Montana State University

Teaching Online Program (TOP)

TOP will help you learn how to successfully teach and deliver an online course. It is a free and available to all faculty at Montana State University in Bozeman. Successful participants will receive a certificate of completion.


1) Attend a D2L introductory training session

Two options:


The introductory hands-on workshop "Getting Started with D2L" introduces participants to working in D2L Learning Environment. The workshop will be offered again in January 2014.

Recorded Video

For those who cannot attend an on-campus workshop: D2L overview video (30 min).

Please note: a hands-on workshop is more effective in most cases.

2) Complete the Faculty Self-Assessment: Preparing for Online Teaching

This anonymous survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and will give you invaluable insight to your teaching and organizational style when developing a new course. You will receive immediate feedback, which should be saved.

Faculty self-assessment.

3) Review MUS Core Principles of Quality for Online Courses in the Montana University System

See how many of these core principles you are incorporating in your current course and consider how you can use more of them to enhance the learning for your students.

Core Principles of Quality for Online Courses.

4) Review the Strategies for Effective Online Teaching (PDF) and explore a sample online course

Strategies for Effective Online Teaching (PDF).

Strategies can also be explored more in-depth in a sample course in D2L. To obtain access, contact

5) Create a flow chart or diagram detailing what structure/design you anticipate utilizing in your course.

Review this short presentation (PDF).

Then create a paper document that details your course goals and objectives/outcomes and gives an outline of what type of course structure you will utilize in your course. This does not have to be an extensive, but outline what you anticipate your course will look like week to week, chapter to chapter, or topic to topic.

6) Populate your course shell with a

  1. News item
  2. Grade Category
  3. Grade Item
  4. Discussion Forum
  5. Discussion Topic

Note: if you attend the Getting Started with D2L workshop face to face, you will have already created these items in your course.

You are welcome to use any current course you are teaching or a Practice Course.

Request a Practice Course or email with your request.

7) Consult with Montana State Online Staff

After completing steps 1-4, set up an appointment to meet one-on-one with a Montana State Online staff member.

NOTE: The Montana State Online staff can assist you in implementing a wide array of tools to enrich your course. However, this consult is intended to address online teaching methodologies and concepts.

Please be sure you bring:

  • Results of your Faculty Assessment
  • MUS Core Principles of Quality for Online Courses and any questions/comments you may have
  • Strategies for Effective Online Teaching and any questions/comments you may have
  • Your course design paperwork
  • Your course in D2L populated with the items from Step 5. You may use our computers to log in or bring your laptop.

TOP 1-1 Consultation times are typically available:

Tuesdays: 9am; 10am
Wednesdays: 1pm; 2pm
Thursdays: 2pm; 3pm

Register for a consultation or contact us at 406-994-3255 or


Upon completion of steps 1-7, report your participation through our online completion form.

A certificate of completion will then be emailed to you. A final survey will also provide you an opportunity to evaluate the process and provide feedback to help us continue to improve this program.

Additional Resources

To learn more about course development and pedagogy online, see Resources for Faculty Teaching Online.

A Library Guide is also available.

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