Getting Started

While preparing classes for this semester three things can help make things a little smoother. PLAN. BUILD. COMMUNICATE.

checklist graphic Plan

Guiding principle: Plan with students and the end in mind.


  • What are the overarching learning goals for the course? What are the smaller week-to-week objectives?
  • How will the course align assessments, learning goals, and learning activities like discussion, and lecture?
  • What materials are necessary to facilitate knowledge of the content that extends beyond a surface-level understanding?
  • What would be the optimal organization of those resources? In what order should students experience them? How should they be grouped?
  • How should the information be presented? What could happen in live class sessions? What could happen “on demand” or asynchronously?
  • How will the course promote community among students and the instructor throughout the term?

Building block graphic Build

Guiding Principle: An online course should provide students with the four essentials below.
  • A clearly defined organizational structure
  • Streamlined instructional delivery
  • Participation and measurement of learning
  • Community and support
  • Is the amount of content appropriate to my target workload?
  • Do the assessments and materials accomplish the intended learning objectives?
  • Is this content relevant to my students' diverse interests, abilities, goals, and experiences?
  • How will I organize and present the materials in a clear, meaningful way?
  • Have I included opportunities for student agency?

Dialogue bubbles graphic Communicate

Guiding principle: Make the implicit, explicit.


  • What are my expectations for class norms, assignments, communication?
  • How could students use office hours and when are they?
  • Where can students get support and assistance through Bowdoin programs and services?
For more information and suggestions, view the Faculty Orientation Course on Blackboard or contact Katie Byrnes at the Baldwin Center for Learning and Teaching.