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Setting up your digital classroom

A classroom is a powerful educational tool. It gives us focus: it contains a learning community and it signals a common purpose. We know when we’re in class, and we know that everyone in the room is there for the same reason.

When teaching online, we lose the signifiers of the physical classroom. Because some of us are new to the online teaching environment and because those online environments are not as standardized as physical classrooms, we have an obligation to teach our students about the structure and processes of our online learning environment. In other words, for our students to learn effectively, they must also learn what your classroom looks like and how it operates.


Instructional strategies in traditional and online courses

In an online course the faculty role shifts from that of “telling” students and controlling the classroom to that of becoming a facilitator who coaches, guides, and mentors students toward solutions (Boettcher et al., 2021; Palloff & Pratt, 2011).



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Share your ideas, successes, and questions with your colleagues

As we develop greater capacity to teach online, we will all benefit from the support of our colleagues. Seek out ways to spread what you have learned outside of your program, department, and school. Take advantage of the CELTT and University Interactions to find out who would benefit from what you learned teaching your class.


For the purposes of this document:

  • a synchronous course has some scheduled online meetings
  • an asynchronous course has no synchronous elements. All work is self-directed and is due by regular deadlines (frequently weekly) clearly stated on the syllabus and in regular class announcements.

Drafted by Dr. Aaron Wachhaus, John Chapin, and the Online Learning Subgroup


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Online Teaching Handbook Copyright © 2021 by The Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Technology at The University of Baltimore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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