Create an Online Course


Congratulations for choosing to create an online course.  First, you already have a wealth of experience.

  • In the classroom courses you teach you should have clear student learning outcomes.
  • You consistently create and assemble content that supports those outcomes.
  • You also create activities, interactions and assessments that help your learners meet the outcomes.

When you teach online you do the same, however you need to create your entire online learning environment before the course begins.

Create an Online Course is a working lab. You work on creating your online course. Collaboration occurs over the work you create in UH Google Documents and UH Google Sites.

Creating an online course is a lot of work. This workshop will get you started.

Also, online learning requires you take on new roles in the teaching-learning relationship. To be successful you must be willing to release control of learning to your students.

Teacher as Designer

  • Good course design is crucial, and yet good designers are under-valued. The “teacher as designer” is barely visible because this work is done before students enter the classroom. With good design, problems are not solved; they are dissolved, as they are less likely to happen.
  • The best designers are invisible.The goal is to fashion a course that places students in the center of the action so that they can move their projects forward.
  • Designing team projects takes time and effort. These projects must present students with challenging problems. The teacher must frame the problem and provide data to solve these cases. If the project is to reflect reality, the data should be incomplete, inconsistent, and redundant. A well-structured project will require students to wade through data to arrive at their own conclusions.
  • Good course design allows students to take ownership of the course. This empowerment of students by the instructor is the hallmark of a great leader…. Require students to learn by doing rather than by reading, writing, listening, and studying in solitude, and the virtual classroom will become the learning organization. by Edward Volchok 

Designing  an online course at begins the same place as a face-to-face course. You:

  • identify goals for the course,
  • describe the specific learning objectives,
  • define your tasks to meet those objectives, and
  • create applicable assignments around these tasks.

Although the fundamentals are the same, the techniques are very different for delivering the instruction and facilitating learner interaction.


Pedagogy refers to a directed learning approach to the teaching and learning process. Goals and objectives, content, instructional methods, and strategies all relate to pedagogy.

What Doesn’t Work

Directed learning provides knowledge within a specific area predominantly with the use of lecture and tools including memorization, questions and answers, and immediate feedback. Faculty members take on the role of the  “sage on the stage” and learners have minimal independence. This pedagogical model doesn’t work for adult learners since adult learners require an environment of learning that is less structured and more independent.  A directed learning approach for online learning is insufficient and creates substandard online courses.


In contrast, the term facilitated learning aligns with the andragogical approach to learning (adult learning). The educator acts as a “guide on the side” and is a resource for the students. Independent projects and student-led discussions create critical thinking opportunities. Andragogy assumes that adult learners possess five characteristics,

  1.  a developed self-concept,
  2. life experiences,
  3. a readiness to learn,
  4. an orientation toward learning,
  5. and an internal motivation to learn.

When designing college online courses, these  five components must be considered. The role of the instructor shifts from teaching children (traditional lecturer), to teaching adults (mentor/facilitator).

The Middle Way

Directed learning and facilitated learning fall on a continuum on opposite ends of the spectrum. If you have been lecturing your entire career, and new to teaching online,  you need to find the middle of the continuum and use strategies that will help you.  Guided discussions, group work, and problem-based learning are examples that characterize the middle of the continuum. Your goal is to create a collaborative learning environment between the educator and the learners.

 Social Presence

Effective online courses require a sense of a learning community the the social presence of the faculty member and interaction between learners. Learning always occurs and cannot be separated from a social context and the Internet and social media has greatly expanded social context.  Research has shown that learning is enhanced when it is collaborative. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions improves thinking and deepens understanding (Chickering and Gamson, 1987). 

Face-to-face course formats do not work online

As you begin to plan your online course keep in mind your goal is not to put your existing course online. Many face-to-face course formats do not work online. The classic example of this is the lecture class.

Example: The face-to-face version consists of a 3-hour lecture once per week, three papers, a midterm, and a final exam. Lectures are NOT interactive and interaction between students and the faculty member are minimal at best. Often the mindset is there is “a lot of content to cover” in the course and the teacher focuses in making sure all that information is conveyed.

It is quite easy to put this exact course online. Simply videotape each lecture, put the video on the web, have students submit papers via e-mail and take their exams online. What you end up with is a poorly designed online course where the faculty members role in the learning process is often questionable.

Moving content online is NOT about transferring content – it is about transforming content.

The online materials should be suited for both the environment and the online learning – and this process is part art, part science. Online learning is unique and the instructor must factor in the uniqueness of the medium. Based on decades of research on the undergraduate student experience, The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, developed by Art Chickering and Zelda Gamson in 1987, are a useful guide designing online learning environments.

  • Encourages contact between students and faculty,
  • develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
  • encourages active learning,
  • gives prompt feedback,
  • emphasizes time on task,
  • communicates high expectations, and
  • respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

In this article Arthur W. Chickering and Stephen C. Ehrmann describe how to leverage the seven principles using technology; IMPLEMENTING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES: Technology as Lever.

Daily Topic Content and Activities

Earn a Letter of Completion

Read, watch and review the weekly content. The heart of How to Create an Online Course are the planning documents you create. The weekly content prepares you to plan.

You earn a badge when you complete a step. Earn all 5 badges and you qualify for a Letter of Completion. This letter is a valuable piece of evidence for Contract Renewal, Tenure, and Promotion.

Introduce Yourself


  1. Craig Dieringer

    My name is Craig Derringer. I am full time faculty with the Kapi`aloni Community College EMS Department. I want to create an online EMS Leadership Course. I have developed an online course for Spring Arbor University and have taught that course twice a year for the past 7 years. I had not had any formal training for developing an online course. I proceeded from the perspective of having taken online courses and having taught undergraduate courses as an adjunct.

    I would like to earn the badges with this course as well. As a new full time faculty I believe this experience will enhance my ability plan and teach my courses.

    • Aloha and welcome Craig. What is an EMS Leadership course? Thanks for joining the workshop. I look forward to your planning ideas.

  2. Suzanne Finney

    My name is Suzanne Finney and I am a lecturer, primarily at UHWO but I have also taught at KCC. I teach introductory anthropology courses and am interested in learning more about online learning to further develop my skills and prepare myself for possible online teaching in the future.

    • Hi Suzanne! Welcome to the workshop. What course will you be creating?

      • Suzanne Finney

        I want to create an online ANTH 151: Emerging Humanity template. It’s the introductory course in human evolution and early civilization. There are a lot of resources online so I thought it would be a good choice.

  3. Kelli Nakamura

    Greetings! My name is Kelli Nakamura and I teach History and Ethnic Studies at Kapi’olani Community College. I teach both face-to-face and online courses but I want to improve the delivery of my online content to make my course more dynamic and rewarding for my students. I look forward to learning from all of you and improving my approaches as a teacher by embracing my role as a student in this format. Cheers!

    • Greetings Kelli. Welcome to the workshop. What does an dynamic and rewarding online course look like? Do you have an example?

  4. Valerie Hafford

    Aloha, My name is Valerie Hafford and I lecturer at Hawaii Community College. I have been teaching face to face for eight years and by offering one class as an online option would be ideal for many students. I would like to earn badges as well for my portfolio and hope that by taking these classes I can become more comfortable with teaching online. I did complete my MA. online eight years ago although, I’m sure much has changed since then…I think I have a fear of online teaching but by challenging myself, I hope to overcome it.. sigh…ok, let’s do this !

  5. Susan

    My name is Susan Waldman. I teach English Composition at Leeward CC, and I want to basically revise the online ENG 200 course I designed a few years ago. I need to condense the material into 6 weeks for a summer online course, and my current design needs refreshing and renewing.

    • Hi Susan. Great to see a Leeward CC participant! What is you current design and how do you intend to freshen it up?

  6. Jessica Delgado

    My name is Jessica Delgado from KCC I am currently learning how to set up an online course for some of our math classes here. We have a couple faculty retiring soon and I would like to be able to take over for them as far as online content goes.

  7. Marty Katz

    Aloha, my name is Marty Katz. I am an online HAWCC person. I inherited an online program that was made for summer school. With help, I converted the 10 week course to 16 weeks, but it needs a lot of work to make it more efficient for full semester work. I have had experience teaching online prior to coming to this college, but the bulk of my experience is lecturing and doing preceptorships and clinicals in hospitals. I would like to learn how to use all of the tools available to instructors in the Laulima program.

  8. Aloha Marty,
    Welcome to the workshop. What course are you revising?

  9. Krista

    Hi everyone, my name is Krista Hodges and I teach at Manoa, Hawaii Community College and UHWO (sociology and occasionally PUBA). I have been teaching online for several years and really believe that it is a vital component to making education more accessible for students. I am teaching a new course in the fall (Statistical Analysis I) so I thought this would be a great way to get the course set up. I would also love to learn how to better engage the students in meaningful ways. Another area of interest is building more technology into courses (texting, video assignments, blogs, etc) and I think that would be a good way to engage students (or at least some!).

    • Hi Krista,

      Welcome to the workshop. I look forward to your discoveries to engage students on statistical analysis. Do you use real world scenarios?

  10. Elizabeth-Rose M Kamakana-Juario

    Aloha! My name is Mahina Kamakana-Juario and I have been a lecturer at UHMC Molokai campus for 7 years teaching developmental English. I love teaching at this level and would like to continue at this level for as long as I can. Enrollment for courses is what keeps me teaching, but that isn’t always the case. I’d like to do both and I’m always looking at other ways to teach and reach students. I’m new to online learning even though my MA was done online which was completed in 2006 and that was totally new to me, but I did it. I realize this type of format has changed dramatically since then, but I am willing to try this new way of learning.

  11. Kelsie Aguilera


    My name is Kelsie Aguilera and I teach anthropology for Leeward CC. I have been teaching online for about two years now, as I offer two of my courses, ANTH 151 Emerging Humanity and ANTH 215 Biological Anthropology online.

    I started a face-to-face version of this workshop with Greg in the past, but I wasn’t able to complete it due to scheduling conflicts. I am hoping to complete it this time around and earn my Letter of Completion. But the greater goal of my participation in this workshop is to take my online courses to the next level. I am hoping to improve the quality of my online courses so that they are on par with the face-to-face versions. Looking forward to it!

    • Hi Kelsie,

      Great to see someone else here form Leeward CC. What do you mean by take your course to the next level? How do you intend to improve your online coruse?

      • Kelsie Aguilera

        Hi Greg,

        In general, I want to make my courses more streamlined and user friendly. I think the biggest change in that direction will be converting my courses to Google Sites, which I have been working on but haven’t completed yet. And if I learn new interactive tools and educational technologies in the process in this workshop, even better!


  12. Sheri Gon

    Aloha, my name is Sheri Gon. I’m an instructor in the Department of Medical Technology at UH Manoa. I currently teach Clinical Laboratory Management in a face-to-face course during the fall semester and online during the spring. This was necessary since students who take my course in the spring have other required courses that make it difficult to attend a resident course.

    Because there is a severe workforce shortage of Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS), I want to make my other course Immunohematology (blood banking) an online course. Hopefully, putting this and other MLS courses online will help educate and train neighbor island students. I’m not sure how I will conduct the psychomotor skills portion of this course. I’m hoping this workshop will give me ideas to successfully carry this out.

    • Aloha Sheri,
      Welcome to the workshop. How do other institutions conduct psychomotor skills at a distance? Do you know how to use video technology?

  13. Amanda Candēns

    Aloha mai kākou, I am a current graduate student in the Religion Department at UH Mānoa. I would like to create an online version of our foundations course Religion 150 Introduction to the World’s Religions. My undergraduate degree is in Hawaiian Studies and my graduate research focus is on female deities around the world, which I would eventually like to turn into an online course as well.

    • Aloha Amanda,
      Welcome to the workshop. Are you teaching Region 150? The subject should provide some interesting online conversations. What do student “make” in this course?

      • Amanda Candēns

        Aloha Greg,
        I am currently at TA in one of the REL 150 classes at UH Mānoa. I donʻt do the lectures but I do handle the grading. I’m not sure what you mean by what students “make”? The face-to-face classes comprise mostly of lecture, quizzes and exams. If the class is small enough the professor will include discussion but most often the REL 150 courses at UH Mānoa average between 100-200 students per class.

  14. Patricia Gooch

    Aloha, I am Patricia Gooch, an instructor in the Early Childhood Education department at Honolulu Community College. Several years ago, I developed a hybrid course, Early Mathematical Development. This course serves as an elective in our program and four math labs were woven into the semester. I know the face-to-face labs were well received, and I would like to further develop the online portion of the class.
    I have to admit that I will be retiring at the end of this semester, but this course is one that I still have high hopes for. I will need no badges.

  15. Pua

    Leave a Reply below with your name and the online course you want to create. Tell us a bit about yourself, why you are here, and whether you intend to earn badges toward a Letter of Completion, Lurk, or something else.
    Aloha mai kākou. My name is Pua Rossi-Fukino and I teach Hawaiian Studies at Kauaʻi Community College. I’ve taught online for two semesters, but I feel that I still have a lot to learn about the process. Next semester I am teaching History of Kauaʻi online and I really want to create a learning environment that encourages dialog and the creative process.

    I’m usually a “lurker,” but I’d like to earn a badge this time around. 🙂

    • Aloha Pua,
      Welcome to the workshop. What have you done online in the past that encourages dialog and creativeness?

  16. Cheryl Corbiell

    Aloha… I am Cheryl Corbiell and I teach for UH Maui – Molokai campus. I teach online through UH Manoa Dept of ED ELL courses for teachers and we outreach in the south Pacific. My first I love is my face-to-face classes on Molokai. I taught Skybridge, which was interesting and it forced me to start using Laulima more for student contact and assignments. I’ve tried the various common instruction formats. My current online classes, which I team teach are basically live content online. The university assessed them and was pleased, but the bar is not very high since they look at rigor more than anything. My face-to-face classes incorporate online exercises, submission, discussions, etc. (hybrid). I need to get out of my box because I am not satisfied with how I am struggling to reach today’s student in an effective manner. I have definitely seen a change in students over my teaching career.

    I am a part-time teacher, and don’t have the same self-development opportunities compared to when I taught full-time with a team of other instructors. We are small campus of almost all part-time teachers, so often we don’t even see each other. Courses such as this help me hear different perspectives from other instructors in diverse content areas. I have taken quite a few MOOC courses as a participant and a lurker. The perception of full-time staff in the UH departments I teach is part-time teachers are sub-standard, and water separates us from the main campus, So I desire the proof I have taken professional development for Maui, not for me.

    I do want to earn badges towards a letter of completion.

    The course I’m choosing is a Communications course – Public Speaking, which I have taught for years face-to-face and Skybridge. So it is time I look at it online. I might as well tackle a challenging content for online when the assignments need to be seen and heard.

    I look forward to learning from all of you as I step into the deep end of the pool. Greg proved to be a demanding and challenging instructor in another course, so I’m a bit intimated already just as all students are when they leave their comfort zone.

    • Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks for joining this workshop. Good to see your name again. Are you easily intimidated? Just kidding! Have you looked around to see what others are doing in online speech courses? there is a lot of good ideas out there. Have you ever had your students give a speech at Toastmasters?

  17. Norman Takeya

    Aloha, my name is Norman Takeya, an instructor at Honolulu Community College in the Architectural, Engineering and CAD program. I will be taking over a online class called AEC 118 Construction Materials and I wanted to see what other methods I could learn to apply to this class.

  18. Kelly Watanabe

    Aloha All, I am Kelly Watanabe and I am a lecturer at UH Maui College. I am in my 6th year as a lecturer and have taught classes in Developmental Math, business careers, and accounting. I would like to earn a certificate of completion. I have taught face-to-face, Skybridge, cable, and on-line courses. I am not satisfied with my online courses and would like to improve, especially in the area of student interaction. The course I would like to work on is BUS 125 Starting a Small Business.

    • Aloha Kelly,
      Welcome to the workshop. What a great course for online learning. Are you going to have students create a small business?

  19. Alapaki Luke

    Aloha mai kākou,
    My name is Alapaki Luke and I am an Assistant Professor and Division Chair in Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language at Honolulu Community College . I have been teaching since 2003 when I first taught HWST 107 at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at UHMānoa. I also teach Geography, Botany, and Hawaiian Language. I currently teach a hybrid course for Geography of Hawaiʻi, and I would like to convert the course to a full online coures. I would like to complete this workshop for a Letter of Completion.

    • Aloha Alapaki,
      Welcome to the workshop. Geography of Hawaii wi;; be a great online course. Do you use Google Earth and Google Maps?

  20. Christian

    My name is Christian Palmer. I am an Anthropology Instructor at Windward Community College. It seems like there are several of us Anthro people so that will be fun. I’m planning on working on ANTH 152 probably. I have already taught both ANTH 151 and 152 online a couple times but I would like to improve the courses. Also, I worked for an online university, Ashford University for a few semesters before starting here. Nice to meet everyone. I think I’ll try to complete the course unless things get crazy busy.

  21. Darci M.

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Darci Miyashiro and I am the Math Lab Manager at Leeward Community College. At the Math Lab we provide academic support for Leeward students enrolled in an online, face-to-face, or blended MATH course.

    I just finished a degree in Educational Technology and creating an online course was something that was not discussed in our program. I am interested in learning about the major components of creating an online class and how to keep students engaged in an online learning environment.

    I also hope to finish the course and earn a Letter of Completion.


    • Hello Darci,
      Welcome to the workshop. Good to see another Leeward CC participant. Waht course will you be creating?

  22. April Ching

    Hi! My name is April Ching and I hope to create an ENG 100/100s course online. I mainly lecture at HCC and HPU and I’m interested in improving my technology skills as they connect to my teaching. I’m working on skills for my interest in distance education and I’d like to better understand the differences between online and classroom engagement for students. I do hope to earn a badge.

    • Hi April,

      Welcome to the workshop. I look forward to seeing your activities for engagement with your ENG 100 students.

  23. Yuka Hasegawa

    Hi, my name is Yuka and I am a PhD candidate at UHM. I am currently teaching an online course through UH Outreach (Anth 483 Japanese Culture and Behavior). I will be teaching Anth 483 and 484 (Japanese Popular Culture) online over this summer. I am interested in learning how to make my courses more engaging for students. Thank you!

  24. Hi Yuka,

    Welcome to the workshop. What online course will you be creating?

  25. Jason levy

    Hello my name is Jason and I am currently teaching a senior seminar course in public administration that serves as a capstone experience for our students in Puba – – public administration. I would appreciate learning about the best ways to incorporate learning outcomes for an online course that deals with Senior Projects. Looking forward to interacting with everyone

  26. Jeannine Rossa

    Aloha mai kakou,
    My name is Jeannine Rossa and like Mahina and Cheryl, I teach part-time at UHMC Moloka`i. I teach the only Biology lab class: Biology 124 Beginning ecology and the Environment I may be taking over the on-line course from another professor, so I will use Bio 124 as my template for this course. In the future, I want to develop an on-line workshop that helps UH science profs and grad students communicate climate change science to our rural communities on the outer islands. But I don’t yet have an outline or learning objectives developed for my workshop idea. Mahalo for teaching this class!

  27. Eric San George

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Eric San George. I am an Instructor of English at Kauai Community College. I am in my first semester here at KCC. I teach Freshman Composition, and I likely will teach this course online sometime in the future. After learning about teaching online these past four weeks, I look forward to exploring how to build an online course.

    • Eric San George

      I forgot to add that I do hope to earn badges, just like with “Teaching Online.”

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