Free classes available for faculty, staff and graduate student instructors

Shift to remote learning increases interest in professional development

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The sudden shift to remote teaching because of COVID-19 has increased interest in free classes offered by Penn State World Campus Faculty Development to instructors who want to improve their online teaching.

Enrollment in a five-week course for graduate students, OL 2500: Essentials of Online Teaching for Graduate Students, jumped from 133 in the spring of 2019 to 186 this past spring, according to senior program associate and faculty adviser Shawna Cassick. The course will be offered again in September.

“A huge motivator was COVID and moving to remote teaching,” Cassick said. “Overwhelmingly the end-of-course evaluations indicated that students took the course because of the sudden need to move courses from face-to-face because of the pandemic.”

Enrollment in other courses increased as well, Cassick said.

In addition to the graduate student course, World Campus Faculty Development will offer more than 20 free professional development classes for faculty and instructors during the fall 2020 semester. The courses, which can be either instructor-led or self-directed, start near the beginning of each month and range from a general introduction to online learning to courses on teaching military and adult learners, using the Canvas learning management system, assessment, accessibility and how to design a course. Instructor-led courses are taught by current Penn State faculty using a “faculty teaching faculty” model.

Participants in the courses can also earn six certificates, including a Graduate Student Online Teaching Certificate.

Many courses, including the foundational OL 2000: Essentials of Online Teaching, are offered multiple times during the semester. OL 2000 is an instructor-led course on topics including discussion management, assessment techniques, developing learning activities, reflective practice and planning for future development and community building. Since it was first offered in 2016, the course has had more than 900 enrollments.

The list of free courses offered this fall includes:


·       OL 2000: Essentials of Online Teaching 

·       OL 2200: Assessment of Online Learners

·       OL 2300: Teamwork in Online Teaching and Learning 


·       OL 3000: Supporting Accessibility for Online Learners 

·       OL 2000: Essentials of Online Teaching 

·       OL2150: Canvas Hands On 

·       OL 2500: Essentials of Online Teaching for Graduate Students 


·       OL 1000: Introduction to World Campus 

·       OL2100: Introduction to Canvas 

·       OL 2600: Course Authoring Accessibility Basics 

·       OL 3100: Teaching the Adult Learner 

·       OL 3800: Excellence in Academic Advising 

·       OL 2000: Essentials of Online Teaching 

·       OL 3300: Teaching the International Student


·       OL 3000: Supporting Accessibility for Online Learners 

·       OL 2200: Assessment of Online Learners

·       OL 3400: Online Course Design 


·       OL 1000: Introduction to World Campus

·       OL 3200: Serving the Military and Veteran Student 

·       OL 2200: Assessment of Online Learners 

For more information, visit the World Campus Faculty Development website.

Last Updated July 29, 2020