Getting Started Teaching Online

I’ve been assigned to teach my first online course: what should I do?

Before you teach an online course, it is strongly recommended that you complete the Fundamentals of Online Instruction, a 5-module online course offered by UNH Academic Technology which is designed to introduce faculty to the best practices of designing and teaching online courses. To learn more, contact:

2-3 months should provide adequate time to prepare your online course, particularly if you have taught the course before or have already developed some portion of the course content.

Use the development timeline as a guide for keeping your course development on track.  Your instructional designer can talk you through the steps of the process.

Key Steps

1. Make an appointment with an instructional designer.


  • The Instructional Development Center (IDC) is a resource for all UNH faculty interested in integrating technology into their teaching.
  • Before you meet with your designer be ready to answer as many questions as possible contained in the Prepare to Meet your Instructional Designer guide.
  • Consider how you will present your content online. What are your learning objectives? How will you put it all together? These documents can help you work through the process of structuring your online course:
  • Consider the varied technologies that might help you to most effectively meet the learning goals you’ve established for your course.  Review our guide for content delivery, communication, and assessment tools available for eUNH courses.  Your instructional designer can help you think through which tools are best for your course.


2. Become a proficient user of Canvas.

  • To teach your course well, you should be confident in your understanding of the tools, features, and yes, quirks of Canvas.
  • If you’re new to Canvas, begin with the Quick Start course. (1.5 hours)
  • Build your knowledge with on-demand tutorials – approximate time to view tutorials is included:
Essential Recommended As Time Allows
  • Semester start up and Course Basics
    (~20 mins)
  • Designing and Building your Course
    (~45 mins)
  • Grade Center (~32 mins)
  • Discussion Boards (~5 mins) or Blogs (~5 mins), Journals (~5 mins), Wikis (~9 mins)
  • Assignment Tool (~5 mins)
  • Test, Surveys, Pools
    (~60-75 mins)
  • Course Reporting & Utilities
    (~18 mins)
  • Groups
    (~8 mins)


3. Begin using Lecture Capture.

  • Video can help you build rapport with your students and enhance your personal presence.  It also allows students to review course concepts as often as they’d like and at times of their choosing.
  • Please ensure that your computer has the minimum technical specs. 
  • To learn how to best utlize Lecture Capture, attend an Academic Technology training session
  • For more advanced Lecture Capture services, call 2-4242 for an appointment at the MUB Distance Learning Studio.


4. Reach out to a colleague who has taught online.

  • Consider those in your department or in a related department who may have experienced teaching an online or hybrid course.  Would they do it again?  What was different about engaging with online learners?  What would they have changed?
  • Don’t know any faculty who have taught online?  Call 2-4242.  We can connect you with a colleague.

5. Review your course with your instructional designer.

  • It will be helpful to speak with your instructional designer about the syllabus, video recordings, assignments, and modes of student interaction one final time prior to making your course live.
  • Consider reviewing your course against the following criteria to ensure you haven’t missed any important items: Recommended UNH Online course components