Guide to Online Instruction in Philosophy

The Philosophy Department at Penn State is working with the College of Liberal Arts Department of Outreach and Online Education and with Penn State World Campus to ensure that we provide the same quality of educational experience for students in our online courses that we do for students in our more traditional, face-to-face or residential, courses.  This task presents many challenges, and responding to them effectively requires concerted effort on the part of students, instructors, course authors, instructional designers, and support staff.  As the instructor of an online course, you will be entering into a process whose ultimate success depends on a continuous coordination of efforts.

This guide is intended to help you understand and excel at the vital role in this process that you have taken on.  You will find a College of Liberal Arts Online Education Instructor Guidebest practices for online teaching, links to websites that provide further resources, contact information for the technical staff supporting your course, and some specific guidelines for getting your course started on the right foot and keeping it headed in the right direction.  Before turning to those specifics, it might be helpful to take a minute to reflect a bit on some of the significant differences between online instruction and more traditional modes of instruction in philosophy. A good deal of the success of your course may depend on whether you choose to see these differences as obstacles or as opportunities.

  1. Initial Thoughts on the Role of the Instructor

  2. Resources for Online Instructors

  3. What to Do Before Your Course Begins

  4. Top Ten Tips for Online Teaching (from Penn State College of Liberal Arts Outreach and Online Learning)

  5. Best Practice Performance Expectations