Additional Help:  Center for Invocation in Teaching and Learning Resources


Welcome Professor! Here is a list of tips to help build your classes.

General Principles

As you think about your online course, bear in mind the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” (Chickering and Gamson)

  1. Encourage contact between faculty and students
  2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students
  3. Use active learning techniques 
  4. Give prompt feedback
  5. Emphasize time on task
  6. Communicate high expectations
  7. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning


You may find it helpful to read “Syllabus Planning: 10 Questions,” which discusses general principles of good syllabus development.

Course Design

  • Develop course objectives
    • Identify the key things students will be doing (and when) and you will be doing (and when)
  • Develop appropriate assignments, activities, and assessments (design template)
  • Design a schedule that optimizes student time on task and student flexibility, while promoting time for discussion, collaboration, and feedback from you
  • Write a description of what quality work looks like so you can set expectations and guide students
  • Give instructions for everything—make explicit things you might take for granted in a face-to-face class

Course Site Design Specifics

  • Use Announcements or Quickmail block rather than individual email for group communications
  • Place “First time here? Visit [name of your introductory session]” label just under Announcements
  • Place your Syllabus just under that
  • Place key activities under that, then the week-by-week, session-by-session instructions
  • Create space in the center of the page by minimizing or removing blocks on the left- or right-hand sides
  • Review Teaching and Technology Resources


  • Plan for a welcome video, midpoint video, closing video (Panopto or Google file embed tools can be used to share videos)
  • Plan for a photo upload and personalized introductions by you and students
  • Be responsive to student requests for help


The course material (books, texts, textbooks, articles, films, websites)

Your explanation/elaboration/interpretation of that material

If you are using video:

  • Use Panopto to upload or create a video of you/ your voice over documents, presentations, websites, drawings, etc. (Videos can be created multiple ways such as with your mobile device or laptop using Panopto recorder)  
  • Use Zoom to for online meetings, to create video of interactions or share collaboratively created presentations, etc.
  • Use DIY Studio to create high quality lecture videos or for class projects
  • Work with the Digital Media Studio for any high production quality videos you wish to create
  • Ask the Instructional Technology team if you need help implementing video tools

Student Engagement with material and course ideas

  • Have students do something with course content every course session (discussion, quiz, website,...)
  • Encourage students to react and respond to one another; create opportunities for students to collaborate, review drafts, co-present, etc.
  • Encourage students to revisit and revise their own views and show how their understanding has developed over the semester (‘initial thoughts’ posts, followed by guided responses; papers that build on discussion boards or journals; papers that critique or build on classmates’ work; reflective prompts to synthesize earlier points of understanding)
  • Design activities that both help students learn and help you gauge their understanding etc.
  • For synchronous interaction, use Zoom (in Course Site) or Google Meet


  • Provide frequent general feedback to the class on student work—with specific examples (in addition to pre-prepared material, add lecture or content that responds to student work)
  • Give weekly individual feedback of some kind or another to every student
  • Solicit feedback from students in week 1, 3 and 6. Report back to them on this feedback.
  • Ask the Instructional Technology team if you need help to determine more efficient ways to give feedback 


How to Create Effective Assessments

Effective, Efficient Grading of Student Learning

Need Help or Inspiration?

Contact an Instructional Technology Consultant

  • search for a keyword or topic
  • Watch recordings of Lehigh faculty discussing online teaching and attend CITL events
  • Ask to be added to our sample course by emailing

For More Tips on Teaching and Learning such as how to design a course, write learning objectives, plan assignments, and develop a course schedule: Please see our Resources Page

Already taught an online course?

Here is a checklist full or technical details to help you get started on how to copy over content, add TAs and more.

Course Site - Start of the Semester Checklist