Faculty Support

Before You Begin

Before teaching an online course, instructors should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Am I comfortable using basic software programs like MS Word and PowerPoint?
  • Am I comfortable using the internet, including uploading/downloading files and using basic email functions?
  • Am I willing to check my CSU email every day?
  • Will I be able to make my online instruction at least as rigorous, challenging, and engaging as my face-to-face courses?
  • Am I willing to think differently and adapt to new modes of instruction, activities, assignments, and assessment?
  • Am I willing to stay current with the latest technologies?

If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, then you should consider teaching online. If you would like to proceed, then your next step will be to complete the Online Certification Training course (see below).

Online Certifcation Training (OCT)

OCT logo

What is Online Certification Training (OCT)?

OCT is the university's eight-week training program that prepares faculty to teach online. It helps instructors understand what online learning is, how to prepare their course content for an online environment, and what the best practices are for online course development and teaching. It also explores such areas as best practices, instructional design, ADA web accessibility guidelines, and internet copyright and fair use. OCT is meant to provide an introductory overview of these topics, and to prepare faculty to meet the requirements of the Illinois Online Network Quality Online Course Initiative (QOCI) rubric that is used by CSU'sDistance Education Committeeto review online courses.

OCT was developed to provide a standardized approach to preparing faculty to teach in an online environment as recommended in Appendix G of the CSU Contract. CSU faculty should be prepared to meet the needs of its students; online learning is most effective when delivered by teachers experienced in their subject matter and fluent in necessary technologies. The best way to maintain the connection between online education and the values of traditional education is by ensuring that online learning is facilitated by teachers fully qualified and interested in teaching in the online environment.

In accordance with Appendix G of the CSU Contract (2010-2015), all faculty members who wish to teach online must first complete OCT. Permission to teach online must also be obtained from one's respective dean and department chair.

Faculty who have completed a non-CSU training course can submit documentation that will be verified from the issuing institution to ensure that similar objectives as those for OCT have been met.

When will OCT be offered?

New sections of OCT will begin on the Monday closest to the 1st and 15th of every other month. Starting dates through January 2015 are as follows:

  • February 17, 2014
  • March 31, 2014
  • May 12, 2014
  • June 30, 2014
  • August 18, 2014
  • September 29, 2014
  • November 17, 2014
  • January 5, 2015

To sign up for OCT, contact our offices at 773-995-2960 or elearning@csu.edu. Also, announcements will be made via CSU email in the weeks leading up to each new section with a link to an online registration form.

What are the Learning Objectives of OCT?

Unit I: What is Online Teaching?

  • Know and understand the meaning of online learning
  • Know and understand the benefits of teaching online
  • Know and understand the advantages of learning online
  • Know and understand the challenges of teaching online
  • Know and understand Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Unit II: Best Practices

  • Provide examples of well-designed course pages, rubrics, lessons, and assignments that exemplify superior design of online courses

Unit III: Copyright, Fair Use, and the TEACH Act

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how copyright, fair use, and the TEACH Act affect course creation in online learning

Unit IV: ADA Web Accessibility

  • Explore and understand the basic principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Unit V: Instructional Design Basics

  • Be able to effectively connect learning objectives, activities, and assessments in an online setting

Unit VI: Building Course Content

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to create a comprehensive online learning experience

Online Teaching Excellence (OTE)

For those who have successfully passed OCT, there is the option to continue online training with Online Teaching Excellence: Pedagogy and Andragogy.

Having gained a solid grounding in the basics of online learning, this course helps its participants to more rigorously implement best practices in instructor-guided learning (pedagogy), as well as adult, self-directed learning (andragogy). Unlike OCT, successful completion of this course is not required to teach online at CSU, however, it is strongly recommended for anyone who wishes to enhance his or her online teaching.

To complete this course, you must already have built an online course and still have access to it.

Training and Support

Faculty support for online learning is provided by the CTRE, which offers a variety of opportunities, such as:

The CTRE hosts in-person and online training sessions for using Moodle, such as basic navigation skills, setting up a grade book, and using Collaborate. Workshops are held regularly each semester.

One-on-One Training
Both faculty and students are welcome to make an appointment with CTRE staff to receive support during regularly scheduled open hours in LIB 318. If you would like to make an appointment, click the button below.


All CSU instructors are automatically signed up for this "course" in Moodle, whether they teach online or not. It is filled with helpful resources and guides on online learning, as well as information about upcoming workshops and OCT.