Faculty Resources

Teaching Online Overview

Teaching USU Online courses is different than teaching a class in person. Here are the things you need to know about teaching an online course.


Online courses are scheduled through the Academic Scheduling Office. Considerations for offering online courses include:

  • Has the course been approved by the department head for online development and delivery?
  • Will the course use previously developed content (e.g. Master/Template)?
  • The course is intended for students everywhere. (e.g. not location specific)
  • The course fullfills requirements for a fully online program or general education.
  • The course has appeal to students at Statewide Campuses and/or Out-of-State.

To Schedule an Online Course

  1. Discuss the course delivery options with the appropriate academic department head.
  2. The department head or department scheduler submits the course request to scheduling through Course Dog.
  3. The course is added to Banner and a Canvas shell is created.
  4. The course textbook/material information must be submitted to the bookstore before the course will be opened for registration.

Getting Started

Follow the steps below to make sure that your online course is set up and ready to go.

  1. Plan time for Course Development.
  2. Access your online course through USU Canvas.
  3. Prepare your course content. Options include:
  4. Complete the Online Teaching Orientation.
  5. Review information about online proctoring and implementing academic integrity.
  6. Review the USU Online Course Quality standards. 

For additional help view Canvas Tutorials or contact the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction. Instructional designers are available for consultation.

Tips for Online Instructors

  1. Communicate regularly with your students.
  2. Respond to questions within 24 hours.
  3. Keep your content, links, and course dates up to date.
  4. Publish your course before the term begins.
  5. Organize your content into an easy-to-follow navigation.
  6. Engage in Regular and Substantiative interaction with students. 
  7. Provide short recorded presentations and other video content to highlight key points.

Student Support

The following new student support services are now available. Visit the links below to implement these tools into your online course:

  1. Tutor.com — Expert tutors available around the clock to meet students at their point of need. There are over 250 subjects available, plus essay review and soft-skill training. 
  2. Readiness Videos — These include getting started steps for new students, links to resources, and videos to introduce students to online learning. 

For students who need additional help beyond your course, refer them to the Student Academic Support resources.


Online courses are funded through the academic department's general fund. Instructors teach online courses as part of load or as temporary Extra-Service Compensation. Contact your department if there are questions about your payment for teaching an online course.

USU Online may provide development funding for departments that need funds to cover course development expenses. View  online course development funding for instructions on how to request funding. 

Textbook & Course Materials

Federal legislation requires all course expenses, including textbooks, be published before students can register. Instructors must submit textbook information for their courses every semester. Courses are made available to students after a textbook and materials order has been submitted and processed. See Faculty Course Materials Information for more details.

Student Engagment & Interaction

Federal Requlations require online courses to include 'Regular and Substantive Interaction”. These elements distinguishe “distance education” from correspondence courses, which has important implications for federal financial aid eligibility.

Regular interaction includes engagement between a student and an instructor or instructors by, prior to the student’s completion of a course

  • Providing the opportunity for substantive interactions with the student on a predictable and scheduled basis commensurate with the length of time and the amount of content in the course or competency; and
  • Monitoring the student’s academic engagement and success and ensuring that an instructor is responsible for promptly and proactively engaging in substantive interaction with the student when needed, on the basis of such monitoring, or upon request by the student.

Substantive interaction is engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes at least two of the following:

  • Providing direct instruction
  • Assessing or providing feedback on a student’s coursework
  • Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or competency
  • Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency
  • Other instructional activities approved by the institution’s or program’s accrediting agency.


Online course materials and exams are distributed to statwide campus locations and certified proctors worldwide through the Materials and Testing Services site (MATS).

Exams given in testing centers must be posted at least 2 days prior to the exam date. Proctored online exams must be password protected in Canvas, and passwords posted at least 2 days prior to the exam date. More information on Materials/Testing can be found at http://testing.usu.edu/faculty/index

Instructors can also use Virtual Online Proctoring with Proctorio. Proctorio is remote proctoring software that records the students exam activity using Audio/Video and screen capture. The recordings are store in Canvas and flagged for suspicious behavior.

Online Course Fee

A $15 per credit course fee is applied to all online courses to sustain current digital technologies and support services required for engaging and effective online learning.

Please make note of this fee in your syllabus.