The Catholic University of America

Teaching an Online, OWL or Blended Course

Checklist for teaching an OWL or blended course (pdf)

Teaching Tools and Tips (pdf) - presented at fall 2016 faculty meeting

FAQs for teaching online courses from Technology Services

Distance Education Policy

Pedagogy Workshops

Online pedagogy workshop are an opportunity for LIS faculty to share ideas about how to effectively teach online. Target audience is instructors who will teach OWL or blended courses in summer or fall of 2015. Topics to be covered are: 

  • (Workshop 1) Strategies for successful online teaching: This session will provide 10 tips for successful online teaching, which will include planning process, course design, organization, time management, expectations for online students, a sense of community, communication channels, etc. View PowerPoint
  •  (Workshop 2) Using multimedia for the engaging and dynamic learning environment: This session will demonstrate best practices of using multimedia to make online courses more engaging and dynamic. Selected multimedia software (e.g., Jing, iSpring, Adobe Connect Pro, etc.) and concrete examples of their usage in the online learning context will be introduced. View PowerPoint
  • (Workshop 3) Effective interactions in online courses: This session will cover effective ways to manage online discussion, one-on-one student advising, student assignments, and group projects in online courses. View PowerPoint

Workshop 1 took place in early May 2015, and Workshop 2 took place summer 2015, and Workshop 3 took place fall 2015.

OWL/Blended Timeline - refer to Academic Calendar

The Academic Calendar for online courses differs, and is found here: Online courses Academic Calendar - 2018-19 (pdf)


10 weeks before start of semester

-or, if summer, 8 weeks before summer term

Submit required textbook information - "adopt" online 
2 weeks before start of semester  Share draft syllabus with students
By start of semester  Submit syllabus on syllabus repository
1 week before start of semester Release Blackboard course to students
Add/drop date Reconcile your Blackboard roster with your official Cardinal Students roster
Last class session Distribute Course Evaluations or, if online alert students to complete
See Academic Calendar Submit Grades for graduating students via Cardinal Students
See Academic Calendar Submit Grades for continuing students via Cardinal Students


Teaching an OWL class

The OWL format provides both the student and the instructor the flexibility to work on the course according to their own schedules, at their convenience, in their own space and time. The only mandatory scheduled times are the four in-person, face-to-face (F2F) Saturdays published on our OWL page.  Instructors should give contact information to students and set aside time during the week to respond to students.

The start of the semester is the start of the OWL course, not the Saturday morning of the first face-to-face OWL meeting.  Students expect interaction on Blackboard by the start of the semester.  Please release your course and draft syllabus two weeks before the start of semester. You must also submit your final syllabus to the syllabus repository by the beginning of the semester.

Required textbooks are listed on the schedule in Cardinal Station, and a federal mandate stipulates that textbook information be published before registration opens.  Many students rely on the CUA Barnes & Noble Bookstore for textbooks. Please "adopt" your books in advance of registration day (usually 8-10 weeks before the start of the term). Log on to to do so. Email Margaret Pooley the ISBN number and title, if you are having difficulty with the request form.

Planning your class

An OWL course is a 3-credit semester-long graduate level course, the equivalent of 14 two-and-a-half hour class sessions, or about 35 hours.  As you draft the syllabus schedule, you should consider which material to cover online versus face to face.

We request you use the University syllabus template, as it includes required information. Since part of your class is online, you must also add a link on your syllabus to blended resources ( in the teaching methods section.

Blackboard or AdobeConnect training

Any instructor who is new to the OWL/blended format, will meet with LIS faculty or staff as you plan your course. Also, take advantage of campus trainings and workshops to maximize your effectiveness with Blackboard or AdobeConnect. Learn more at

Course Evaluations and Student Survey

Feedback is essential to improving the program. For blended and OWL classes, a link to an online course evaluation will be sent to your students the last week of class. Remind them to look for this email from the Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Student Learning Outcomes Assessment.

If you prefer your students to complete paper evaluations, please let LIS know and we will arrange for you to pick up the in-class paper course evaluations packet before the last in-person session.

OWL and blended students will also be asked to complete a survey on the class format.  They will receive an email from LIS with a link to the OWL/Blended survey at the conclusion of each term. 

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