Educator Courses

Designing for Online Learning

  • Dates

    November 9 - November 13, 2020
  • Cost for members

  • Cost for non-members


    Registration closes at 7pm ET on Thursday November 5.

    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 intentionally designed to be a light lift. These topics could be explored in greater depth, but, right now, we have intentionally designed an interactive and introductory learning experience for teachers focused on the tangible and practical elements of online learning.

    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

    As schools navigate a closure, 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. At the end of this page, we provide a list of organizations and resources for aspects of school closure that are outside of teaching and learning.

    We know that communication with families is top of mind for school leaders. It’s also something for teachers to consider: how do I communicate with families? We don’t explicitly cover this topic in the course; we recommend that schools develop a streamlined approach for faculty communication with families.

    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.

    What to expect

    Click on our short video below to hear us address some of the frequently asked questions and learn what to expect if you are taking a course with us this summer.


    What to Expect When Taking a GOA Professional Learning Course: Summer 2020


    How much does the course cost?

    The course is free for any educator that currently works in an independent, international, public, or charter school. Due to the nature of the course, this is not a space for promoting products related to online learning. This is to protect the integrity of the course. Please respect this rule.

    I would like to enroll a team of educators from my school. How do I do that?

    Please complete this form and email it to We will bulk enroll your participants for you. The deadline for enrolling teams is Thursday, August 27 at noon ET.

    How much time should I expect to spend in the course?

    We anticipate 45-60 minutes each day of the course, Monday through Friday, or about 3-5 hours. The course is entirely asynchronous for maximum flexibility. There are no specific times you must be logged in, though they expectation is that you are working each day following the pacing guide within the course. We will keep the course open after the course ends so that educators can continue to use the resources.

    When should I register?

    Now. Registration will close once we are full. Please do not delay in registering. If you register and then CANNOT attend, let us know, and we can then offer your place to another educator.

    What technological requirements does this course have?

    This course will take place in GOA’s Canvas instance. It’s very likely your existing set-up has all of the specifications you need to participate. For a precise list see here. Also, please note as of March 2020, Canvas is not supported in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the region of Crimea.

    What happens if I have trouble registering?

    We will happily enroll you via email. Send an email to with the subject “Designing for Online Learning Course Enrollment”. Please identify the issues you're having including screenshots. If you also complete the following fields, we can try and register for you after we've resolved the error.

    Full Name:




    What happens after the course is over?

    If your school needs more coaching or consulting specific to your context, email us at and describe what you need. We will place priority on working with our 93 member schools.

    We will be offering additional programming, including a deeper dive into online learning for educators in coming weeks and months. Sign up for our newsletter for upcoming programming announcements.

    What additional resources for school closure and online learning are available?

    Please see GOA's COVID-19 Resource page for the most up to date resources.

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    Let's talk.

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