Summer Institute for Online Teaching

group photo of participating instructors and supporting instructional designers
Summer 2018 SIOT Cohort

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


This year, the condensed three-week Summer Institute 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.

This third 2020 offering of SIOT will begin June 15th and runs through July 2nd. See the SIOT schedule page for the complete three-week schedule.


By the end of Summer 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

The Summer Institute 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 of SIOT, 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 any and all registrants. A certificate of completion is available for those who choose to persue 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 Summer Institute, 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 SIOT

This summer, SIOT was retooled to address many of the online aspects of teaching during Fall 2020. Although there will not be further editions of the full SIOT program, a self-guided edition has been created to give instructors access to the curriculum. 

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Steven Cain