Online Teaching Essentials: A Foundational Workshop for CUNY Faculty

Due to the large number of faculty interested in the Preparation for Teaching Online (PTO) workshop, SPS has worked with CUNY Central to recalibrate its offerings. Until further notice, SPS will now be offering the Online Teaching Essentials (OTE) workshop in lieu of PTO. 

If you have already completed your application for a June or July PTO session, you will automatically be offered a seat in the June or July OTE session. You will be contacted by your OTE campus liaison(s) with further information as soon as revised dates are confirmed.

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 3-week Online Teaching Essentials course will give participants first-hand experience of what it is like to learn online, including the flexibility of asynchronous instruction. All participants share a large online course but their activity will be focused in small groups defined by their field or discipline. All activity will occur in Blackboard, the learning management system CUNY faculty and students have used for some time.

The Structure of the Course

  • Module I: Understanding the Online Learning Environment
  • Module II: Structuring the Online Learning Experience
  • Module III: Communicating and Interacting Online
  • Module IV: Online Presence and Engagement
  • Module V: Effective Online Assessment
  • Module VI: Course Schedule and 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 small 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 course.

Although all required activity is asynchronous or time-flexible, 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 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 LawAnnCammettcammett@law.cuny.edu
Graduate CenterDavidOlan dolan@gc.cuny.edu
Guttman CC (not participating)NicolaBlakenicola.blake@guttman.cuny.edu
Hostos (not participating)CarlosGuevaracguevara@hostos.cuny.edu
John Jay (not participating)GinaFostergifoster@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 Public HealthSergioCostasergio.costa@sph.cuny.edu
SLUGladysPalma de Schrynemakersgladys.schrynemakers@slu.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