Designing for Online Learning

  • Dates

    open now; self-paced
  • Cost for members

  • Cost for non-members


Designing for Online Learning is available for registration as a self-paced course. Register now and you will gain access to the course within 1-2 hours.

Course Description

Our current global context requires developing and implementing remote learning plans when it becomes impossible to keep brick and mortar schools open. Educators may not know how to get started or may want specific strategies to ensure quality online learning experiences for students. Our new course, Designing for Online Learning, is a “nuts and bolts” primer on online teaching and learning for educators.

At Global Online Academy (GOA), we teach thousands of middle and secondary school students every year across the world in our online Student Program. For the past nine years, we’ve gathered students and educators to learn in online spaces, and we have created a framework that expands the walls of a traditional school and enables students to learn anywhere.

This course will cover the fundamentals of designing high quality online learning experiences. We’ll explore the possibilities and limitations of online learning, the development of relationships and human connections in online spaces, the essentials of page design and navigation, and the design of learning experiences and assessments in online environments. You will learn quick strategies and tools that you can implement immediately as well as gain access to experienced online teachers and a networked global community.

For virtual learning opportunities to be successful, teachers and school leaders must be aware of the pedagogy and tools that enable student learning. Essential questions tackled in the course include the following:

  • What does great learning look like in online spaces?
  • How might teachers design for community, connection, and student support in online spaces?
  • How might teachers design learning experiences that are easy to navigate, intuitive, and interactive?
  • How might students demonstrate and provide evidence of their learning in online spaces?
  • How might teachers collaborate with one another in online spaces?

We offer four themes that form the bedrock of the student experience in online learning. Each of these topics are modules in the one week course.

  1. Student Agency: Designing for students to be engaged and independent learners
  2. Relationships: Building community and supporting wellness in online spaces
  3. Wayfinding: Designing student learning experiences in online spaces
  4. Assessment: Creating assessments and providing feedback in online spaces

What this course is

The course is self-paced and designed to be explored on your own. We have intentionally designed an introductory learning experience for teachers focused on the tangible and practical elements of online learning. At the end of the course, you will have the option to earn a digital credential in the form of a badge. Please follow the directions inside the course in order to earn your credential upon completion.

The course is about teaching and learning. Specifically, the course is about teacher design moves that ensure a smooth transition to online learning. For some of you, the course may be a new foray into online learning. For others, it may be an opportunity to learn new strategies. Either way, you will find something tangible and practical to use with students.

What this course is not

We recognize the many competing demands leaders and educators are managing. When a physical school closes, for whatever reason, there are policy needs, legal considerations, communication concerns, human resource complexities, and more that demand attention. The course does not cover these topics.

A note on audience and scope

GOA’s Student Program has over 3000 7th-12th graders each year in fully online courses. While much of our middle and high school experience may be relevant to elementary school teachers, we recognize the unique challenges inherent in online learning for younger students. This course is primarily geared towards educators who teach upper elementary, middle and secondary school students.

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