Web Learning Resources

If there is an online resource you need that you cannot find on this site, please connect with the “Page Contact” noted at the bottom of the page. By contacting us, you will help ensure this need is addressed!

Looking for something specific? Use the search tool to the upper right!


Faculty Manual for Online Teaching at Penn State (March 2017)
This manual for faculty who teach online is intended to serve as a template that academic units across the University can adapt for their own use. Once customized, the resulting manual will provide faculty with important unit-specific information about best practices, policies, and procedures related to online teaching and learning.

Here is an example of how one academic unit adapted this resource for their own needs.

Mentoring Program Template
An effective faculty mentoring program can help faculty members share and acquire the professional skills and attitudes for personal, career, and institutional success. This information is adapted from a resource created by World Campus Faculty Development in 2011 and can be adapted for your local use.


“Are You Ready to Be an Online Learner?”
The Penn State Online Coordinating Council’s Faculty Engagement Subcommittee has created this page as a resource one can direct learners to who are new to the online learning experience. It outlines the qualities and skills needed to be a successful online learner, and includes a self-evaluation questionnaire and links to relevant resources.

Checklist for Administrator Review & Approval of Online Courses
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council designed this form to guide you through the initial review of an online course that has been developed by a faculty member from your unit in collaboration with a learning designer. The materials typically reviewed at this stage include a course outline/syllabus and sample lessons.

Course Design Checklist
New to developing an online course and are going it alone? This document is designed to be used as a resource by faculty to prepare for creating residential, hybrid, and online courses without direct assistance from a learning designer or other support personnel.

Course Revision Worksheet
There are many reasons that might lead to the need for an online course revision. The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council designed this worksheet for use by course development teams to communicate the reasons for a course revision, the specific course items in need of revision, the percentage of revision needed for each course item, the personnel who need to be involved in those revisions, and the total percentage of effort that will be required. This information can then be used to assign the appropriate resources to the course revision project.

Penn State’s Courseware site is a centralized resource where one can find out if a particular digital, educational application or software used by students or educators for a class has already been reviewed by the University and approved for use or can request that a particular courseware be reviewed for use.

Ed Tech Advisor (ETA)
The Ed Tech Advisor (ETA) was created to help faculty and staff discover technology tools that will help them accomplish their teaching and learning goals. Trying to accomplish something and not sure what the best tool is for the job? Let the ETA help you!

Faculty Competencies for Online Teaching
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council developed this document detailing pedagogical, technical, and administrative competencies for online teaching.

Hiring Guidelines
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council developed these documents to help guide the hiring process for online program lead faculty, course authors, and course instructors. Also included are a list of sample interview questions for online instructors.

“Hours of Instructional Activity” Resource Page
The Hours of Instructional Activity” resource provides faculty and instructional designers with general estimates of the amount of student learning time required in online and blended courses to help them answer the question of “is there too much/not enough” in the course.

Instructional Video Guide
This guide is intended for faculty, instructional designers, and multimedia specialists that are in the early stages of creating a video for teaching purposes. The guide breaks down the many types of pedagogically-useful videos into several types and sub-types in order to help one think about the best approaches for discussing your content. Includes examples of both low- and high-investment video.

Managing Controversial or Sensitive Issues in Online Teaching
During a course, there may be times in the curriculum that present or invite exposure and student participation around topics and issues that may be considered controversial, personal, or sensitive to students in the class. This resource provides guidance for how to manage such situations.

Managing Your Online Class
A comprehensive to-do list to aid instructors when delivering a class online, from before the course begins to after it ends!

Peer Review of Teaching for Face-to-Face and Hybrid Courses
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council designed, implemented, and assessed this peer review process for face-to-face and hybrid courses. The work is based on the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education,” a summary of 50 years of higher education research that addressed good teaching and learning practices.

Peer Review of Teaching for Online Courses
To address the need for online course peer review in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the Dutton Institute designed, implemented, and assessed this peer review process for online teaching, a Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State.

Self-Assessment of Readiness for Online Teaching
The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council developed this faculty self-assessment for online teaching. This tool is available for individuals to use as a self-assessment for their readiness for online teaching.

Proctoring Options at Penn State
This page provides an overview of the options for proctoring at Penn State, depending on college and/or location.

Quality Assurance e-Learning Design Standards
These standards provide a measure of quality assurance for online courses in order to serve the needs of Penn State students.

Self-Reflection Guide for Teaching
To address the need for self reviews of teaching at Penn State, a tool was created based on the widely-used Peer Review Guide (available for online courses and also for hybrid/face-to-face courses). This tool, like the Peer Review Guides, is based on the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education,” a summary of 50 years of higher education research that addresses good teaching and learning practices.

Zoom Toolkit
To address the need for connecting with students via Zoom / online synchronous meetings, this resource was created for instructors teaching via Zoom to incorporate community building in a variety of contexts. The toolkit breaks down the many types of pedagogically-useful approaches into several types to guide the best approaches for your specific context.

General Resources

Extensive information about accessibility and usability at Penn State.

Adapting Assessments to a Remote Teaching Environment
This resource provides options for faculty who need to quickly adapt their assessments for a remote class offering.

Adopting OER Materials with Barnes & Noble
Step-by-step directions for adopting OER in Barnes & Noble’s “Adoption and Insights Portal” (AIP) so students know these are being used in lieu of, or in addition to, a textbook.

Best Practices for Teaching via Videoconferencing at Penn State
This site is designed to guide you towards the best uses of videoconferencing for instructional purposes, including best practices before, during, and after an educational videoconference. The site also contains checklists and other useful documents.

Contingency Planning for Undergraduate Education
As the saying goes, “Life happens.” Emergencies arise, illnesses occur, and severe weather can cause class or campus cancellations. How one should handle such cancellations depends on the nature of the event. What options are available to make up lost class or lab time? What University policies are related to these issues? What technology options are available? This resource provides guidance for handling class meeting disruptions.

Copyright Agreement for Instructional Materials and Courseware Commissioned by The Pennsylvania State University 
This document is the official copyright agreement for instructional materials and courseware that are created as “works for hire” by Penn State.

Copyright and Creative Commons in Education and Training
This website by Penn Stater Stevie Rocco provides valuable information and resources about finding and using materials from the Internet.

EdTech Tips (The Center for Teaching Excellence, Penn State Harrisburg)
A video library of educational practices and supported tools. Packaged in quick 1-2 minute videos, each tip pairs technology with pedagogy, providing examples for faculty to integrate these ideas in their courses.

Engaging Students – Strategies for Creating Engaging Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Environments
This page provides numerous strategies for engaging students with their instructor, their fellow learners, and the course content…whether in face-to-face, hybrid, or online instruction environments.

Faculty Development Resources (Dutton Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences)
A collection of resources related to designing, developing, and the administration of online courses.

Flexible Instructional Teaching Guide
This self-paced guide provides important resources for a move to the remote teaching environment.

“How Much Does it Cost to Offer a Mature Online Course?”
This article describes why “it depends” is the answer to this important question. It outlines the many factors related to determine course support costs and provides an example of how to account for such costs. This work was featured in an article in Inside Higher Ed, titled “Keeping Online Courses Fresh: Valuable, but Costly” by Mark Lieberman (July 18, 2018).

Hybrid Course Classification @ Penn State
This webpage on the University Registrar’s site provides details on how to classify a hybrid course in the University’s systems.

Hybrid Learning @ Penn State
This website is a resource where you can learn about hybrid learning at Penn State. The intent is to support a community and provide a repository for best practices in hybrid learning with or without a videoconferencing component.

Laptop Use in the Classroom
The College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) created resources for instructors who want to make use of laptops during class meeting times. Materials include policy statements to add to syllabi, example lesson plans, sample in-class laptop activities, and more.

Learning Pathways for Technology Training
Penn State’s IT Learning and Development unit has created a number of “Learning Pathways” to help the University community learn how to use various technology tools like Canvas, Office365, and Zoom. New Learning Pathways are added periodically, so be sure to check back!

Lecture Capture Classrooms
This website is provided by the Office of Digital Learning in the College of Engineering and provides information about lecture capture systems in general purpose classrooms at University Park.

LMS Interface Task Force Best Practice Recommendations
This report provides recommendations of best practices to be used for the Canvas implementation. The recommendations speak specifically to course content organization (including recommended home page), navigation, assignment instructions, due dates, syllabus, and naming conventions for items in Canvas. These recommendations are based on the results of a large survey of students that examined the impacts of inconsistent user interfaces on student learning experiences, and an audit of courses by multiple eLearning units.

OER and Low Cost Materials at Penn State
This site is the official Web presence of the Penn State Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative. This site serves as a clearinghouse for OER/low cost material information across the University.

Student Conduct – Responding to Student Behavior in the Classroom
Concerns related to student behavior in the classroom have been reviewed and supported by the offices of Student Conduct, OSC Committee for Looking at the Code from an Online Perspective, Student Care and Advocacy, Behavior Threat Management Team, and World Campus. Through the review of these situations, and in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel, and the Design, Media, and Technology Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council, this resource provides guidance and information regarding how you might manage conduct issues in your classes.

Students Under Distress – Red Folder Initiative
This initiative is designed to help faculty, staff, and others who interact with students to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed students at Penn State. “Red Folders” exist in paper and online formats for every campus to provide campus-specific resources.

Technical Requirements for World Campus Courses
A list of baseline technical requirements for courses offered through Penn State World Campus.

Third-Party Course Materials – A Quick Guide to Using Third-Party Course Materials at Penn State
Third-party course materials are educational resources used to provide course content and activities that are developed outside of the University (i.e., by a third party). These might include textbooks, tests, quizzes, other assessments, audio or video recordings, software, problem sets, or other artifacts. This document outlines important considerations, recommendations, and best practices related to the use of third-party course materials in a Penn State course.

University Libraries “Library Inclusion and Online Learning: All Things Library and World Campus Related”
This website, maintained by librarian Torrie Raish, includes copies of Library News for the Penn State e-Learning Community, a monthly newsletter from Library Services to Penn State Online and the World Campus. The newsletter, written for for the e-Learning Community at Penn State, with particular focus on services and resources for Instructional Designers and Instructors and Faculty, features new databases and tutorials, library “tips and tricks,” and other information from University Libraries.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) in Online Courses
A website sharing the latest research on how Virtual and Augmented Realities benefit online courses. This visual bibliography shows how VR/AR creates educational opportunities, improves student experience, and increases learning. Recommended best practices and next steps are also included. These resources were reviewed and compiled by the VR AR Research Group, part of the Faculty Engagement Subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council.

World Campus Faculty Development
The World Campus Faculty Development team is dedicated to serving the professional development needs of faculty teaching online, face-to-face, via the Video Learning Network and every combination in between!

Page Contact: Ann Taylor