Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

Consultation Services and Training

IT Services provides one-on-one consultations and training in how to use the Blackboard Learn 9.1 course management system and CELT provides instructional design, design, and Blackboard consultation services that you may request by completing an online request or by calling (260) 481-6354.

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Syllabus and Online Course Design

The Purdue University Fort Wayne Online Course Design Standards (PDF) provide the research-based standards articulated by CELT’s Online Course Design Review team as the critical features needed in an online course. View the results of the 2016 survey of 62 teachers to see how many Purdue Fort Wayne online faculty used each of the standards. 

Please contact IT Services or CELT if you want to know more about creating web-accessible files.

Syllabus Template (Word).

If you want to develop a syllabus for a hybrid course, with part classroom and part online learning, you may use this same template. But in in your content, explain what types of activities will take place in the classroom and the types that will take place online. In addition, in your course schedule, clearly label what will be the “Classroom” and what will be the “Online” activities and materials.

The following files provide examples of web-accessible syllabi created by faculty at Purdue Fort Wayne.

Online Syllabus, NUR 30900, Beckman and Kessler (Word) – cross-references Baccalaureate Framework and General Education outcomes

Summer Online Syllabus, MUS Z393, Vernon (Word) – shows adaption for a summer schedule

Hybrid Syllabus, NUR 41800, Jordan (Word) – integrates two student populations, one fully online, and one hybrid.

The Course Map Worksheet provides guidance to plan your instructional activities to meet your course learning objectives/outcomes. The file is provided in DOCX format so that you may save and adapt it for your own course planning. 

Please contact CELT if you need advice and feedback on your course design.

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Blackboard Course Templates

Blackboard course templates are now available. The templates include a ready-made course organization that has been demonstrated to improve student satisfaction with the online learning experience. Also included are instructions for using the template, resources and support for on-campus and online students, a simple menu structure, and a host of other features that facilitate using Blackboard for teaching face to face or online. Contact Katie Jia, CELT Instructional Consultant and Designer, 481-6368, to gain access as an individual or as a department.

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Building Online Content

Some basic ideas on building online course content are given in a short article titled 12 Tips for the Online Teacher (PDF). You also can find substantial resources for building your course content in the Online Resources Handout at the Purdue Fort Wayne Library Guide on Using the Web to Build Course Content. Lastly, excellent strategies are offered in the following resources.

Online Teaching Tips (from several instructors). (Video 5:11)

Integrating Online Resources into your Teaching ( (Video 6:13)

Bonk, C. (2010). Planning an Online Course. (Video 9:52)

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Student Online Readiness

Online Readiness Surveys allow students to self-assess their readiness to succeed in online classes. You can try out the surveys we have created at the preview links below to see how they work in giving feedback and a list of supporting resources to students.

Best practice is to send out the survey to your students before the first day of class or add the survey link for students to use at your Blackboard course site. If you want to get a list of your students who have completed the survey or if you have questions, please contact Katie Jia.

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Accessibility Techniques

Give consideration to the ways in which your online course includes or complements the diversity of learners in your courses: students with physical and mental disabilities, diverse gender identities, ethnic and religious affiliations, and other characteristics. For further information see CELT's Learner-Centered Design Library Guide page, which offers a wealth of information and examples of best practices, instructions on how to make your documents and Powerpoints accessible, along with local and national resources and standards.

IT Services offers Web Accessibility training and resources on its Web Accessibility Training page.

Course Accessibility to Students is Standard 7 of the Purdue Fort Wayne Online Course Design Standards (PDF).

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Adding Images

Adding images to an online course can enhance student interest, give visual appeal, and can support key concepts. Basic ways to get started are provided in the file Photo Icons for Online Courses (PDF). These steps will help you in changing the size, cropping, and preparing images for use in Blackboard.

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Creating Banners

Adding a banner can visually identify and add a unique look to your Blackboard courses. We have provided three documents to help you design your own banner: Course Banners without photosCourse Banners with a photo, and Course Banners with multiple photos. Also the file Course Banners for use in Blackboard compiles all three documents in one for your convenience.

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Creating Tables to Organize Images and Text

Creating tables within your online courses can organize your images and text when you build course content. The file Creating Tables in Blackboard to Organize Images and Text will build upon the information provided in the photo icons document.

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Online Assessments

Another important part of building online content involves not just creating assessments, but building the information that students will need in order to prepare for online assessments. For this purpose, you will find practical tips and examples regarding tests and quizzes in Purdue Fort Wayne’s Assessment Tips for Online Courses in Blackboard 9.1 (PDF). For help in building tests, IT Services offers workshops and technical assistance that will be invaluable.

You also will want to consider how to prepare assignments that can reduce the likelihood of cheating in the online classroom. As you may already know, much research has been done on what works well and you can find practical guidance to provide students as well as “plagiarism proof tips” in “Plagiarism-Proofing” Assignments. (PDF)

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Online Teaching Practices

In planning your online course, you may want to know something about the best practices for teaching online, too. Among these are making effective use of discussions and keeping a strong personal presence in the online classroom. You will find excellent approaches in the following materials.

Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online (Boettcher, 2011) (HTML)

Conducting Effective Online Discussions (Video 6:49) (perspectives from several instructors at different universities, Australian Learning and Teaching Council)

Students Feelings and Desire for Sense of Community (Drouin & Vartanian, 2010) (PDF)

TIP: Many of the best practices for online teaching come from the best practices in classroom teaching. For example, if you already use productive discussions in the classroom, you are likely to have success in planning productive ones online. And, how you “grade” class discussions in a face-to-face class would be worth considering when planning how you will “grade” them online. Although you will want incentives for online participation, you will want to carefully evaluate the alignment of what you set up in online policies with the values you hold in your teaching and learning philosophy.

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Online Teaching Assistants

You may have the opportunity to have an online teaching assistant for your course. If so, you can get started with the areas of guidance for online TAs, sample teaching assistant guide, and the TA checklist template in Preparing Guidance for Online Teaching Assistants.

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Peer Review of Online Course Design and Materials

If you seek new ideas for your online course, are looking for affirmation of your course design, or you would like to gather evidence to document your teaching effectiveness, consider requesting a formative peer review conducted by one of eight Purdue Fort Wayne faculty who have been trained in peer review by Quality Matters ™, a national organization that has developed research-based standards for measuring online course quality. Your course will be reviewed using the Purdue Fort Wayne Online Course Design Standards (PDF). The process and the standards are described in the Purdue Fort Wayne Online Course Design Process and Standards document. Please use the Request for Services link to arrange for a review of your online course.

MERLOT, Multimedia Resources for Learning and Online Teaching (specific to Purdue Fort Wayne), offers peer review of online learning resources using carefully defined evaluation criteria. Visit the MERLOT web site, which contains a rich repository of free online teaching resources developed by faculty from around the world, for more details.

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Online Teaching Awards and Honors

Full and part-time faculty members who have taught online for 3 semesters or more may be nominated to receive the Award for Excellence in Online Teaching. Application deadline is the Monday following Spring break.

Blackboard Catalyst Award

Blackboard offers a number of awards that confer international recognition of faculty and staff who develop exciting and innovative online learning experiences. For details about the application procedures and to see exemplary courses, go to the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program web site.

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Online Teaching Journals and Professional Associations

For your further exploration, CELT also has prepared a list of Distance Education Publications, Organizations, and Networks (DOC).

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Online Teaching Resources

The CELT Library contains books about online learning and teaching. Helmke Library subscribes to an excellent newsletter, Online Classroom, published bi-monthly and filled with tips and tactics to enhance your students’ learning and make your life easier.

If you want to find out more about using other technology for teaching, you will find additional resource links at the other CELT Online Teaching sections. In addition to CELT Workshops and Conferences, each week the CELT Director sends out the “CELT Clipboard” announcing upcoming workshops and events.

If you are concerned about student readiness for online learning, you may want to use resources at the Continuing Studies site on Online Learning where you can find the “Online Orientation” tutorial (Video, 11:03) and other useful links for students. You also can find training videos, resources, and mobile learn resources for instructors and students at the following IT Services sites.

Instructor Resources for Blackboard Learn 9.1

IT Services Web Training (instructor and student resources)

Blackboard On Demand Learning Center for Students (tutorials and resources for students)

IT Services Knowledge Base (select Blackboard Learn to go to resources for online course building and use of online course tools)

Technology FAQs for Faculty (topics on technology support, wireless connections, and elearning)

Technology FAQs for Students (topics on computer labs, wireless, elearning, and computer training)


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Fall Teaching Conference "Teaching Naked": will be held on Thursday, August 22 2019 in the Classic Ballroom WU (126) from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Jose Antonio Bowen. Register here




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