Online Instructor Training

A page within Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning (CATL)

The UWL Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning (CATL) offers a three-week Online Instructor Training once each year.** Since 2010 about 400 UWL instructors have completed the course. Offered in a fully online format, this intensive training prepares UWL faculty and staff to design and deliver online courses.

** Due to lower demand, this training is now offered once per year during winter intersession only. 

NOTE: Training will take place using Canvas. You are strongly encouraged to have a working knowledge of Canvas before registering.

Information about OIT

In this training, you will learn to design and facilitate online synchronous and asynchronous courses. To encourage hands-on practice you will develop course content in a Canvas sandbox course.  After training, you can easily copy all or selected components from your sandbox to an online course.

The training is highly interactive and you will engage in discussions and complete exercises to prepare you to successfully teach online. Participants are strongly encouraged to approach the course with an open mind and focus on the ultimate goal: effective student learning.

Faculty and instructional academic staff teaching at least a 50% course load will receive a $500 stipend upon successfully completing the training.

  1. Develop at least 3 measurable objectives for a proposed online course or training session.
  2. Design an assessment strategy to support the achievement of learning objectives, based on CATL's Online Course Evaluation Guidelines.
  3. Create engaging content, activities, and discussions to support the development of student knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
  4. Propose engaging resources or technologies, other than textbooks, for your proposed course or training session.
  5. Develop a strategy to facilitate strong teacher and social presence throughout your online course or training session.
  6. Evaluate one module or unit of your proposed course or training session for the alignment of objectives, assessments, and activities.
  7. Complete all assignments on time and actively participate.

The introductory training is open to any UWL employee (instructional and non-instructional, including university staff) interested in the design, delivery, and facilitation of online courses. Participants typically register for the following reasons:

  • As a prerequisite to applying for UWL Online Course Development funds (OIT fulfills this prerequisite)
  • Self-assessment of current online teaching
  • A desire to teach online in the future
  • Interest in best practices and strategies for teaching online

OIT may be taken for credit; for more information about the credit option, please contact Lynn Weiland in Continuing Education (

OIT is an intensive learning experience. You should expect to spend approximately 15 hours per week on training activities, depending on your experience with online instruction and Canvas. Just as you expect your students to actively engage in discussions and practice exercises, your facilitator will expect the same from you. The three-week time frame allows flexibility in terms of when and where you participate, but there are weekly deadlines for assignments and activities.

To model the experience of online learning you will complete all training activities in an asynchronous format.  

OIT emphasizes the application of best practices for online teaching and learning. Though instruction does not explicitly cover the learning management system (LMS), successful completion of the course requires the development of an online module in the Canvas LMS. Consequently, you should be able to perform the following basic Canvas skills:

Essential Canvas Prerequisite Skills
Creating Content Course Management
  • Create modules and assignments
  • Create a discussion forum and topic, read and reply
  • Post and edit announcements 
  • Create and edit internal or external links
  • Create and edit files in the Canvas editor
  • Upload and manage course documents
  • Manage a course discussion
  • Move (reorder) content or modules
  • Manage the Grades

To ensure a productive learning experience, and to save time, you should come prepared with a fairly well-developed syllabus for a course you plan to teach online. At a minimum, your syllabus should include learning objectives, reading list, course topics, policies, assignments, and a course outline or calendar.

As past participants can attest, successful completion of the training depends on:

  • committing the time necessary to three weeks of intensive training
  • having adequate knowledge, skill, or experience in using the learning management system, and
  • being open to new ideas