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EDU 285: Teaching Online (TOP) (3 Credits)

This course is intended primarily for NOVA faculty to help them make the transition from teaching in the classroom to teaching online.

In this online course you will experience and learn from the student’s perspective. Teaching online successfully requires some of the same skills as teaching in the classroom, but involves a few additional ones as well.  This eight-week online course will guide you through:

  • a refresher on some basic pedagogical principles
  • the exploration of useful technologies
  • an introduction to required administrative tasks

all while you are participating as an online student.  You will find out if online teaching is right for you, what skills you will need to teach online, what technology you will need to employ and therefore know, and how to engage students to become active learners.  You will grapple with some of the barriers to successful online learning and at the same time find strategies for motivating yourself to persist and finish.  You will experience learning online as part of a community.

This course complements EDU 287, which addresses the design of online courses.  EDU 285 and 287 may be taken in any sequence.


This is a three-credit course compressed into eight weeks; expect to spend the equivalent of about two days a week on course work. Because many of the assignments involve discussion and other forms of collaboration, assignments are completed on a weekly schedule, with some mid-week due dates.

EDU 285 will be offered each Fall and Spring semester.


This course is for teaching faculty familiar with Blackboard. Permission of the instructor is required.


Registration is restricted, so you cannot self-register.  You must send a registration request to the ELI Registrar. The procedure differs depending on how you will pay for the course. Free tuition is available for full-time NOVA faculty and for adjunct NOVA faculty who have taught at least two semesters and will teach the semester they take EDU 285.

How to register if you are paying the tuition yourself

  1. Apply for admission to NOVA as a student (
  2. After you are admitted, send your NOVA student id and request for registration in EDU 285 to Jayne Townend, ELI Registrar (, 703-323-3523).
  3. Pay your tuition as soon as you are registered.

How to register if you are requesting free tuition (NOVA faculty only)

  1. Confirm that you qualify for free tuition by consulting NOVA’s tuition assistance policy:
    NOVA web site > Faculty & Staff > Human Resources > Professional Development > Faculty Tuition Assistance Policy.
  2. Submit an Employee Educational Assistance Request form (Form 105-43) to HR.
  3. Apply for admission to NOVA as a student (
  4. After you are admitted, send your request for registration in EDU 285, your NOVA student id, and a copy of your HR-approved Form 105-43 to Jayne Townend, ELI Registrar (, 703-323-3523).
Graduate Credit

Graduate credit is not currently available.


If you do well in this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and establish social presence.
  2. Provide personal, effective, and motivating feedback in writing.
  3. Identify active learning techniques that engage students and allow them to contribute to the course.
  4. Identify the characteristics of a successful online facilitator.
  5. Identify and establish the basics of a learning community within your course.
  6. Create a multimedia presentation with several new technology tools.
  7. Identify and describe a technology new to you and explain how you can effectively utilize it within your course.
  8. Use technology effectively within your course.
  9. Identify and recall the steps needed to successfully view and print course rosters within PeopleSoft.
  10. Identify the steps and the importance of creating an assessment rubric.
  11. Identify and recall time management techniques.


Possible Assignments Include: (Subject to change each semester. The actual assignments are available in the Syllabus in the Blackboard course site on the first day of classes.)

Percentage of Grade
Discussion Activities
33 %
Critical Thinking / Writing Assignments
28 %
"Best Practices" Quizzes (3)
15 %
Group Project
12 %
Reflective Journaling
5 %
100 %

Your final grade will be based on the following scale. Note that you must complete all assignments and earn a minimum of 684 points (80%) to receive a VCCS certificate of completion.

Grading Scale
770 - 860
90 - 100 %
684 - 769
80 - 89 %
598 - 683
70 - 79 %
512 - 597
60 - 69 %
0 - 511
0 - 60 %

There are no proctored exams in this course.

ELI Policies and Procedures
Beginning the Course

Last Updated: January 9, 2012