Online Teaching Essentials: A Foundational Workshop for CUNY Faculty

With to the shift to remote teaching, SPS has worked with CUNY Central to recalibrate its offerings. SPS is now offering the Online Teaching Essentials (OTE) workshop in lieu of the Preparation for Teaching Online (PTO) workshop. 

The Online Teaching Essentials workshop is a CUNY-sponsored program to prepare faculty for online and hybrid course instruction, offered by the faculty development team at the School of Professional Studies (SPS). The workshop is conducted fully online in the Blackboard LMS, with activities and assignments that can be completed on a flexible schedule (asynchronously) within each scheduled module. Currently, there is no direct registration for the workshop; participants are nominated by their campuses. Familiarity with basic functions of Blackboard is required.

Workshop Description

The Online Teaching Essentials workshop covers best practices in online pedagogy, whether in the fully online asynchronous or mixed synchronous-asynchronous classroom, or in the hybrid or blended modalities. The workshop will give participants first-hand experience of what it is like to learn online, including the flexibility of asynchronous instruction. All participants are enrolled in a main course site, but their activity will be focused in groups defined by their field or discipline. All activity will occur in Blackboard Learn, the learning management system CUNY faculty and students have used for some time.

The Structure of the Course

  • Start Here!: Introductions and Course Information
  • Module I: Understanding the Online Learning Environment
  • Module II: Inclusive Teaching: Reaching All Your Students
  • Module III: Backward Design and Effective Assessment
  • Module IV: Online Presence and Engagement
  • Module V: Communicating and Interacting Online
  • Wrap Up: Final Project & Reflection

In each module, participants review resources related to the topic, engage in discussions with peers in the same or a similar discipline, and complete practice exercises. Experienced online faculty serve as peer facilitators guiding groups through the discussions and Blackboard exercises. The final project is a draft course schedule and syllabus that serve as a plan for teaching an online or hybrid course.

All required activities, with the exception of a group meeting to complete a group assignment, are asynchronous, but participants are expected to complete tasks within module time frames.

Faculty Learning Outcomes

Each participant who completes the course will:

  • Gain first-hand experience in and appreciation of the needs of an online learner;
  • Identify widely accepted best practices for online teaching, including principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL);
  • Reflect on how to apply to one’s own course the instructional design principles, organizational and facilitation skills, and communication and assessment strategies introduced in the course;
  • Become familiar with the basic operations and features of a Blackboard classroom from both student and instructor perspectives;
  • Create a plan for building and teaching an online or hybrid course.

Certificate & Payment Details

Participants who successfully complete the workshop according to the rubric outlined in the syllabus will receive a certificate of completion and may be eligible for a payment. 

Upcoming Online Teaching Essentials Workshops


To inquire about your eligibility to participate in an upcoming Online Teaching Essentials (OTE) workshop, please reach out to your campus liaison(s) listed below.

CampusFirst NameLast NameEmail
BaruchAllisonLehr Samuelsallison.lehrsamuels@baruch.cuny.edu
Bronx CCLuisMontenegroluis.montenegro@bcc.cuny.edu
City TechKarenLundstremklundstrem@citytech.cuny.edu
CUNY School of LawFareedHayatfareed.hayat@law.cuny.edu
Graduate CenterRachelSponzorsponzo@gc.cuny.edu
Guttman CC (not participating)NicolaBlakenicola.blake@guttman.cuny.edu
John JayJudyCahnjcahn@jjay.cuny.edu
Kingsborough CCJaninePalludanJanine.Palludan@kbcc.cuny.edu
Laguardia CCPriscillaStadlerpstadler@lagcc.cuny.edu
Lehman (not participating)OlenaZhadkoolena.zhadko@lehman.cuny.edu
Medgar EversHollieJoneshjones@mec.cuny.edu
Queensborough CCDenisBejardbejar@qcc.cuny.edu
School of JournalismJeremyCaplanjeremy.caplan@journalism.cuny.edu
School of Labor and Urban StudiesGladysPalma de Schrynemakersgladys.schrynemakers@slu.cuny.edu
School of Public HealthSergioCostasergio.costa@sph.cuny.edu
York CollegeGreetVan Bellegvanbelle@york.cuny.edu


Please direct any questions about OTE to your campus liaison listed above. 

If you require assistance related to a previously taken PTO workshop, please reach out to the Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Technology at ofdit@sps.cuny.edu. 

CUNY Online Essentials:  CUNYOnline@sps.cuny.edu