OLC Online Teaching Certificate - January 2016

The OLC Online Teaching Certificate prepares educators to teach and improve online courses using the OLC pillars of quality in online education—learning effectiveness, scale, faculty and student satisfaction, and access. A unique feature of the certificate program is that expert mentors work individually with each certificate candidate to accomplish specific goals.

The Certificate consists of three phases:

  • A 10-week foundation course
  • Three electives or learning specializations that focus on improving overall competency within a specific area of academic focus
  • A final capstone presentation

Who should participate?

  • Faculty interested in developing quality online and/or blended courses.
  • Instructional designers and Instructional support staff

Please review pre-requisites before registering for this program.

  • Leverage your background and proficiencies as an educator, administrator, or institutional leader to become highly effective in the principles and practices of asynchronous instruction
  • Integrate OLC‘s research-based, conceptual and theoretical foundations relating to learning theory and assessment to compliment and personalize your online classroom
  • Capitalize on your potential as an innovator in the field of online education by being challenged to create high quality work products that will be assessed by the program facilitators and your peers.
  • Work with and learn from recognized experts in the field
  • Receive actionable feedback for immediate application
  • Collaborate with peers from a variety of institutions and disciplines
  • Design and develop a complete online or blended course based on current research and best practices

The Certificate program consists of three phases: The initial 10-week foundation course, 3 elective courses and a final capstone presentation. During all phases of the program, participants apply knowledge and skills to the development and/or revision of their own online or blended course.

Phase 1: The 10-week foundation course is an intensive, collaborative practicum. Participants explore an array of topics, develop strategies to build their own online courses, and give and receive peer reviews. Participants also demonstrate their mastery of the basic elements of online courses: planning the course, understanding role adjustment, organizing the course, incorporating the advantages of online communications, and applying the pedagogical principles that create purposeful learning communities. At the end of the foundation course, participants are matched with a personal mentor who continues to provide targeted coaching, support, and resources throughout the remainder of the program.

Phase 2: During the elective phase, participants pursue identified areas of interest and/or need as they continue to refine strategic online course components.  Participants must successfully complete 3 one-week electives or 1 Mastery Series workshop.  

Phase 3: The Final Presentation consists of a synchronous, online presentation demonstrating the participant’s fully developed and/or revised online course, specific developed course components and a reflection of key learning points. This invitation-only presentation is attended by the participant’s mentor and is the capstone event for this program.

Total length of time to completion: All phases must be completed one year from program start.

Note: only workshops taken after beginning the Foundation Course of the Certificate Program can be applied as electives to complete the program.   Additionally, the workshop New to Online: The Essentials will not count as an elective.

Learning Objectives – By Week

Week 1: Overview, Expectations and Community

  • Review and discuss the program structure, expectations and requirements
  • Identify additional personal learning goals for this program 
  • Establish an online learning community 

Week 2: Quality Online Courses and Teaching

  • Explore key characteristics of quality online courses and teaching
  • Identify strengths and opportunities for improvement related to personal course design and instructional strategies

Week 3:  Online Syllabus and Schedule Design

  • Explore the elements of an effective online syllabus/schedule
  • Identify strengths and opportunities for improvement as related to your identified online course schedule and syllabus
  • Draft an online syllabus/schedule that reflects quality standards

Week 4:  Online Learning Communities

  • Explore key concepts regarding learning communities, presence and interactions
  • Identify strengths and opportunities for improvement as related to your online course
  • Describe strategies for integrating or enhancing community, presence and interaction in your online course

Week 5:  Online Learning Activities and Assessments

  • Explore online learning activities and assessments
  • Develop an online learning activity and an appropriate assessment strategy that aligns with an identified course learning objective

Week 6:  Teaching and Learning with Technology

  • Explore and evaluate various online technologies and tools that may be used to support your learning objectives, online presence and interactions
  • Identify online technology strategies that are appropriate for your course and your students

Week 7:  Curating Content and Copyright

  • Explore strategies for curating content for your courses
  • Explore institutional and regional copyright policies that may impact your course content
  • Identify copyright issues as they pertain to your course content
  • Identify curated content for your course that aligns with your course learning outcomes and adheres to your copyright policy

Week 8:  Accessibility and Usability Best Practices

  • Explore best practices regarding accessibility and usability
  • Identify strategies for integrating accessibility and usability into your online course

Week 9:  Workload Management and Summary Reflections

  • Explore online faculty workload issues
  • Identify strategies to manage workload
  • Prepare to meet your mentor

Week 10:  Meeting Your Mentor and Next Steps

  • Summarize key knowledge gained 
  • Determine next steps in program that align with personal learning goals
  • Meet your mentor
  • Review syllabus and related course components with your mentor
  • Identify and enroll in elective workshops

Dr. Angela Gibson – Cohort A


Dr. Angela M. Gibson serves as full-time faculty with the rank of Professor for the School of Arts and Humanities at American Public University System (American Military University and American Public University) teaching first-year students in Foundations of Online Learning, undergraduate students in capstone courses, and graduate students in analytical and writing classes. Formerly she served as the Director, First Year Experience, at APUS developing initiatives and programs to foster online learning success, fostering student engagement, and increasing student retention as well as an Instructional Strategist with the Instructional Design and Development Team at APUS.

Dr. Gibson is an adjunct faculty in the Masters of Adult Education online program at Texas A&M University- Kingsville. She is part of the Online Learning Consortium (formerly known as the Sloan Consortium) serving as a facilitator for the Online Teaching Certificate (OTC) program, facilitator for various workshops, and as a mentor for the Online Teaching Certificate Program. Dr. Gibson has served at community colleges and universities, private universities, and for-profit institutions teaching on-ground and online, working in instructional design, and serving in student affairs. She has created, designed, and delivered exemplar webinars and other professional development courses for students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Gibson presents at national and international conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Online Learning Consortium International Conference. Her research interests include student engagement and success, the role of online and emerging technology in course design and instruction, adult learning in the online environment, the Community of Inquiry framework, and Hispanic student success.  She integrates theory into practice through conducting research on student retention as well as effective practices in online teaching and learning. Dr. Gibson received the OLC 2014 Effective Practice Award for Online Learning.

She has been published in various peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Community College of Research and Practice, and Issues in Educational Research. Dr. Gibson is active in regional and national education associations performing in roles as division co-chair, session chair and session discussant, graduate student mentor and discussant, and paper submission reviewer.  Additionally, she serves on the editorial review board and functions as an article manager for education journals.

In addition to formal instruction, she promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in Pre-K and elementary schools functioning as an informal STEM educator.  Dr. Gibson volunteers with NASA and provides outreach and educational awareness on science, space, and STEM issues through social media at formal and informal settings. She has been invited to provide social media support at various NASA and Congressional STEM focused events.

Dr. Gibson received a B.A. in International Relations from George Mason University, a Masters of Arts in Human Performance Systems, with a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, from Marymount University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with concentrations in Adult Education, Higher Education, and Community College Education, from Texas A & M University – Kingsville.

Dr. Ruth Newberry – Cohort B


Dr. Ruth Newberry has over 25 years’ experience in higher education as an educator and serving in key leadership positions at Duquesne University. She has played a critical role in the delivery and support of quality online and blended academic program offerings geared toward student success and aligned with institutional mission and brand. She has a PhD in English (Twentieth-Century American) and expertise in educational technology management, online and blended education, course design, faculty development, adult education, learner support and retention, program development, assessment, strategic planning, and writing centers.  She has served as co-chair of the University’s Educational Technology Committee and been appointed to many University committees, such as Academic Integrity, Student Retention, and Student Values Development, as well as to numerous Division level committees.  Ruth is a published author and has presented at Educause, Sloan, Syllabus, NCTE, College Composition and Communication Conference (4Cs), Blackboard World, and other national and regional conferences.  In her eight-year leadership of a community-based user group, she hosted two profitable, regional conferences on teaching and learning and established a successful, on-going support network for instructional technologists among twenty institutions. She has earned two teaching awards, a University Presidential Award for Service, and a Sloan-C Best in Track Award for Student Services.  Dr. Newberry is an Educause Leadership Institute alum as well as a Middle States Team evaluator. She has been dedicated to supporting and aiding faculty and fellow colleagues with improving the quality of teaching and learning for all delivery modalities through the sound, pedagogical use of technology to facilitate learner as well as instructor success.


Dr. Newberry began her career as a High School English teacher in Oregon where she earned her BA and MA in English from the University of Oregon and her secondary education certification.  She first became involved in curriculum development and program evaluation during her high school teaching experience when charged with updating the sophomore curriculum.   When she and her family (her husband Fred, a 19th Century Americanist, and two children) moved to Pittsburgh, PA, in 1987, instead of teaching high school, she began part-time teaching composition and literature to traditional age and adult students at local colleges and universities, which allowed her to begin work on a doctorate and to be home with two small children.

In 1992, Dr. Newberry became a lecturer and then English team-leader in Duquesne University’s Saturday College, an award winning and accelerated Bachelor’s Degree program for working adults. In this program, comprised of five 8-week terms, she taught 1 to 2 courses per term and developed with colleagues a  first-semester course for adults returning to college called, Adult Transition Seminar, and later a Prior Learning Assessment course and a problem-based Advanced Business Writing course.  Through grants, she also designed, developed, and implemented the program’s Online Writing & Learning Resource Center and a mentoring program with advisors to aid in student retention and improved student experience. She mentored many graduate students as teaching assistants in the Saturday College or as consultants in the Online Writing Center and led the English team faculty with continual curriculum review to ensure courses addressed adult learner needs. It was during this period, from 1992 to 2001, that Dr. Newberry started using technology to communicate and aid students in their learning, first by developing web sites with student samples and help documents for course work and then through WebCT, CourseInfo, and FirstClass course sites to supplement Saturday classes.  Eventually, to meet student requests, these courses moved online.  Dr. Newberry also began training faculty colleagues on how to use technology in their teaching to assist with student success and assisted program administrators with developing student orientations to introduce students to course technologies.

Educational Technology

In 2000, Dr. Newberry accepted a full-time position as an educational computing consultant to assist campus faculty with integrating technology into teaching and university staff with productivity software. Ruth’s teaching background and ability to emphasize student learning and demonstrate how learning can be enhanced through effective use of technology led to her appointment in 2003 as Director of Educational Technology, a unit within Duquesne University’s central IT organization in which she came to appreciate the many struggles they face as well as have the opportunity to be involved in several complex, campus-wide IT projects.

From 2003 to 2012, Ruth led two highly successful teams — the Media Services and the Learning Technology Centers —  to support the University’s emerging online programs and evolving integration of technology into classroom teaching.  When the campus adopted Blackboard as its LMS in 2004, she gained approval by the Provost and University Educational Technology Committee to design, author, and execute a comprehensive campus-wide faculty certification program to foster faculty understanding, build technical proficiencies, and develop faculty confidence in the rich possibilities technology brings to teaching and learning.  For the more than 1500 participants who received certifications over the years, Ruth and her team offered multiple methods of completion (classroom, webinar, and online) and excellent faculty development and support to build adoption and inclusion of these certificates into Promotion and Tenure consideration.  Under Ruth’s leadership and targeted advocacy, voluntary adoption of  Blackboard grew consistently each year, achieving 85% of all university courses and used by 600 faculty and 9000+ plus students each semester by 2012 and its online programs continued to improve in national rankings.  Additionally, Dr. Newberry’s LTC staff of instructional designers and Blackboard application specialists developed an automated course request, migration, and enrollment system; an Academic portal for campus and online students; and implemented Blackboard Collaborate, SafeAssign Plagiarism detection, Starfish Retention Solutions (an online calendaring solution for advisors and an early-alert retention system) as well a campus-wide online course evaluation system.

Under Dr. Newberry’s guidance as Director, Educational Technology, the Media Services team conducted many technology projects to improve teaching and learning, such as adoption of MediaSite video capture and video conferencing, a projector security system, Turning Technologies’ Personal Response system, and a classroom technology sustainability plan to ensure that classrooms could become fully-technology enhanced within budget. Along with faculty development and rich-media project support, the Media Services team assisted with campus events and technology installs across campus.

Online Campus

In 2012, Dr. Newberry accepted the appointment of Director, Online Campus. Along with designing student-centric course templates and orientations, Ruth worked with Deans to establish an Online Committee within each of Duquesne’s 10 Schools to explore and plan for blended and online education within the schools and with the Enrollment Management Group to design a process for identifying new and existing programs for online delivery.  And with online program coordinators and Public Affairs, she assisted them with marketing their programs.  Collaborating with a pilot group of Business faculty, she helped them design and develop their course template and institute advising and early retention practices to support students for their first seven fully-online courses for summer session in 2013, achieving 92% retention.  With a colleague in Nursing and as an outgrowth of two Tasks Forces (one evaluating academic resources for online students and another focused on student services for online students), Ruth designed an online student support services approach called the COMFORT model that focused on retention and satisfaction from recruitment to graduation to ensure return on image for the institution.  Additionally, she assisted with designing a course design rubric for faculty and instructional designers and partnered with several schools to implement an Academic Integrity module for their online programs.


Dr. Arifa Garman – Cohort C


arifa garman

Dr. Arifa Garman, born in the Middle East, educated in Canada and United States, is now the Director of E-Learning at Gulf Coast State College (GCSC), Florida. Her graduate degrees range in topics from multicultural education, to educational leadership and policy studies and finally her doctorate is in instructional technology specializing in distance education. Her responsibilities at GCSC range from faculty professional development to (full and part-time faculty) to creating solutions to existing challenges and anticipating and meeting the needs of faculty and maintaining and growing the online programs at the College.

She is a facilitator with Quality Matters and with Online Learning Consortium. She has facilitated several workshops and the Foundation course with OLC. She taught Arabic online with the University of West Florida for many years and was part of the Language and Culture Institute program with sister city in Malaga, Spain. She also worked with the Defense Language Institute on creating learning objects for their programs.   She serves on the Life Management Center as the Chairman of the Board. She is also serving on the Executive Committee of the Florida Virtual Campus.

On a creative side, Dr. Garman is an artist, specializing in Islamic Art on porcelain and a fashion designer graduated from a Canadian College. Her art shows ranged from small local art shows to the Glenbow Museum in Calgary Alberta, Canada.


  • Online teaching experience or completion of New to Online: The Essentials workshop
  • An online or blended course that participants can revise or create that is at least two weeks in duration (LMS shell provided if needed)

Almost every OLC workshop can serve as an elective for your program.  Optionally, participants may choose to specialize in specific workshop concentrations.To specialize in a concentration, select workshop electives from the same track Current tracks include:

  • Online Design
  • Online Learners
  • Online Tools
  • Online Management


Any specializations will be noted on the program certificate of completion. If you do not want to specialize, you can select any three eligible workshops to meet your electives requirements.  Each workshop lists on the registration page whether it is or is not eligible to be an elective

To specialize in a Mastery Series, use the appropriate pricing option. Register/pay for the Foundation Course Only and then pay separately for either of the two mastery series options

Note: only workshops taken after beginning the Foundation Course of the Certificate Program can be applied as electives to complete the program.   Additionally, the workshop New to Online: The Essentials will not count as an elective.

You have two purchase options for the Certificate Program.

  • Option 1: Foundation Course +3 Elective Workshops Package. The price for this option is $1849. This price includes the cost of the foundation course and the three electives. With this option, no membership discounts or college pass coupons can be used.

Note – you may not use the Mastery Series programs to fulfill your electives using this option. See Option 2 for more details.

  • Option 2: Foundation Course Only. The price for this option is $1499 for the cost of the foundation course and no membership discounts or college pass coupons can be used. The three electives are purchased separately and may be funded by coupons available through OLC membership discounts and the OLC College Pass professional development package.

Note – if you plan to use the Blended Learning Mastery Series, the Mobile Learning Mastery Series, the Online Nursing Mastery Series, the Online Science Labs Mastery Series, or the Spatial Thinking and Web Mapping Mastery Series to fulfill your electives requirements, you must use option 2 and pay for the foundation course separately and then purchase one of the mastery series for your three electives.