Faculty Discuss Online Teaching – Pt. 2

Core Components of Online Courses

When designing an online course, practical advice from those with experience can be invaluable. In these short videos, Northeastern faculty walk you through aspects of the courses they built and describe things they learned while teaching them.

Practice and Feedback

We learn best through a combination of doing and getting feedback on how we’re doing.

These faculty not only learned the importance of giving students goal-directed practice and targeted feedback in an online setting, but also developed resourceful ways to do so without overextending themselves as teachers.

“If I make materials available so they can check their work and see if they got it right or wrong, they’re much more engaged in the process. They spend time on their own–and a lot more time on the homework–checking what they know and don’t know.”
– Peggy O’Kelly, Accounting


Assessment of any kind helps keep students informed about their progress and accountable for their efforts. In an online environment, assessment can take many forms, from traditional papers to strategically embedded quizzes.

These faculty learned to adapt what assessments they used and how they weighted them, as well as to map assessments to course-level objectives.

“You can go through a program and within that program you can stop and say, ‘before you move on, you have to pass this quiz.’ It’s a built-in mechanism. It’s like having a clicker in class.”
– Richard Strasser, Music

Content Presentation

Faculty teaching in any format must curate and synthesize course materials for their students. In an online environment, tools to accomplish this can include narrated slideshows, synchronous web conferencing, videos and screencasts, and interactive content modules.

These faculty describe how they presented their course content and how this benefited students’ engagement with the material and even with the faculty themselves.

“In Week 2, I meet with the teams. They say what’s going on–they share their screen, they share a document–and we can really have a dialogue.”
– Tristan Johnson, Engineering

Learn more in Faculty Discuss Online Teaching – Part 1 and Part 3