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eLearning

The Teaching Commons provides a wide range of support to help members of the York community with applying evidence-based pedagogy and leading practices to design and build effective learning environments that promote student learning. Our dedicated team of educational developers and instructional designer support our colleagues’ efforts in

  • Designing fully online/blended courses
  • Designing learning objects
  • Identifying and adopting York-supported technical tools for instructional purposes
  • Building learning objects on the eClass platform
  • Designing mechanism to collect student feedback for further improvement

Instructional Skills for Remote Delivery (ISRD)

In this 2-week course, instructors learn about an evidence-based lesson planning framework to help plan their course in a remote environment and try it out in brief lessons presented to a group of peers in Zoom.

To register or for more information, please visit the Teaching Commons Calendar

For questions about the ISRD, contact Mandy Frake-Mistak, Educational Developer mfmistak@yorku.ca

BOLD (Blended and Online Learning Development) Open Session

The BOLD Institute OPEN Session is virtually identical to Teaching Commons' regular eight-week, fully online BOLD Institute (Blended and Online Learning Development) course, but it has been modified for autonomous study and/or review purposes. It offers an opportunity to gain theoretical understanding, practical examples, and a whole host of highly useful resources for the pedagogy, planning, and hands-on production involved in designing, creating, and assessing eLearning activities in fully online or blended courses. BOLD OPEN is freely available to everybody, and contains the exact same content as the regular sessions, but without assignments, synchronous meetings, instructor assistance, or other obligations. All members of the York University community are welcome to check it out; access is granted automatically based on self-registration (followed by agreeing to a consent agreement).  

Here is the link to register


Certificate of Proficiency in Teaching for eLearning

Enhance your expertise in the pedagogy of online teaching and learning with this certificate, delivered wholly online. By completing five of the ten courses below in any order within a two year period and an additional summative project (see below), you will earn a Certificate of Proficiency in Teaching for eLearning from the Teaching Commons at York University. All courses are delivered entirely online and are highly participatory, with active facilitation by Teaching Commons staff. On average, each course requires roughly 6-8 hours of time - for more information, see the details for each course. 

By the end of this certificate, you will be able to:

  • Feel comfortable using York University’s learning management system, eClass, and preferred videoconferencing technology, Zoom.
  • Design and facilitate effective online discussion forums.
  • Create and share course content online.
  • Develop online assignments that engage students in deep learning.
  • Assess learning online in a variety of ways.
  • Apply pedagogical principles to the practice of teaching online.
  • Create and apply context-specific strategies to enhance student engagement and motivation.
  • Integrate principles of accessibility and equity in online courses.

These courses can be taken in any order, and can also be taken as stand-alone offerings. 

Summative Project:

In addition to completing 5 online courses, to earn the certificate participants must also create and share an overview of their online course with the Teaching Commons community (through a course syllabus, a short 10-15 min video tour, a blog post, or other means). Want to see what York U faculty have been doing in their online courses? Check out the database of summative projects by self-enrolling in this eClass.

To receive the certificate:

Simply register for and participate actively in each of the courses above, keeping a record of the dates for each course. When you have completed all five courses, please fill out this form and we will be in touch to discuss completion of the final summative project.

For questions about the certificate, contact Robin Sutherland-Harris, Educational Developer, at robinsh@yorku.ca

As educators, ensuring that we create and support learning environments that are both accessible and equitable is crucial. However, access and equity in eLearning environments can present a unique set of challenges, whether we are creating and sharing course content digitally, engaging students in "hot topics" through discussion forums, or deciding how best to administer high stakes online assessments. In this fully online course, participants will learn by doing through ongoing participation in weekly learning activities. Together we will test out strategies for using online technology to enhance access and support equity, explore relevant principles and frameworks to inform our online teaching, and troubleshoot common challenges.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to enhance the accessibility and equity of their online courses in a variety of pedagogically informed ways by:

  • Effectively selecting and integrating digital strategies to support student access and equity online
  • Creating course components that actively speak to and support access and equity in the online learning environment
  • Facilitating online learning activities that embrace key principles of access and equity
  • Recognizing the strengths and challenges of various approaches to online assessment when viewed from a perspective of access and equity

This course is typically offered in the Fall semester

Upcoming Course Dates: November 15-December 17, 2021

Register for the course here

Student engagement is a common goal whether you are teaching in a classroom, or online.  There are, however, added complexities to engaging students in the remote and online environment.  In this course, we will explore the challenges and barriers to engaging students remotely.  You will be introduced to the TEC-VARIETY framework, which offers evidenced-based solutions.  You will explore this framework on your own, and collaboratively with a small group of your peers, to discover how you can add some TEC-VARIETY to your online or remote course(s) to make them engaging, and to motivate your learners.

By the end of this course, participants will have:

  • Identified challenges for engaging students in a remote environment
  • Used the TEC-VARIETY framework to categorize a chosen challenge and describe a strategy that can be used to address this challenge
  • Discussed various challenges and solutions with peers to build a repository of ideas for engaging students in a remote environment

This course is typically offered in the Fall semester. An offering specifically for TAs is also typically offered in the Winter semester - check our calendar for details.

Upcoming Course Dates: September 13-October 8, 2021

Register for the course here

Looking to rethink your tests and exams for the online environment? Interested in exploring alternative assessments that might replace a traditional final? Join us for a fully online course in the practical pedagogy of alternative assessment strategies for eLearning. Participants will learn by doing as they workshop their own current assessment plans in light of best practices for online and remote teaching. This course is actively facilitated by a Teaching Commons instructor, and participants will be able to ask questions and access further support and resources by email, in online office hours, or through the course eClass site at any point.

By the end of this course, participants will have:

  • (Re)aligned course goals and learning outcomes with summative and formative assessments
  • Explored a range of online assessment strategies
  • Applied pedagogical best practices to the (re)design of online assessments
  • Practiced building online assessment tools using eClass

This course is typically offered in the Fall semester.

Upcoming Course Dates: October 18-November 12, 2021

Register for the course here.

Whether we teach in a traditional face-to-face classroom, a blended environment, or a fully online course, many of us make use of online forums to enhance student learning. Achieving an engaging online discussion, however, is easier said than done! In this fully online course, participants will learn by doing through ongoing participation in weekly discussion forums. We will explore strategies for creating effective prompts, apply best practices for facilitating vibrant and enriching online conversations of all types, and troubleshoot common challenges. We will explore how one’s approach to online discussion changes over the span of a semester- or year-long course, and integrate scholarship on eLearning into our understanding of effective online conversations.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to design and facilitate effective, pedagogically informed online discussion forums by:

  • Integrating forums meaningfully into online assessment strategies and/or learning activities
  • Applying strategies to support community building and/or communication
  • Encouraging deeper learning through instructor participation in online forums
  • Creating opportunities for students to practice self-directed learning through discussion forums

This course is typically offered in the Winter semester. An offering specifically for TAs is also typically offered in the Fall semester - check our calendar for details.

Upcoming Course Dates: January 17-February 18, 2022 (tentative)

Add your name to the course waitlist

Research suggests that frequent feedback on learning progress is key to student success in online learning. However, assessing student learning remotely can also be challenging, whether you are looking to give weekly graded feedback or are grappling with how best to ensure academic integrity for a final exam. In this fully online course, participants will learn by doing through ongoing participation in weekly learning activities. Together we will test out strategies for maximizing feedback to students while keeping the workload manageable, explore principles and tools to streamline grading, apply best practices for designing online assessments, and troubleshoot common challenges.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to effectively assess learning online in a variety of pedagogically informed ways by:

  • Effectively selecting and integrating eClass assessment tools to ensure regular updates on student learning and to balance instructor workload
  • Creating opportunities both for providing students with effective feedback and for receiving feedback that will help enhance online teaching and learning
  • Selecting, designing, and using rubrics effectively and appropriately for the online context
  • Recognizing when and why to make use of self and/or peer assessment

This course is typically offered in the Winter semester.

Upcoming Course Dates: February 21-March 25, 2022 (tentative)

Add your name to the course waitlist

Communicating course content to students is one of the biggest differences between teaching online and in a face-to-face classroom. While the lecture is a mainstay of the traditional classroom, the online environment presents several challenges to this approach, ranging from the technical (inconsistent internet access for students) to the cognitive (student attention dropping during a standard lecture). In this fully online course, participants will learn by doing through ongoing participation in weekly learning activities. Together we will model alternatives to the “standard” lecture, practice creative and efficient ways to convey content to students, apply best practices for designing online instruction of all types, and troubleshoot common challenges. 

By the end of this course, participants will be able to effectively create and share course content online by:

  • Distinguishing between essential core content and supplementary “nice-to-have” content
  • Identifying a range of alternatives to the traditional face-to-face lecture
  • Recognizing the advantages and disadvantages of synchronous vs asynchronous approaches, and when to use each
  • Taking into account accessibility, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property considerations when creating and sharing course content online

This course is typically offered in the Winter semester.

Upcoming course dates: March 28-April 29, 2022 (tentative).

Add your name to the course waitlist

There’s more to teaching online than eClass! Increasingly, educators are talking about “Zoom pedagogy,” “H5P plugins,” and a suite of different tech tools to enhance interactivity in their online classrooms. Join us in this wholly online course to explore strategies and technologies to boost interaction with and between your students. Whether you are looking to simply connect with students more effectively, increase engagement with course content and lectures, enrich your course with formative assessments, or ensure that your approach to interactivity is accessible and equitable, this course will provide opportunities for participants to learn, experiment, and share with colleagues through participation in weekly learning activities. In addition to Zoom and H5P, featured technologies will include Padlet, Mentimeter, and Kahoot, as well as others crowdsourced from course participants.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to effectively use interactive strategies in a range of online teaching technologies by:

  • Taking into account pedagogical considerations when evaluating which tech tool to use, and when
  • Creating opportunities to connect with students outside eClass
  • Engaging students interactively with course content or lectures
  • Designing interactive approaches to formative assessment
  • Applying interactive technologies to support access and inclusion

This course is typically offered in the Spring/Summer semester.

Upcoming Course Dates: Spring/Summer 2022 TBA

Add your name to the course waitlist

This course will focus on helping students make a successful transition between online and face-to-face teaching and learning environments by focusing on caring teaching practices. It will begin by introducing the concept of a Pedagogy of Care and apply this to both instructor and student well-being. Using this caring framework, the course will also invite participants to reflect on their teaching practices and consider the ways in which these practices might lead to a more flexible course in the future. The course will conclude by reflecting on the Engaged Teaching Framework to indicate where participants are currently positioned in their teaching practice, and how they can move toward a more community-informed approach to teaching. In this fully online course, participants will learn by doing through ongoing participation in weekly learning activities. We will consider challenges and strategies to help make the transition between teaching and learning environments as smooth as possible, while also focusing on the well-being of instructional staff and students.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to effectively support students in adapting to new teaching and learning environments by:

  • Critically evaluating a Pedagogy of Care to meaningfully support the well-being of both students and instructors in their own teaching context
  • Proactively and reflectively planning for flexibility during sudden changes to teaching and learning environments
  • Identifying potential future development in their teaching approaches using the Engaged Teaching Framework

This course is typically offered in the Spring/Summer semester.

Upcoming Course Dates: Spring/Summer 2022 TBA

Add your name to the course waitlist

While some assignments adapt relatively easily to the online environment, others present more challenges, ranging from the technical (managing group presentations online) to the pedagogical (ensuring students get timely and effective support). Rethinking assignments for online learning is a great opportunity to experiment with new approaches, streamline and polish assignment design, and consider how to use assignments to nudge student learning to the next level. In this fully online course, participants will learn by doing through ongoing participation in weekly mini-assignments. Together we will practice creative and efficient approaches to assignment design, apply best practices and pedagogical theory, and troubleshoot common challenges. 

By the end of this course, participants will be able to effectively develop online assignments that engage students in deep learning by:

  • Applying knowledge about engaging and motivating online learners to the design of course assignments
  • Selecting an appropriate approach to course assignments from a range of options
  • Creating opportunities to leverage peer-based learning through effective online group work
  • Ensuring that assignments are both authentic & relevant assignments for students as well as for the course

This course is typically offered in the Spring/Summer semester.

Upcoming Course Dates: Spring/Summer 2022 TBA

Add your name to the course waitlist.

Looking to get some hands-on time as you take the next step with your online or remote teaching? Join us for a fully online crash course in the practical pedagogy of eLearning as we use a range of learning activities to introduce core principles and best practices for online learning. Participants will learn by doing as they apply course learning to their own course(s) – whether you are updating or revamping an existing online course, moving a face-to-face course online for the first time, or experimenting with blended or hy-flex learning, this course will support you in developing a robust and pedagogically informed learning environment in eClass and beyond. This course is actively facilitated by a Teaching Commons instructor, and participants will be able to ask questions and access further support and resources by email, in online office hours, or through the course eClass at any point.

By the end of this course, participants will have:

• Made significant and meaningful changes to an existing course for enhanced online learning
• Explored a range of online learning activities from the student and instructor perspectives
• Applied pedagogical best practices to the design of online learning
• Practiced building online learning environments using eClass

This course is typically offered in the Spring/Summer semester.

Upcoming Course Dates: Spring/Summer 2022 TBA

Add your name to the course waitlist

BOLD Institute: Blended and Online Learning Development

The BOLD Institute is an eight-week, fully online program offered to course directors as an opportunity to gain both theoretical understanding and practical experience with the pedagogy, planning, and hands-on production involved in designing and assessing eLearning activities in their fully online/blended courses. Upon completion of this course, participants will be better able to apply sound learning theories and pedagogies to design and build various key components or learning objects of fully online/blended modules. No design experience is required.

To register or for more information, please visit the Teaching Commons Calendar

Teaching Commons Webinar Recordings

As part of the Teaching Commons' support for remote teaching, we offered a series of webinars where York faculty members with experience in online teaching and learning shared their expertise with the community. The menu below collects the recordings of these sessions. In order to view the webinar recordings, you may need to sign in to Zoom (https://yorku.zoom.us) using SSO with domain yorku and then your Passport York username and password. If you have any difficulty accessing the recordings, please contact Lisa Endersby, Educational Developer, lendersb@yorku.ca 

Maximizing Student Engagement in the Remote Environment by Associate Professor Claudia Chaufan

Experiential Education in the Online Environment: An Open Conversation with Kathleen Winningham (YU Experience Hub), and Lisa Endersby & Brian Nairn (Teaching Commons)

Flipping a Lab Class to Virtual Learning by Assistant Professors Brenda Orazietti and Sarah Evans

Strategies to Create Engaging Online Learning Environments by Nidhi Sachdeva

Gamifying the University Experience by Dr. Steve Gennaro

Communication, compassion, and community in eClass by Dr. Linda Carozza

Assessment Structures in Moodle: How to use assessment and other Moodle tools to guide your students through online learning by Professor Mary-Helen Armour

Moving labs online: strategies and lessons learned from a large lab-based anatomy class by Professor Nicolette Richardson

Going in the Deep-End: Batch-Generating Question Banks for Moodle Quizzes by Professor Karen Bernhardt-Walther

Designing and Scaffolding an Online-based Student-led Group Project by Professor Olga Makinina

Designing Online Learning Environments Using Principles of Microlearning by Nidhi Sachdeva

Creating Workable and Engaging Online Lectures by Professor Carolyn Podruchny

What you see is (not necessarily) what they get by Professor Ron Ophir

Facilitating an Oral/Practical Exam Using Zoom by Professor Michael Boni

The SmART Way to Teach and Learn Skills by Dr. Iris Epstein

Maximizing Student Engagement in a Remote Classroom by Professor Cameron Graham

Engaging Students Online Through Short Videos and Instagram by Professor Michael Longford

Using Voiceover PowerPoints for Online Teaching and Research Webinars by Professor Gary Spraakman

Connect, React, and Repeat by Dr. Linda Carozza

What to expect when you’re expected (to now teach online) by Dr. Steve Gennaro

March Webinar: Avoiding Death by PowerPoint by Ms. Brittany Starkman

Grading with Crowdmark by Dr. Tamara Kelly & Dr. Hovig Kouyoumdgian

Giving Feedback that Encourages a Growth Mindset by Dr. Natasha May & Dr. Alice Kim

Use Problem-based Learning in Class by Dr. Celia Popovic & Dr. Yelin Su

Write syllabus for blended/online delivery by Dr. Lisa O’Neill & Dr. Yelin Su

Copyright, Open Educational Resources, and teaching by Dr. Lisa O’Neill & Dr. Yelin Su

AIF Category II proposal development by Dr. Lisa O’Neill, Dr. Yelin Su & Kathiga Sandrasi

Designing Assessment to Drive Learning by Dr. Natasha May & Lisa Endersby

Effective Online Instruction with Moodle by Dr. Yelin Su & Mr. Sairam Chinnam

Effective online assessment strategies using Moodle by Dr. Yelin Su & Mr. Sairam Chinnam

Recording 
PPT: Effective online assessment strategies using Moodle
Resource: Carnegie Mellon University: Creating and Using Rubrics

Active learning strategies by Dr. Mandy Frake-Mistak & Dr. Yelin Su

Make your lecture class interactive with technology by Dr. Yelin Su & Dr. Genevieve Maheux-Pelletier

Using turnitin as a teaching tool II by Mr. Sairam Chinnam

Including and assessing reflective learning by Dr. Genevieve Maheux-Pelletier & Dr. Yelin Su

Book a Consultation

Questions? Looking for more information? Contact a member of our Teaching Commons team.

Yelin Su, Educational Developer

Robert Winkler, Instructional Designer

Our services are available through a broad range of venues, including:

  • Going Remote Site
  • Regular courses and certificate programs
  • Workshops and Webinars
  • Sample eLearning course and template (BOLD open)
  • Tool tutorials and sample projects (future H5P projects)
  • Individual consultations (by appointment)

If you have questions or would like to book an individual consultation, please email bold@yorku.ca