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E-Learning Policy

Pedagogical Resources for Online Teaching

Online Teaching requires a good understanding of the best related pedagogical practices to enable teachers to transform and transfer the content knowledge of the various subjects to different platforms while utilizing the non-stop emerging technologies in the educational realm.

Differences Between Face-To-Face, Blended and Online Teaching

  • Face-to-Face (F2F) classrooms include a mode of instruction where online instruction is zero.

  • Blended Learning classrooms include hybrid modes of instruction where online instruction ranges between 30-79 %.

  • Online Teaching classrooms include a mode of instruction where online instruction is above 80%.

Characteristics of Online Learning

  • Students and teachers enjoy the flexibility, access, and convenience of learning from any place.

  • Students can learn at their own pace with content broken into smaller chunks

  • Student learning experience can be enhanced by opportunities provided for cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and/or cross-campus collaborations.

Preparing for an Online Class

It is essential to:

  • Realize that planning, designing, developing an online class is not that different from planning for a face-to-face class; the core difference is manifested in incorporating an extra digital-based component including but not limited to audio, video, forums, message boards, blogs, polls, and chat. These features enhance students' learning experience through engaging students in new ways in alignment with the student learning outcomes of each course.

  • Understand students' needs is key to engaging with them.

  • Understand the difference between the needs of the undergraduate students and those of graduate students who:

    • Are full or part-time working professionals or have family commitments with less time that can be devoted to studying.

    • Are older and some are returning to learn students after a short or long break.

    • Have different backgrounds and skill levels.

General Tips for Success in Online Teaching:

  • Identify clear objectives and expectations for students at the onset of each course specifying the tasks they need to accomplish, date and time of submission, place to upload, individual or group work, and more importantly the relevant SLO/s for each task (assignment, project, test,…).

  • Structure the content on Blackboard in a logical, clear, and easy way to navigate.

  • Break down content into chunks.

  • Evaluate the course SLO/s to identify which one is better suited to be delivered online.

  • Integrate digital tools into each lesson plan.

  • Provide students with the needed resources that are easily accessible, and preferably downloadable.

  • Align assessments with SLOs.

  • Explain the technologies, tools, and features to be used in any class to the students at the beginning of each class and answer their questions as they arise.

  • Use a forum on the BB Discussion Board for student peer-to-peer learning, discussions, inquiries, shared knowledge, and experience.

  • Provide instructions and updates regularly to maintain students' engagement and motivation


Creating your online virtual presence enhances a social presence which promotes the relationship and connectedness among students within the online learning environment. Also, an online presence can increase the opportunities for students' interaction, meeting their different needs, and reinforcing learning outcomes through using welcome videos, discussion forums, and Zoom sessions to build trust and a safe space for learning.

General Tips for success:

  • Create a welcome video to introduce yourself and describe the course's intended learning outcomes.

  • Ask the students to post their photographs and share their biographies with the class.

  • Use ice breakers or activities to get started.

  • Facilitate students' interaction through group work, discussions, and reflections.

  • Secure a safe learning environment where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and participating in class discussions.

  • Show care to your students and allow informal language that students can relate to.

  • Be respectful, empathetic, supportive, positive, encouraging, and open.

  • Use a variety of media such as videos, audios, chats, forums, etc.

  • Give constructive feedback promptly.

  • Maintain contact with the students.

Communicating Effectively Online

In online learning, teachers are required to act as moderators and facilitators while monitoring students as they start to interact with the subject content, in addition, to providing feedback continually and in a timely manner about their assignments.

This requires thorough attention from the teachers to ensure equal participation of all students and avoid the dominance of some students over others.

Teachers are required to diversify and personalize the teaching strategies to reach all students and allow them to study at their own pace. Strategies such as:

  • Providing feedback,

  • asking probing questions,

  • engaging in reflective activities,

  • using video to communicate with students.

It is very important to note that teachers are required to shift their attention from focusing on the subject matter content only, to focus on applying content with the students, adding your personal perspective, providing in-depth knowledge of the subject, and relating the content to students.

General Tips for Success:

  • Call students with their names to personalize communications.

  • Inform students about your availability and the time you need to respond to them.

  • Use welcoming and closure announcements on weekly basis.

  • Use synchronous sessions to interact with students in real-time.

  • Create, manage, monitor, and participate in forum discussions.

  • Use Zoom video or audio podcasts to mix up the delivery.

  • Use Canvas chat to answer quick questions.

  • Use interactive quizzes to test knowledge and progress.

  • Use social polls to gauge opinions.

Managing Online Discussion Forums

Discussion forums are virtual spaces that play a significant role in students' learning once teachers succeed to manage these spaces properly. Accordingly, teachers need to clarify the purpose of the discussion forums, the way forums are designed, the style and the content of these discussions are sought in posts.

General Tips for Success

  • Establish rules of engagement, best practices, and netiquette.

  • Guide students on how they have to listen to their peers and to the teacher.

  • Respect the various points of view.

  • Repeat what any student says to make sure you understand their perspectives and needs.

  • Be diplomatic, inclusive, relevant, clear, brief, and polite.

  • Encourage students to ask questions, answer each other's questions, comment, participate, contribute, etc.

  • Monitor students' activity and respond smoothly to undesirable behavior or language.

  • Share online resources through discussion posts.

  • Post questions and challenging tasks to trigger students' thinking and ensure effective debate.

Managing Group Work Online

Teachers need to emphasize the significance of group work in enhancing students' problem solving, communication and critical thinking skills, and learning from peers. Accordingly, teachers are invited to clarify to the students the group and participation dynamics.

Teachers are required to avoid any conflicts through setting clear plans and logistics of the groups, identifying the expectations, distributing students among the groups evenly, distributing the workload among students fairly, and making wise control over individual assessment and grades within and among groups.

General Tips for Success:

  • Use ice-breaker' exercises to help students build trust among themselves

  • Relate group work tasks to the real-world context.

  • Utilize meaningful assessment tools.

  • Provide clear guidelines on how students should form groups.

  • Identify T-shaped skills and establish balanced groups.

  • Clarify to students about their roles and responsibilities

  • Set rules of engagement and group protocols.

  • Set clear protocols and expectations for students' complaints.

  • Set clear grading scheme for both collective and individual work.

  • Suggest useful tools and best practices to help support students' collaboration such as posting clear records of what each team member has contributed.

Engaging and Motivating Students to Learn Online

Active participation is a chief component in online learning that helps establish a sense of belonging and purpose. This includes:

  • modeling of desirable behaviors.

  • Utilizing a variety of engaging materials and links to other relevant content.

  • Including activities, reflections, or knowledge quizzes to maintain students' attention

  • Adding simple acknowledgments in the forums.

  • Facilitating collective construction of knowledge to validate students' contributions

  • Providing constructive and timely feedback to students to help them incorporate needed changes or new learnings into a following task.

Giving Feedback

Feedback is intended to provide points and comments that help students manage and improve their performance and work. There are different forms of Feedback that can be provided to students:

1. Facilitator feedback

Goal-referenced, tangible, transparent, actionable, specific, and personalized, timely, ongoing, and consistent.

2. Peer-review feedback

concentrated feedback from peers but needs to be guided by the SLOs and supported by teacher instructions to ensure meaningful results.

3. Automated feedback

Feedback included in the design of the online subject such as certain interactive resources.

4. Responsive feedback

Feedback provided within a specific timeframe when immediate feedback is not possible.

General Tips for Success for Overall Teaching Online

  • The pace and diversify the delivery of content knowledge.

  • Include fun activities, add rewards or bonus points.

  • Be present during the week and at least once during the weekend.

  • Provide a list of good examples to share with students when appropriate.

  • Set the dates of assignment submission and grading at the beginning of the course in a timetable.

  • Plan wisely and dedicate fixed time to grading and returning work.

  • Set notifications to identify the time students submit work.

  • Include wrap activity for the subject.

  • Grade assignments in order of submission.

  • Provide feedback in accordance with the assignments' rubrics

Managing Teachers' Time Online

Managing time in online teaching and learning depends mainly on the way students and teachers manage their own time which is done in different ways by different students and teachers. Teachers and students need to have access to course materials 24/7 within a global classroom that allows ongoing discussions through message boards, forums, blogs, and more.

Teaching online has enormous benefits especially for educators who have little if they adopt efficient workflows.

In general, teaching and learning online need more time for design and development which should be done before the beginning of the course due to the exhausting engagement of teachers and learners in other courses and tasks at different times in order to avoid the burnout of both the teacher and the student.

In summary to all what is mentioned above, teachers are advised to adopt a flexible approach in their teaching, break tasks into smaller chunks, break their time into smaller blocks (work less but more often).

General Tips for Success:

  • Maintain proper work habits that ensure life-work balance

  • Identify clear and reasonable dates for all tasks including project submissions, requirements, and deadlines.

  • Be mindful of file sizes and internet connection.

  • Upload subject matter content on BB in due time to reduce confusion

  • Provide feedback constructively and promptly.

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