Teaching Online Certification Course (TOCC)

Are you teaching online for the first time at PennWest California?

Do you need a refresher in online teaching strategies? PennWest California faculty are invited to participate in a 5-week, fully online Teaching Online Certification Course.

  • Offered once a semester (Spring, Summer, and Fall)

The Teaching Online Certification Course (using the Brightspace by D2L LMS) has been developed collaboratively among Bloomsburg, California, Clarion, Lock Haven, and Kutztown universities.

Successful completion of this course certifies you to teach online at PennWest California and supports our compliance with Middle States' Accreditation distance learning requirements (Standard 13) and university policy. University policy states that any faculty member who will be teaching an online course for the first time at California University must successfully complete the PASSHE/PennWest California five-week comprehensive online course.

Seating for the course may be limited - only CALU faculty may participate and preference is given to those faculty members who are not already certified to teach online. 

  • Note: The course consists of discussion posts, due dates and course development activities. The first three weeks of the course require timely interaction. The final two weeks are self-paced but must be completed within that two week period.

Registration: The Teaching and Learning Center will send out registration announcements each semester. If you would like to pre-register for the next available session, please email the TLC your request at tlc@calu.edu  

The Teaching and Learning Center supports faculty using technology in their teaching. If you need help when taking the training course or need help in designing your online course, please contact the TLC at 724-938-4168, tlc@calu.edu

Course Information


This 5-week fully online course provides instructors with a student's perspective, guidance on designing an online course, and instructions for using the various Desire2Learn tools.  Participants will be presented with reading materials, actively engage in weekly discussion topics, a collaborative project, and develop content relevant to their own online course.  In order to complete the activities and course development exercises, participants should have a course they are scheduled (or planning) to teach online within the next year.  Time commitment will be approximately 10 hours/week depending on familiarity with Desire2Learn.  We are confident that all participants will look at this experience as positive and beneficial to successfully developing their online course.

The course is designed around the Quality Matters(C) rubric to include critical course components: Learning Objectives, Assessment and Measurement, Instructional Materials, Learner Interaction and Engagement, and Course Technology. The course structure is designed sequentially with each week being a building block to the next. Week One is an Introduction to Online Learning discussing defining roles and learning styles.  Week Two provides an understanding of course design / development, looking at learning goals and objectives, and various teaching strategies.  Week Three focuses on Building Community and Fostering Communication and Collaboration, with Week Four discussing Assessment and grading options. Week Five collectively pulls together all facets of online learning.  

Note: This course is not self-paced and contains weekly assignments and due dates.


Week 1: Introduction of Online Teaching

  • Topic 1 - Creating an Effective Online Course
  • Topic 2 - Defining Roles
  • Topic 3 - Learning Styles

Week 2: Course Design and Development

  • Topic 1 - Design Course Organization
  • Topic 2 - Set Goals and Objectives
  • Topic 3 - Select Teaching Strategies for the Online Environment

Week 3: Building Community

  • Topic 1 - Building Community
  • Topic 2 - Fostering Collaboration and Communication

Week 4: Assessing and Grading in an Online Environment

  • Topic 1 - Assessment Tools in D2L
  • Topic 2 - Alternative Methods of Assessments
  • Topic 3 - Feedback and Rubrics

Week 5: Putting it all Together

  • Topic 1 - Managing Your Course
  • Topic 2 - Assessing Your Course (using QM essential standards)
  • Collaborative Project/Wiki (weeks 3-5 concludes)

The course is facilitated jointly by instructional designers:

  • Darla Ausel (Clarion)
  • James Boulder and Sandy Dell (Edinboro)
  • Jon Kallis (California)
  • Doug Scott (Kutztown)
  • Julie Wolfe (Bloomsburg)