Skip main navigation

Planning online teaching – where to start

Moving from considering how to prepare students for success and into preparing (or reusing) an online teaching activity to support students.
Planning Online Teaching Where To Start
© FutureLearn
You have started to consider how you’ll prepare your students for success. Now we want to help you prepare (or reuse) an online teaching activity that supports your students.

Working without the gift of time to prepare

Preparing for teaching online should follow a process. Given the current situation we are adapting the usual approaches. When we support a new teacher going online we would follow a process that typically aligns to these stages:
The FutureLearn Course Lifecycle - a cyclic process of Plan, Design, Develop, Deliver and Review - each stage is recommended for online courses
The above course lifecycle is an overview but can be briefly described as:
  • Plan around context: how you teach and your students’ needs.
  • Design a student-centric approach to storyboard a course.
  • Build content and media: rich resources and activities for teaching and learning.
  • Run is what FutureLearn calls a course with active teaching and learning.
  • Review and evaluation: ensuring we reflect and iterate based on feedback.
Right now even the above looks luxurious. Going through all the usual stages would feel challenging and costly in time. So instead, we’re starting with a light version:
  1. Start with your learners’ needs (✓ Steps 1.4 to 1.6).
  2. Reuse known and proven methods and resources.
  3. Design for learning in a quick and agile way.
  4. Reflect and iterate for improvement.
We realise you may be faced with anything from running a few teaching sessions to potentially working out how to put a whole curriculum, or more, online. We also know your students may have never studied online before, and we want to help you prepare for this too.

Discuss: what’s your immediate priority as a teacher?

Is there something your learners need right now? It may be a project, revision, a clear schedule, an induction to learning online or a series of smaller activities to maintain continuity from the classroom. Stop to think about your immediate priority right now.


883 Reviews
We want you to consider your unique situation but to also find and follow others in the same place as you. You may have shared this in the Welcome Area discussion, but your situation could be quickly changing due to the challenging circumstances.

Connect with others

This course has attracted a range of teachers, from younger audiences to higher education, training and tutoring. We recommend that after posting your own contribution that you read comments from others and find others similar to you. Click the ‘Follow’ link next to those who are facing a similar situation to you.
You can use this to sort and filter future discussions, helping you quickly find the most relevant methods, approaches and reflections that are being shared. This helps build a community of practice and connects you with others in a similar situation.

Time saving tip

You’ll want to personalise your teaching but we recommend starting with inspiration from others and existing resources. In the next few steps we are strongly encouraging you to find an approach you can learn from or reuse quickly. It’s OK to do this anyway but especially useful in a time of urgency.
© FutureLearn
This article is from the free online

How To Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education