Nine principles for fully online teaching

Published: 19 May 2020
Nine principles for fully online teaching

Since 2017, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education (PVCE) Portfolio has digitally uplifted over 300 courses at UNSW, making them deliverable online or in blended mode. In collaboration with the UNSW Business School’s Digital Learning team, the PVCE’s latest completed Digital Uplift project produced a complete framework for designing and delivering fully online courses to serve as a template for the UNSW Business School.

Grounded in evidence-based educational research, the project produced a principles document offering nine best practice principles for online teaching. These principles cover Digital Assessment, Designing for Purpose, Teacher Presence, Communication and Delivery. The principles shape guidelines and practical recommendations for teaching online, establishing benchmarks for consistency and quality across an entire program.

The Business Faculty Fully Online Template project also offers many resources for academics seeking to design and implement student-centric online courses. To allow academics to quickly design Moodle courses to a high standard, the team has built three Moodle sites:

  • The One-Stop-Shop for Online Course Design includes material on the nine principles and recommendations. There are also resources for active learning, facilitating online discourse, reflective learning and much more (enrolment key: Participant).
  • The Exemplars site shows examples of activities and resources that can help a course fulfil the nine principles. These include interactive videos, an icebreaker exercise to promote an active learning community, blocks to direct students to support services, transcripts for accessibility and other useful items.
  • The Template site can import directly into your own Sandpit and be adapted for your purposes (best suited to Business School courses). It includes placeholders for different items and notes (hidden from students) to guide you in making your course as robust as possible.

For access to the fully online teaching principles document or any of these Moodle sites, please contact either Margaret Connor (Business School, or Emily Simmons (PVCE,