Developmental Review of Fully Online (Asynchronous) Teaching

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The Teaching and Learning Department offers a developmental review of fully online teaching to support faculty who are delivering an asynchronous online course. Chairs/Chair Designates initiate the Developmental Review of Fully Online (Asynchronous). Reviews may also be requested by faculty by contacting Teaching & Learning.

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The review process takes just two to three weeks to complete and includes two synchronous online meetings. In the first meeting, you are invited to describe and share (via screensharing) your teaching activities that support student learning and promote a positive student experience in your asynchronous course. The focus of the review is during the week in which the review meeting takes place, but you are free to share other parts of the course. The second meeting involves a debrief and consult on various teaching elements.

See below for a copy of the review form, the faculty reflection form, and a step-by-step list of the review process.

Review Process

  1. You confirm the suggested date and time, or suggest an alternative. The reviewer sends a meeting link.
  2. You share your Instructional Plan. 
  3. You and a reviewer meet and review you course shell for an hour. This will include you describing and sharing parts of your course by screenshare. The meeting is not recorded. No student information is shared.  
  4. The reviewer completes the review form and sends it to you along with a reflection form. 
  5. You add your reflections, sending them back to the reviewer. 
  6. You and the reviewer meet on Zoom for debrief and coaching. 
  7. The completed review and reflections are provided to your Chair/Chair Designate, cc’ing you. 

Elements of the Fully Online Teaching Review

There are a few different areas of consideration during the review of fully online teaching. These areas align with Conestoga’s Course Delivery Procedure and Community of Inquiry Framework (Garrison et al., 2000) for asynchronous teaching.

Course Essential Elements 

  • Essential Elements Scanner tool – scan at 100% 
  • Course Outline – learning outcomes for the week under observation align with Instructional Plan and course activities 

Elements of Teacher Presence 

Teacher presence helps to set goals and provide direction for students to achieve meaningful and worthwhile learning outcomes (Garrison, Cleveland-Innes, & Vaughn, 2021, p.1).  

  • Establish a communication and contact policy 
  • Communicate regularly about important course topics (announcements, emails, etc.) 
  • Participate actively in discussions 
  • Use self-created audio and/or visual materials   
  • Challenge students to foster critical thinking 
  • Relate course material to real-world applications or aspects of the profession/field 
  • Encourage students to ask questions through supportive invitations and responses 
  • Respond to communication in a timely manner 
  • Treat students with respect 
  • Takes an interest in students doing their best

During the review meeting, you might share an example of:  

  • Faculty information, e.g., a weekly email or announcement message, a faculty bio or introduction, contact information, a video that welcomes learners to the learning 
  • Overview of course content, e.g., a web page or a video recording with direct instruction, a guide to a procedure or process  
  • Encourage questions, e.g., invite students to ask questions, provide topics for discussion or reflection, provide information that connects with profession/field 
  • Lesson design, e.g., if you created the course, you may speak to how you designed and sequenced the lesson in a purposeful way that promotes learning   

Elements of a Learning Community 

The learning community helps to meet students’ learning needs through social presence and peer learning (Virtue, Maddox, & Pfaff, 2019).  

Examples of developing a learning community: 

  • Model a learning environment that is safe, respectful, and inviting  
  • Define the expectations of the community about appropriate and respectful conduct 
  • Encourage regular student participation  
  • Stimulate discussion and opportunities for sharing within the course  
  • Create pair or group activities for learning 
  • Create opportunities for students to support each other   
  • Encourage students to share with each other and feel “seen” in the course 
  • Provide information, links, and resources that help students connect  
  • Actively monitor and manage appropriate behaviour, and respond promptly 

During the review meeting, you might share an example of: 

  • Course conduct information, e.g., a class conduct contract or suggested netiquette practices, either developed by you or co-created with students  
  • A whole-class activity, e.g., an icebreaker activity, a poll or survey, a brainstorming or mind-mapping activity, a virtual cafe discussion forum thread 
  • A peer-to-peer or small group activity, e.g., a discussion forum or group work activity; use of “groups” feature to have students share, communicate, and/or cooperate 

Elements of Feedback for Cognitive Engagement

Feedback opportunities allow students to demonstrate their learning relative to the learning outcomes. Feedback makes learning visible by correcting, guiding, and furthering learning while providing a sense of progress and achievement (Hattie & Zierer, 2019).  

Examples of feedback for learning: 

  • Give clear instructions in plain language 
  • Describe the rubrics and/or marking schemes 
  • Provide prompt, clear, detailed evaluation of student work 
  • Make feedback easy to access 
  • Use Gradebook, including releasing grades 
  • Use different forms of feedback, e.g., self-check and/or peer feedback 
  • Grade according to a rubric or marking scheme and expected course standards 
  • Give assignments and tests that cover course content 
  • Ensure that assignment information is up-to-date 

During the review meeting, you might share an example of: 

  • Explanation of the rubric and/or feedback provided: e.g., Video or text-based explanation of an assignment; explanation of a marking scheme/rubric; example or exemplar of work; description of how the rubric may be applied to a sample of work 
  • Reflection or comprehension self-check activity, e.g., reflection reading or screening questions, an ungraded quiz, a self-assessment, a checklist, an H5P activity  
  • Peer-to-peer or faculty feedback activity, e.g., a discussion forum, a dropbox activity, an email that provides feedback to the entire class 
  • Demonstration of feedback tools available to students, e.g., Turnitin, Grammarly 

Elements of Course Facilitation and Administration 

Course facilitation and administration activities manage course content, address course and technical questions and issues, monitor student participation, and identify students at risk (Berge, 1995).   

Examples of course facilitation and administration: 

  • Share and maintain the Instructional Plan  
  • Provide clear map or pathway for the course 
  • Give reminders for students when activities or assignments are upcoming 
  • Remind students who have not kept up with course content or assignments  
  • Maintain policies regarding FIPPA and OHRC 
  • Modify, update, correct, or make available course material (where necessary)  
  • Address technical issues (where necessary) 
  • Identify procedures and resources for getting assistance for technical problems 
  • Provide accessible resources and activities  
  • Work in compliance with copyright, and acknowledges sources used 

During the review meeting, you might share an example of: 

  • Provision of support resources and/or links, e.g., textbooks and/or reading details and reminders, References list, terminology list or glossary, FAQ or list for getting help (student services, IT, library, academic integrity, etc.) 
  • Promote inclusive learning, e.g., video scripts, captioned videos, alt texts for images and charts, table headers, high-visibility/high-contrast items, etc.  
  • Motivate progress and support at-risk students, e.g., use of a course map, badges, email, progress summary, Intelligent Agents, etc. 


Berge, Z. L. (1995). The Role of the Online Instructor/Facilitator. Educational Technology, 35(1) 22-3. 

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education model. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Hattie, J., and Zierer, K. (2019). Visible learning insights. London: Routledge, doi: 10.4324/9781351002226  

Virtue, E. E., Maddox, G., Pfaff, K. (2019). The lasting effects of learning communities. Learning Communities Research and Practice, 7(2)6.

Elan Paulson

Elan Paulson, PhD, has been an educator in Ontario's higher education system since 2004. Before joining Conestoga as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, Elan was on the executive team at eCampusOntario. She previously served as Program Director and as an instructor in professional education programs at Western University's Faculty of Education. With a Master's in Educational Technology, Elan specializes in technology-enabled and collaborative learning to support diverse learners. She has also conducted research on faculty participation in communities of practice for professional learning and self-care.

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