OLC Online Teaching Certificate - June 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. Melanie Shaw


Dr. Melanie Shaw has over fifteen years of educational experience ranging from classroom and graduate level teaching to counseling and administration. She is Director of Online Curriculum and Instruction at Clemson University. In addition, Melanie is a dissertation chair, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses online, and develops curriculum for a variety of higher education institutions.

Melanie’s primary research interests include online teaching and learning, organizational leadership, and distance learning instructional practices. She is the author of several books, articles, and chapters including: An Evaluation of Student Outcomes by Course Duration in Online Higher Education; Establishing an Online Professional Development Community to Promote Faculty Engagement and Excellence; Distance Learning Courses: A Survey of Activities and Assignments;and Online Course Activities: A Survey of Assignment and Assessment Types. In addition to Melanie’s publications, she has presented at national conferences on topics related to distance learning. She is the winner of the Wagner Award for Outstanding Instructional Support and the Online Learning Consortium’s Effective Practice Award.

Melanie received a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Teaching from Northcentral University, a master’s degree in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University, and a second master’s degree in School Counseling from University of West Alabama. She received her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and Music from Excelsior College. She holds teaching certificates in online teaching, elementary education, and guidance counseling. She lives near Colorado Springs with her husband and two daughters.

Dr. Arifa Garman

Dr. 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.