How To Start Teaching An Online College Course

Sep 21, 2018Blog, e-learning, eLearning tips0 comments

As it is, more and more people are taking advantage of the Internet to take both general education and college classes. The past few years have witnessed a significant rise in the shift to e-education for obvious reasons such as general flexibility and easier access. This particular growth opens up and widens new avenues of career and income advancement for instructors.

However, teaching online courses is still a relatively original concept and may take people time to adjust, especially, for those who are first-time e-teachers. Shifting from traditional, actual classroom teaching to virtual teaching is a huge adjustment. But with some research and practice, instructors of all ages can gain easy access and the flexibility that most students are looking for. Here are some helpful tips on how to start teaching an online college course.

Show Off Your Certificates

Students want to learn from the best. After all, one word from an expert is much higher considerate than a bunch of those from a random person. So, one great way to attract students and advance your online career is to earn a prestige degree of master or doctorate.

Anyhow, all online college teachers should have advanced certificates in their fields together with professional skills contributed to their success in instructing distance-learning students. Exhibit your degrees on your teaching page not only proves that you are capable at what you’re doing, but it also reassures your potential e-students to see that they’re going to be in good hands.

Familiar Yourself with Modern Technology

The keyword of the phrase “teaching an online college course” is “online.” That means one needs to achieve certain computing prowess among several other types of technological skills in order to teach courses for distance-learning students.

Other skills an online educator should have are knowledge in building optimal course plans, inventing teaching strategies, and applying certain assignment formats.

Get the Necessary Facilities

There’re three fundamental categories. A reliable PC is the first thing in any online teacher’s must-have list of equipment. Then, it is a strong internet connection. The final one is the best platform you can find to meet your requirements. Gather the suitable hardware and software will help you make your classroom the best it can be.

Make a Logical Plan Before Teaching An Online College Course

Right from the first lesson you should prove to the student why they’re right when choosing to follow your course, and that it’d be best to remain so till the end of the course. In other words, try to “hook” your prospective students first. Then, list various stages, as well as a specific plan to develop one module for each stage, that should be taken to engage the student throughout the course constantly.

Remember, virtual students and their needs are from their physical peers. Be sure to have your materials, syllabus, other information (e.g., the required materials, deadlines, etc.) laid out neatly before beginning the class. This will give e-students a chance to see if they can make time for your course.

Use the Right Format

The contents you see in most online courses are not excluded from these four primaries media formats: video, text, audio, and digital downloads (i.e., PDF worksheets).


The so-called “gold standard” for teaching an online college course is video. For this kind of format is the best choice when you want to instruct how to carry out specific techniques. Though making a video for e-learning courses can be more time-consuming, the results are well worth it, as video format are much more multi-sensory and therefore more attractive than other formats. It builds the most solid bridge between the instructor and their student.

As said, making a video may be time-consuming, but the content is much more time-saving for both teachers and students. When it comes to spreading knowledge and information, researchers proved that 1.8 million words are conveyed in just 1 minute of video.

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For course developers who are comfortable with writing, texting is most employed because it’s easiest and simplest to produce – as one doesn’t need any additional tools or skills while making the content.


Though it is a bit hard for non-native learners to understand, convenient for most students to listen to the content anywhere (e.g., in the park, on the bus, while doing housework, etc.)


PDF guides are boring sometimes. But its plus point is that students can easily go back to and reference the PDF content compared to audio or video.

Maintain Interaction

Interaction is crucial in the online learning environment. That’s why every e-instructor should maintain a constant online presence by introducing themselves to their students and vice versa. This kind of bonding activity generates warmth and humanity – which online classes often lack, into your virtual classroom.

Some students enjoy the physical absence of a real instructor while others will feel nervous. So, make sure all of your students know the specific times and methods to contact you. Try to ease this negative feeling further by timely answering all questions and providing feedback and instruction as detailed as possible like you’re really there beside them.

Get Comment and Feedback

Constructive criticisms are important for they can help in pushing your e-class forward. With more and more education moving online, the students must have already taken at least an online classroom of some sort. Such an experience may be informative to you when they tell you the pluses and minuses of your general online classroom.

And not just the comments from your students are valuable, as those from your fellow e-teachers are as well. Education is a vast field, and the connections between you and other virtual educators may become very handy for your development of online college courses.

Advice for Better Visual Content

There’re certain rules online college teachers can focus on to improve the content of their visual course regardless of the format you choose (e.g., pure text, infographic, video, audio, animation, etc.)

Text-Type Content


A single page can’t handle being crammed on with too much content. Instead, let it breathe a little with the spacing. Adding spaces helps to group components while simultaneously separating them from other components, making it easier for spectators to look through and get through the content.

Visual Hierarchy

The hierarchy of the content helps readers know in what order they should read the article. No one wants to look at a busy content, which is hard to digest. So, it’s the teacher’s duty to make your session’s content easier and more enjoyable for your students to consume.

You can change the Visual Hierarchy through the choices of spacing, size, and color around a feature. If you don’t know what the appropriate arrangement is, get your inspiration in any printed book and learn from the way they put the headings compared to the major text.


Either vertically or horizontally, any element should always be on some sort of a grid. Because when they are appropriately aligned, readers can scan down the content without having to glance around. So, it makes for a better, more enjoyable and comfortable study experience.

Video-Type Content


You should speak in a friendly manner like you’re chatting with an actual friend rather than teaching an e-class. This way, the video will come out not too dry but more interesting and engaging to the students.

In audio lessons, your voice is the only bridge connecting you and your students. So, make sure everything is as perfect as possible. For example, try to acquire an external microphone – it is the best equipment to increase audio quality.


Even simple production value can be improved with just the help of better, professional lightings. Just try to set up your lighting in such a way that it doesn’t look like you’re about to take a role in some horror movie.

Your desk lamp will do, just use at least two lights and at different angles. Or you can reposition your table to get better lights. Whatever you do, do some test runs before recording to preview your appearance on the camera.


Online education is quite new, so there isn’t a particularly fixed method to do it, nor is there an identical feeling about it. Some instructors might miss the traditional, face-to-face contact with actual students, while others may even enjoy the freedom due to not being tied to strict schedules like when they’re teaching an online college course.

Such freedom not only allows college lecturers to share their knowledge, it even provides them with the flexibility to work from anywhere and at any time that is convenient for them. Not to mention that online teaching provides an exciting opportunity for career development for all educators. With some thoughtful research and well preparation, you could easily find yourself on the head of the e-educational organization.

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