Learn about the online instructional environment, envisioning your online course, developing a web course, phases of design and development, design guidelines, and more.

Discover the principles behind the adoption of technology innovation and the nature of the online learning environment. Then get tips for planning your online course, identifying resources and design guidelines.

Discuss the phases of design and development and models, motivating student-student interaction, and managing interaction.  Get the latest information on copyright issues, assessment and evaluation.

Your instructor is co-author of the book "The Online Teaching Survival Guide,"  which you will receive in the mail with this course.

Two week course, includes book, Rita Marie Conrad, instructor.

optional additional $40 USD paid later for graduate credit from the University of South Dakota.

 outlineCourse Outline

Unit 1
Overview of the Online Instructional Environment
  • Internet basics
  • Principles behind the adoption of technology innovation
  • The nature of the online learning environment

Unit 2
 Envisioning Your Online Course

  • Types of web courses
  • Preparing for the move to the Web
  • Analyzing your current course
  • Planning your web course
  • Identifying resources
  • Design guidelines

Unit 3
Developing a Web course

  • Team vs. Individual approach to development
  • Phases of design and development
  • Models of web courses

Unit 4
Online Interaction

  • Online collaboration
  • Creating an interactive environment
  • Motivating student-student interaction
  • Managing interaction

Unit 5
Issues in the Web Environment

  • Managing email
  • Facilitating discussions
  • Class size
  • Copyright

Assessment and Evaluation

Question MarkAbout online learning

Online learning is a fun, enjoyable and very productive way to learn. Millions of people are learning online each year. You will engage with the instructor and other participants. You will get to know your instructor and other participants. You may make friends.  It’s easy. It’s fun. 

GearsHow the Course Works

It is easy to participate in your online course. After you register, you will be given a web address to go to get into your online classroom.  You will have a password and use your email address and password to gain access.

Once inside the online classroom, here’s what you can expect.

CalendarParticipate when you want

You can participate any time of day or evening. The online classroom is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are no live real-time requirements or meetings. You decide when you participate.
For the best learning, participants should log into the course on 2-3 different days of the week.

ChecklistWhat you will do

  • Readings are assigned for each day from the textbooks provided at registration.
  • Have the option of accessing the online readings
  • Listen to the audio presentation for the Unit and view the slides
  • Engage in written online discussion with your instructor and other participants

The content (readings, audio lectures, slides) and self quizzes are accessible for the entire course, so you can work ahead, or go back and review again, at your convenience.


The Discussion for each Unit lasts one week. All comments are made in writing and can be made at any time of the day or night.

Your instructor will log into the Discussion area at least once a day and answer questions, make comments, and respond to comments by you and the other participants.

We encourage you to make 2-3 comments each day to maximize your learning and enjoyment of the course.

It’s easy. It’s fun.

Next offering(s):

Advanced Teaching Online
June 5 - 30
September 5 - 29

Designing Online Instruction
May 1 - 12
October 2 - 13

Fostering Online Discussion
July 3 - 28
November 6 - December 1

Add Certificate To Cart
$795.00 USD

Ave. hours 16, 1.6 CEUs/ILUs

$195 USD

About Your Instructors

Dr. Rita Marie Conrad

Rita-Marie Conrad, PhD is a consultant, online educator and award-winning author.  Over her 20+ years in the field of Education she has assisted in the development of several online degree programs and taught numerous online courses on various aspects of online course design and facilitation.  Rita-Marie has co-authored several books: the Faculty Guide for Moving Teaching and Learning to the Web, the Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips, Engaging the Online Learner which received the 2012 IAP Distance Education Book award, Continuing to Engage the Online Learner, and Assessing Learners Online.  She holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems and M.Ed. in Educational Media and Computers.

Rita has consulted on the design and implementation of online learning courses, evaluated online programs, managed technology-related projects, and provided educational technology consulting and training to K-12 teachers and higher education faculty. She interacts with hundreds of faculty as an online instructor for courses such as Designing Online Instruction sponsored by the Learning Resources Network (LERN). She has presented at conferences sponsored by the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE), the University of Wisconsin, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, League of Innovation, and the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT) on a variety of online learning topics.

She co-authored two books with Judith Boettcher, Faculty Guide for Moving Teaching and Learning to the Web in 1999 and 2004,and The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (2010). She wrote Engaging the Online Learner in 2004 with J. Ana Donaldson, and Assessing Learners Online in 2008 with Albert Oosterhof and Donald Ely. Rita has a Ph.D. in instructional systems from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in educational media and computers from Arizona State University.

What some students say:

"I learned a lot from this experience and feel that I gained from the class what I had hoped to, a better understanding of online instruction." -  Keith Johnson

"This course deepened my understanding of several aspects of on line learning. Thank you for your support, Rita." - Kathleen Cintavey

Directional ArrowsCourse Objectives

  • To provide participants with background information on the online environment and the principles behind the adoption of technology innovation with regard to the creation and growth of online courses;
  • To provide participants with an understanding of the nature of the online learning environment;
  • To give practical, how-to techniques for the design of online instruction, including the planning of online courses, identifying resources and design guidelines;
  • To provide the best information on the phases of design and development of online courses and models;
  • To provide expert experience and perspective to those already teaching online and to discuss advanced issues in teaching online.

Puzzle PiecesCourse Outcomes

At the end of the course, you will:

  • Possess the information necessary to understand the phases of design and development and design guidelines for online courses;
  • Know the key steps in how to design online instruction, including the planning of online courses, identifying resources and design guidelines;
  • Get answers to the most advanced questions about copyright issues, assessment and evaluation;
  • Have addressed and discussed the most commonly asked problems and issues related to online instruction. 
  • Have the knowledge necessary to successfully design an online course. 
Completion Requirements