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DOTS: Designing for Online Teaching Success




The Baylor Learning Design Team in partnership with the Academy for Teaching and Learning has designed the DOTS (Designing for Online Teaching Success) program for doctoral students interested in learning the theory and practice of designing and teaching high quality online courses.




2024 Fall DOTS Registration

Facilitating the Fall 2024 certification are:

Fulfills the Category 5 (12 pts.): Self-Directed Study requirement for the Academy of Teaching and Learning/Graduate School TeaCHE Program

Total Time: 25-30 hours over six weeks

Steps to Completion:

  1. Apply to the program – priority acceptance will be granted to fifteen doctoral students. Any remaining open spots will go to Master Students.
  2. Complete six week-long modules that include a 1-hour online synchronous discussion. These sessions will be held on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm through Zoom. For description, please see below.
    • Session 1: Building Online Community and Connecting with Your Students, October 15th
    • Session 2: Mapping your Online Course, October 22nd
    • Session 3: Organizing Your Course, October 29th
    • Session 4: Online Learning Activities, November 5th
    • Session 5: Video from Passive to Active, November 12th
    • Session 6: Facilitating a Synch Session, November 19th

Who can participate?

The DOTS program is designed for doctoral students, but any remaining spots after doctoral students have enrolled may be offered to masters students. To ensure a quality experience for all we are limiting each cohort to 15 students. Upon completion, participants will earn a Baylor DOTS Digital Badge of Completion through Credly.

How can I register?
If you have questions, please email the Learning Design team at  Otherwise, you can go straight to the
registration link

If you are interested, but unable to attend due to the date and time of the sessions, please email us at and we can add you to the wait list for the Fall 2024 DOTS offering. Students who register beyond the 15 students maximum will be put on the wait list for this semester and offered priority registration next semester.

Can I withdraw from DOTS?

We will accept withdrawals from DOTS up until the first day of classes for the semester DOTS is offered. Due to the limited spots for the DOTS Certificate, we encourage you to complete the program once it starts. If you choose to withdraw after the start of the program, wait-listed graduate students will miss out on the Fall offering.

Module Descriptions


Module 1: Building Online Community and Connecting with Your Students

Connectedness is critically important to student success in online courses. Our online students articulate through annual success surveys how important engagement is to their success. Online engagement manifests itself through four key interactions: instructor to student, student to student, student to content and student to technology. We will explore strategies for building a learning community that promotes connectedness through these four key interactions. As part of this effort, we will create introductory videos that will help establish a culture of engagement and connection in the online classroom.

Module 2: Mapping Your Online Course

Your vision is in place. Now it is time to start organizing your course with a course map. This session will explore the benefits of course maps and how they are the foundation of designing a course. They help us ensure that learning builds and scaffolds throughout the course. As we begin constructing our courses, it is important to understand how to calculate total learning time for your course. Faculty new to online course development often overload or underload their courses, causing frustrations for students. We will demonstrate the use of time calculators to ensure that our online courses meet personal and institutional standards.

Module 3: Organizing Your Course

Well organized courses can reduce student stress. It’s our goal to reduce the administrative and cognitive load for students, which allows our students to better focus on learning the content at hand. We will explore strategies for organizing your course that builds upon the work you completed in Modules 1–2. We will discuss the importance of using a consistent course structure, naming conventions, and flow that focuses students on mastering the course content.

Module 4: Online Learning Activities - Authentic Assessments

Every course is unique and can be built using a wide variety of learning activities and techniques. However, there are some basic components that are often found in many online courses; this session will introduce you to some of the more common ones. We will look at ways to assess learning that go beyond traditional tests—what is often called "authentic assessment." We will provide a rationale for using authentic assessment and suggest several ideas.

Module 5: Crafting Discussion Prompts

Continuing our discussion from Module 4, we will delve into a widely-employed approach in many online courses. Our focus will be on discussion boards—specifically, guiding you on selecting compelling topics, effective management of discussions, and fostering active student engagement. You will have the opportunity to develop online discussion prompts and revise them based on the feedback you receive from the course facilitators.

Module 6: Facilitating Your Course

This module will prepare you for the day-to-day delivery of the course, whether it is completely asynchronous or includes live synchronous sessions. A well-designed course must be executed in a way that learners feel connected to the instructor, to one another, and to the subject. Participants will learn how three elements: Connection, Content, and Continuation may be woven through the delivery process. After reviewing the materials on facilitation, you will have a chance to practice by creating a production sheet for a live session to follow one of the modules you designed.

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