Teaching Online for Graduate Students (TOGS)

A college student, learning in the library with a laptop and notebook
Teaching Online for Graduate Students course home page
<style="font-size: 8pt;">Student” by CollegeDegrees360 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Teaching Online for Graduate Students (TOGS) training takes participants through the main steps of course planning and development and focuses on the basic pedagogical approaches, design principles, and technological tools that facilitate online learning. This training includes one face-to-face session, online hands-on learning activities, and active weekly discussions facilitated by UNL instructional designers.


Since this course is designed for graduate students, the only pre-requisite is that participants are currently enrolled graduate students within the College of Arts & Sciences.


This course will provide Arts and Sciences graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) and graduate students with a variety of information and skills to be more knowledgeable and effective online instructors. The course has four main goals: 1) to teach graduate students how to design instruction and teach online effectively; 2) to increase the number of graduate students qualified to teach online courses in the College of Arts & Sciences; 3) to increase participant confidence and preparedness to teach online; and 4) to provide participants with marketable skills for the academic workforce. Increasing the number of graduate students with expertise in pedagogy, design, and effective online teaching will improve the overall quality of teaching within their respective departments and support a culture of excellence in teaching.

Throughout and upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Use various functions of the Canvas LMS as both a Student and Teacher
  • Summarize some of the challenges associated with online instruction and teaching online
  • Identify quality measures for online distance courses
  • Construct web-based course materials and activities in the Canvas LMS—such as modules, pages, assignments, quizzes, and discussions—using the principles of instructional design
  • Develop web-based instructional activities that foster critical thinking and promote student collaboration
  • Evaluate instructional materials and activities for conformance to pedagogical and quality standards

This training will be delivered primarily online via Canvas over a six-week period. Optional introductory and concluding face-to-face sessions will bookend the course.

Course Topics

  • Module 1: Introduction to Online Teaching
  • Module 2: Course Planning and Backward Design
  • Module 3: Designing Assessments
  • Module 4: Designing Learning Activities
  • Module 5: Instructor Presence and Discussions
  • Module 6: Accessibility, Syllabus Design, and Course Management


This training will be delivered online via Canvas over a six-week period. In considering whether you want to register for the TOGS course, please realize that participants are expected to interact with their colleagues through online discussion boards, small group discussions and projects, and through small group Canvas course shells. Successful participants tend to spend between 3-6 hours per week on the course. Your commitment is necessary for a productive and successful learning environment and to reap the benefits of the program.

Participants will need access to:


We are currently deciding whether or not to offer this again. If you are interested in participating, please contact us.


For questions and more information about upcoming offerings, please contact: ctt@unl.edu