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Remote instruction and virtual learning are no longer the exception; rather, it's become the norm in schools around the country. Now, many students at all stages of their educational journey, find that they prefer the flexibility and versatility of online learning. 


To specialize in online teaching, you should consider an advanced degree program that provides you with insight into the best strategies for teaching courses online. 

Exploring Online Teaching Programs 

Due to the rise in demand for virtual learning and online education, there is now an influx of degree and certificate programs that provide educators with the best practices in online learning. Knowing which online teaching programs are available and how they can help you accomplish your goals will allow you to make the best decision for your teaching career. 

An Overview of Online Education Programs 

Teachers who focus on online and digital learning will still need to pursue the traditional education pathway, which includes earning a bachelor's degree in teaching and completing their teaching certification. However, to specialize in virtual learning, teachers can pursue additional online education programs, such as a master's degree in teaching or an online teaching certificate program. 

Focusing on Lesson Planning and Instructional Design 

Lesson planning and instructional design look different when you are working within the virtual sphere. Without the materials and resources that might be available to you and your students in a physical classroom, you must think creatively when it comes to planning lessons that are both engaging and effective. 

Essential Components of a Lesson Plan for Online Teaching 

According to Indeed, these are some key components of an online lesson plan: 


  • Objective – You need to identify the goal of the lesson. 
  • Materials – Without being in a physical classroom, you may need to supplement traditional materials with innovative virtual tools, like Kahoot and Zoom. 
  • Background knowledge – Evaluate and assess the existing knowledge your students have so you can build upon it throughout your virtual lesson. 
  • Direct instruction – This looks a little different in a digital learning environment. You will have to outline whether you are going to do live instruction or provide instructional materials to enable asynchronous learning. 
  • Guided teaching – Identify areas where guided teaching may be necessary, and work to bridge the digital divide during this part of the lesson. 
  • Assessment – This is particularly easy in an online classroom because you can use virtual quiz tools and other fun online games as exit tickets for your lessons. 

Designing Instruction for Effective Online Learning 

To facilitate an effective online learning environment in your classroom, you must prioritize instructional design. suggests to anchor your design with opportunities for connection, then build your lesson and coursework from there. Engagement and collaboration should be high priorities within your overall framework. 

Developing Effective Teaching Strategies for Online Education 

When remote learning became the only option in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many educators, parents and students felt that it was a sub-par experience. This is largely because no one had the time to prepare, plan and enact a solid online teaching strategy. 

Now, after several years and plenty of opportunities for growth, there are numerous effective teaching strategies educators can rely on when working with students online. 

Strategies for Engaging Students in an Online Environment 

In an online learning environment, these are some strategies that may help you increase engagement: 

  • Prioritize discussion-based learning, which helps build a sense of community and provides immediate feedback. 
  • Create smaller units within an online course to increase engagement and improve retention rates. 
  • Design a schedule and routine that keeps students on task. 

Enhancing Learning Outcomes With Interactive Teaching Methods 

As the world of digital learning has evolved, it's become clear that interactive teaching methods are the most effective within an online classroom. When teachers and students can collaborate using the most advanced digital tools and resources, learning outcomes improve organically. 

Ensuring Success in an Online Education Course 

Students of all ages are enrolling in online schools, so it's essential that educators know how to ensure success for various types of learners. 

Preparing for the Online Learning Environment 

As an educator, you can work with students and prepare them for success by: 

  • Encouraging them to create a learning space in their own home. 
  • Offering time management tips to help them stay on track with their coursework. 
  • Providing troubleshooting tips for all students in the event of technological issues. 

Tips for Excelling in Online Courses 

Students can excel in their online courses when they: 

  • Attend synchronous lessons regularly. 
  • Can connect with teachers on an individual basis. 
  • Have access to the technology and support needed to successfully navigate the coursework. 

Making the Most of Online Teaching Resources 

Maximizing your use of online teaching resources can enable you to create a welcoming and inclusive classroom where all students have the chance to succeed. 

Essential Tools for Online Teaching 

Per a report from ClickUp, these are some of the best tools for online teaching (in addition to the ClickUp platform itself): 

  • Google Classroom 
  • Kahoot 
  • Zoom 
  • Actively Learn 

Leveraging Podcasts and Webinars for Continuous Learning 

Podcasts and webinars are tools you can use to enhance the digital learning environment for students. You might encourage them to lean on podcasts and webinars as they dive deeper into topics that interest them most. 

Exploring Apps for Enhanced Teaching Experience 

The market for educational apps is growing exponentially, and there are many apps that can enhance your experience as a teacher. Popular apps for teachers include Remind, Class Dojo and Seesaw. 

Expert Insights on Online Teaching 

The number of educators teaching online courses is expected to rise, particularly as advancing technology continues to redefine the educational landscape. 

Benefits and Challenges of Online Teaching 

As with any type of teaching experience, there are benefits and challenges associated with online teaching. As reported by eLearning Industry, educators who specialize in online instruction enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Increased flexibility with their work schedule 
  • Improved ability to differentiate instruction 
  • Streamlined evaluation and assessment methods 

There are some drawbacks, however, which include less opportunity to work with hands-on materials and potential technology issues that disrupt the online learning environment. 

How Online Courses Can Enhance Teaching Careers 

One of the best ways for teachers to prepare to become virtual instructors is to enroll in an online degree program. By navigating and completing online coursework, you can gain firsthand experience with learning management systems and educational technology, helping you become a more empathetic and effective online teacher. 

The Future of Online Degrees in Education 

As online education continues growing in popularity across all levels, there may be specialized degrees available in this field. However, currently, the best educational pathway for teachers is to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree to specialize and maximize earning potential. 

Prospects of Online Degrees in Teaching 

While there is potential for online degrees in teaching in the future, you still stand to benefit from the coursework offered as part of a Master of Arts in Teaching program. University of the Cumberlands' Master's Degree in Teaching can provide you with a universal foundation in the best teaching strategies and classroom management techniques, both of which can be utilized in a physical or virtual classroom. 

Become a Future-Proof Educator at University of the Cumberlands 

At University of the Cumberlands, we offer an online Master of Arts in Teaching that explores the most recent topics and trends in the education field, including online teaching. Our innovative curriculum provides an opportunity to pursue your passion for teaching while developing the skills necessary to succeed in this field, which will continue to be influenced by rapidly changing technology. 

Request more information about our online master's degree programs today.