How to Conduct an Online Class

  • Ideally, you want to have the whole course planned, prepared, and created before it is offered to ensure consistency and to maximize learner experience. But there’s nothing wrong with taking it one unit at a time.


Planning your course

Reevaluate your Current Course Structure

What specific learning outcomes need to be achieve?

How much time will you allocate for moderating your online course?

  • Think about your module/unit/lesson layout and decide how long you want your learners to spend on it.

  • Align your module/unit outcomes with course outcomes.

  • Decide how you want to roll this out: Synchronously?
  • Asynchronously?
  • Or a combination of both?

Gather your Content Materials

Gather the content and resources you currently use for your face-to-face course.

Build your unit lesson around them.

Content materials include slides, videos, websites, articles, textbooks, anecdotes, etc.


Curate your content carefully. Always check for relevance, timeliness, and context. 


Take care to not put too much in the online course. Too many resources can overburden and confuse your learners unnecessarily.

Plan your Assessment Strategy and Scoring Rubrics

Provide detailed rubrics for all graded activities that clearly explain what the expectations are for each assignment, and how learners will be assessed.

Design assessment activities that are engaging for your learners but can also assess multiple learning outcomes.


  1. Quizzes – are efficient for delivering immediate feedback to learners, but a lot of quizzes and tests can increase cheating/sharing of answers and decrease engagement. 
  3. Discussions – encourage critical thinking and knowledge sharing between all classmates. This requires a bit of moderation on your end, and including too many may cause learners’ responses to decline as they progress through the course.
  5. Dropbox – easily allows various drafts and requirements to be submitted and assessed, but will require timely instructor feedback to be meaningful, preferably with the aid of a set of rubrics.

Writing the Content

Determine Tone

Think about the tone of your course: should it be extremely academic or more conversational?

Keep in mind that the best courses with the highest learner engagement tend to be those that read more like a conversation than a textbook.

Write the Lessons

Consider the content and resources you gathered, along with course outline, as you write your lesson and build around those.

For a better learning experience, your resources should be supplementary to YOUR content and only be used when they enhance the lesson.

Write your lessons or instructions as if you’re delivering it face-to-face.


You’ll want to provide an explanation of the topic, with examples and supporting details, where necessary, to give your learners a more comprehensive understanding of the topic/lesson.

Bullet Points vs. Paragraphs?

Use full sentences and paragraphs to fully develop ideas and demonstrate connections between concepts.

List examples of ideas that require no further explanation.

While bullet points work well on PowerPoint, they don’t translate well in online learning. Why? Because they often require explanation that is provided orally by the presenter.

So, unless you’re planning to have an audio recording of yourself explaining each slide, bullet points won’t be enough.

Provide Clear Instructions

Think about detailed and explicit instructions in an online environment.

Consider what questions students frequently ask in class and factor those in as you write.

The more thought you put into your instructions, the less students will email with follow up questions.

Avoid Redundancy

Provide several varying examples to support your topics that will help learners understand concepts more efficiently.

The beauty of online learning is that learners can go back and reread/rewatch content as many times as they need.


You don’t need to repeat what you’re saying over and over like you may do in a face-to-face classroom, so plan your content well to be clear, precise, and easy to understand.

Maintaining Learner Engagement

Build Interactivity

There are many BigSky Benilde tools, such as: Discussions (and its Group function), Activity Feed (real-time social media-like discussion thread), and Virtual Classroom

Think about what you do in the classroom to make a topic interactive and engaging – discussions, active participation, group/partner assignments, etc. 

  2. Explore other BigSky tools to increase interactivity and enthusiasm such as Awards (badges and certificates for gamification), Activity Feed (social media-like discussion thread), Virtual Classroom (for video conferencing), and a multitude of Google apps to provide infinite possibilities for integrating engagement into your content page. 

Visual Appeal

Do you feel energized looking at the lesson? Why or why not? Are there sections of content that you or your learners just gloss over?

Add additional headings, images, callout boxes, and colours that require minimal effort but can significantly increase the amount of time learners spend on a particular page.

Be sure to source your audio-visual resources responsibly. Always check for Creative Commons licenses and use rights. 


Responsible digital citizenship begins with us.

Take Advantage of Personalized Learning Opportunities

Cater to Multiple Learning Styles

With online learning, there are more opportunities to customize learning to accommodate multiple learning styles and preferences.

Variety is the key to maximizing the learning experience

  • Consider presenting each topic using a variety of text, images, videos, and interactive tools to provide something for every type of learner. 

Be creative – make your own videos or audio recordings to present some of the content in a more contextualized and appropriately chunked manner.

Individualized Learning Paths

Use Individualized learning paths to maximize the opportunities of the online environment and the web to provide additional resources and practice to learners who may be struggling without forcing those who get it to sit through additional explanation.

Your BigSky course is already equipped with artifical intelligent features like Release Conditions and Intelligent Agent.


Consult your friendly neighborhood Tech Coach. or set up an appointment with CIRC-EdTech’s resident Instructional Design Associate to learn more.

Additional Things to Consider

Increasing Efficiencies

Don't want to get plagued with answering the same question from several students via email?

Consider using a Discussion board or Activity Feed for class FAQs so you can moderate and answer one student’s question for the whole class to see.

The benefit of this discussion is other students are likely to answer these questions for you, which creates a more collaborative classroom.


Also, you don’t have to use social media platforms to connect with students if you don’t want to.

Constantly Improve

Online courses should never be set in stone – there’s always room for improvement.

Once you’ve run the learning unit once or twice, tweak it to enhance the learning experience for the next cohort.


Use questions that students ask to help identify what you should modify/clarify.


Or maybe you found students struggled with one topic or lesson; go back and review that lesson to determine what can be improved (instructions? tone? style of presentation? level of engagement?).

Effective Practice diagram - Plan, Do, Check, Change

Always be on the look-out for new tools and techniques to make the online parts of your course the best it can be, just as you would in a face-to-face class.