ATLIS | Athens Technology Learning & Innovation Space

Guide to Moving Your Course Online

Moving a course online can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. The structure of courses can vary significantly. Knowledge and skills being taught, course materials, teaching strategies, assessment types, available technologies, and skill and knowledge of students and instructors, are just some of the factors that determine the structure of a course. When transitioning from a traditional or hybrid course to an online venue, sometimes these components need to be changed. Here are some things to consider when contemplating those changes.

6 Key Elements of an Online Course

  1. Syllabus – Provides basic information about the course
  2. Schedule – Contains current date and times for meetings & assignments
  3. Announcements – Communicates critical daily & weekly information
  4. Lesson Modules– Contain content and materials for each lesson, such as textbook readings, video lectures, PowerPoints, discussion boards, etc.
  5. Assignments – Contains specific information about an assignment, along with the submission link.
  6. Tests & Quizzes– Can be administered in Blackboard, and proctored using Honorlock or LockDown Browser.
Things to Consider When Moving Your Course Online

In online courses, all information must be explicitly and deliberately shared. Develop a plan to regularly communicate with your students through Announcements, Email, Discussion Boards, Texting, etc.

One of the key benefits of face-to-face instruction is the high level of informal interactivity that is automatically present. This is not the case in online, and is what your students will miss the most. Develop a plan to meet this need through Synchronous meetings, using Zoom or Collaborate. Phone conference calls is another way to do group meetings. is a free service that allows you to conduct phone conference calls with up to 1,000 participants.

Many of your students may be unfamiliar with the online environment, and feel confused about what to do, when. Post a schedule that helps them quickly access this information.

Since much of your content may have been lectures or classroom presentations, you’ll need to convert them to another format. One option is to hold synchronous meetings, using Zoom or Collaborate. Another is to make video recordings of lectures (using TechSmith Relay), and post them on your course site. You may also consider posting your lecture transcript, and your PowerPoint slides, for students who may not have reliable access to the internet. If you haven’t already, arrange these (and all other lesson materials) in separate weekly modules in your course site.

Even though your students may be able to piece together information about their assignments using the Schedule and Syllabus, creating a separate Assignment item for each assignment puts all this info in one place, allowing you to provide rubrics and other detailed information there. Most importantly, the Assignment tab has a submission button, where students can upload their completed assignment.

While pen and paper tests are often administered in face-to-face courses, with the instructor providing the proctoring, this is not available in online instruction. Creating a test from scratch in Blackboard isn’t an easy task. It must be created item by item, or imported as a specially formatted Word document into Respondus. Both are time consuming. Take a moment to consider alternate means of assessment. Is there an assignment or essay (or series of essays) that could provide the same level of assessment? Another approach is to post your test as a Word document in the course site (or email it) to your students at the time of assessment, and give students an appropriate amount of time (1-2 hours) to complete and return the exam (by posting to an Assignment, or email).

How to Get Help With Your Course

Your College has designated faculty members with advanced online skills to help you. Please reach out to your College to contact these persons.

We have assembled a special collection of Guides & Tutorials on moving courses online. Please consult these guides.

We will be conducting live Zoom webinars to assist faculty in moving courses online. The number of persons who can attend each webinar is limited, so that we can address individual needs. Look for the registration links in this brochure.

Due to the increased level of need, individual support is extremely limited, and walk-in support is not available. Individuals can request support by submitting a Help Dest ticket. You will be contacted as soon as possible to discuss your needs. We appreciate your patience!

Getting Started Moving Your Course Online through a Live Zoom Meeting
Need help? Got questions? Don’t know where to start? Join fellow colleagues and ATLIS in an informal, live meeting on Zoom. We cover basic info and answer your questions during these 1-hour sessions. Please note: attendance to each session is limited to just 10 persons, and you MUST register for a session. Click on a button below to register

Helpful Tips and Suggestions

  • Communicate with your students as soon as possible. You can use Blackboard’s email tool to reach out to your students. Be sure to post an announcement for them to regularly check their student email accounts.
  • Build an FAQ section in your Discussion Boards that answers common questions students are asking.
  • If you choose to meet through Zoom or Collaborate, have an alternate plan, (such as phone conferencing – visit, just in case you or your students have internet problems.
  • Get started early developing your plan for tests and quizzes. Most solutions for delivering this online are rather time-consuming.
  • Build your lessons sequentially. Complete the building of one lesson before moving on to the next one.
  • Engage your students in helping each other. Encourage them to study in groups (through Zoom, Collaborate, Free conference call, or some other tool they choose).
  • Identify a colleague who may have a little more knowledge and skills in online instruction, and consult with them as much as you can.
  • Try to connect to the internet through a wired connection. You will get a much better connection! (And share this with your students.)
  • Develop options and alternates for students that cannot connect to the class, or complete the course.

ATLIS | Athens Technology Learning & Innovation Space