CTD's 10 Tips for Getting Started Online

CTD's 10 Tips for Getting Started Online

kids on computerNorthwestern University's Center for Talent Development, which offers more than 200 online courses designed for advanced learners, has provided innovative distance and online learning for more than three decades.

Eric Calvert, associate director of CTD, offers 10 tips to help educators who must suddenly make the switch to full-time online instruction in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

If you’d like to hear from CTD directly, please join a live question and answer session on Thursday, April 2. More info below.

  1. Use “first day of school” strategies to kick-off your return to school in an online format. Effective online teachers are explicit about settings norms for appropriate online behavior and clearly articulate expectations about student work and contributions to online discussions. A great early activity might be to re-share classroom codes of conduct and hold an online discussion about how expectations would be reflected online.
  2. Check in with students frequently. Online teachers have to be thoughtful about generating opportunities for students to provide feedback on their understanding and readiness to move forward. Polls asking students to rate their understanding of an assignment on a scale ranging from “I feel totally lost” to “I’m ready to go” at the end of a set of instructions can render immediate feedback. 
  3. Establish a strong personal “presence” in your online learning environment. Students need to see models of appropriate online interaction in an academically oriented virtual space. Be sure that you have a first post in your online course space BEFORE students arrive that re-introduces you and sets the tone. Also, spend some time talking with students about their plans to create a productive workspace for themselves at home. 

Read the full article on CTD's blog. Need more help? Join our live sessions for educators, Ask a CTD Online Gifted Educator: Taking Enrichment, Acceleration, and Assessment Online from 11 to 11:40 a.m. Thursday, April 2. Session Link: https://northwestern.zoom.us/j/377532131.

Bring your questions about online teaching and learning to this free live Q&A session with CTD’s online learning and assessment experts featuring Calvert; Amy Lindgren, assistant coordinator and Melissa Hinshaw, assessment coordinator. The session will be facilitated by Rhoda Rosen, associate director of CTD.

For more information, email CTD at  ctd-school-services@northwestern.edu. 


By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/30/20