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Guide to Teaching Online Courses

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Guide to Teaching Online Courses ( PDF, 1.3MB, 32pgs.)


NEA's "Guide to Teaching Online Courses" was developed to help ensure the quality of online instruction to secondary students in the United States. It is meant to serve as a guide for policymakers, administrators, educators, and others engaged in selecting, hiring, training, and supporting teachers to provide quality online instruction to students, or in making policy choices affecting online education.

Barbara Stein, NEA's manager of 21st Century Initiatives, said, "This document demonstrates that fully involved teachers are the linchpin of quality online education, and provides detailed information on the support and preparation teachers need, and the role they play."

It is designed to provide an overview of the development of an effective online education system, focusing particularly on the skills teachers need to teach effectively online, the professional development necessary to acquire those skills, and the models schools need to evaluate and improve online teaching.

NEA and its partners in developing the Guide believe it's "critically important that school systems and school administrators contemplate such issues before launching online courses or enrolling significant numbers of their students in such courses. Crucial lessons from decades of offline instruction are applicable, and the body of new and instructive information about the unique nature of online education is growing every day."

This latest Guide complements an earlier publication, Guide to Online High School Courses, that sets forth criteria for quality online courses, seeking to empower students, parents, educators, administrators, and policymakers to assess the quality of online courses and to help them establish quality standards for courses of their own design.

By contrast, this publication is focused on ensuring that the teachers leading online courses are of the highest quality, well equipped, trained, and supported for the many challenges of educating today's students via online instructional delivery.

The organizations collaborating in the creation of the online teaching guide are:

  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
  • National Education Association
  • North American Council for Online Learning
  • National Commission for Teaching and America's Future
  • Virtual High School, Inc.


  • Guide to Online High School Courses