Institute for Online Teaching (formerly SIOT)

group photo of participating instructors and supporting instructional designers
Summer Institute for Online Teaching, 2018 Cohort

Since 2002, the university has run the Summer Institute for Online Teaching to provide preparation and training, as well as a campus-wide faculty learning community, focused on online teaching.

With plans for the spring semester including a variety of web-enhanced teaching models, learning about the principles of online teaching can help establish a strong foundation. This year, for the first time, we're planning to offer this course over our upcoming winter mini-term. Since we're breaking away from the summer scheduling, we decided to remove the temporal element of the name and just call this the Institute for Online Teaching. Although the core material covered during the institute will remain the same, we'll try to address some of the unique circumstances of the spring semester in our Zoom class meetings and discussion board conversations throughout.


This year, the condensed three-week Institute for Online Teaching is designed to guide new and novice online instructors through the steps of course planning and development and to explore the unique opportunities and challenges of the online learning environment. Even instructors with some online teaching experience are likely to find it valuable.

The Winter 2020 Institute for Online Teaching will begin November 30 and run through December 18. See the Schedule page for the complete three-week outline.


By the end of the Institute, participants will be able to:

  • Use principles of instructional design and nationally-recognized quality standards to evaluate, design, or redesign online courses.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of legal and ethical issues surrounding online courses including academic integrity, course material accessibility, copyright considerations, and other university resources and policies.
  • Create authentic assessments of learning that appropriately align with course learning objectives.
  • Apply research-based principles of instruction to create learner-centered, interactive, online learning activities that promote student success.
  • Establish an effective online instructional persona that is present throughout the course and fosters a sense of collaborative community among learners.
  • Develop strategies for managing time, communication, and instructor/student roles in online courses.

Organization and Topics

This class is traditionally organized around five weekly learning modules. Each module features a brief “lesson,” including reading, discussion, and a small assignment, such as creating a portion of an online syllabus. In this condensed offering, the first module will be completed in the first week, and the remaining four will be condensed into a two-week timeframe. Modules also include examples from UNL online courses and additional resources for exploration. Module topics include:

  • Planning and organizing an online course
  • Assessing student learning
  • Developing online content and activities
  • Building community & establishing instructor presence
  • Managing an online course


To ensure the entire instructional community has access to this training we welcome all registrants. A certificate of completion is available for those who choose to pursue it. The expectations below are for those intending to earn a certificate of completion.

During the three-week session, you will be expected to check in on the course site daily, complete assignments that will help you prepare your online course, and engage in discussion boards with peers. Your commitment is necessary for a productive and successful learning environment and to reap the benefits of the institute. In considering whether or not to pursue a certificate for the Online Teaching Academy, please note the following expectations for earning a certificate of completion:

  • Review course materials for each module
  • Engage in weekly asynchronous discussions
  • Submit small weekly assignments
  • Attend synchronous online class sessions via Zoom

Participants will need daily access to:

Independent Study

In Summer 2020, SIOT was retooled to address many of the online aspects of teaching during Fall. Although there will not be further editions of the full SIOT program this summer, a self-guided edition has been created to give instructors access to the curriculum. Though there will likely be some revisions from one offering to the next, this can also serve as an example of what to expect in the Online Teaching Academy.

Quick Links


Steven Cain