course or submit evidence of an equivalent training.  This four week online course walks instructors through initial course design and important regulations and best practices in online teaching.  Learn more about our professional development pathways to online teaching.


Getting started

DVC offers instructors the following support materials to help prepare for online teaching:

Welcome Letter template

Online instructors typically email their students the week before classes begin to help students understand how to get started in their online course.  You may wish to view or use our optional fill-in the-blank welcome letter template:

Online Syllabus template

There are additional points to consider adding into your syllabus when teaching online, such as letting students know about any special requirements for technology and/or software.  You may wish to view or use our optional fill-in the-blank syllabus template:

Understand synchronous vs. asynchronous online instruction

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

Consider technology needs
  • It can be helpful to have the latest internet browser.  Chrome works well with Canvas and many instructional technology tools.  (In fact, some, like Proctorio, require a Chrome extension.)  You can download the latest versions of most popular browsers for free.
  • Most online instructors will want a desktop or laptop with a webcam for hosting online office hours.  You'll want to keep up-to-date with the latest version of Zoom if you host synchronous online class sessions or office hours.
  • Consider what technology your students will need to complete your online class - and communicating those needs with students.
  • You may wish to brush up on your basic tech skills:

Designing your course

DVC provides additional materials to help instructors design online courses: