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Principles for Excellence in Online Teaching


Two Canadian university instructors who teach online have drawn upon their own experiences, as well as those of other online teachers, to come up with a list of principles to guide new online instructors and course developers.

Authors Jim Henry and Jeff Meadows of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta say, among other things:

  • Technology is a vehicle, not a destination.
  •  Effective online courses are defined by teaching, not technology.
  •  A great web interface will not save a poor course, but a poor web interface will destroy a potentially great course.
  •  Excellence comes from ongoing assessment and refinement.
  • For teaching online, say Henry and Meadows:


“[It is] not sufficient to be a content expert. Nor is it sufficient to be ‘tech-savvy.’ It is not even sufficient to be an excellent traditional classroom teacher. Because the online world is a categorically different environment, a particular blend of skills and knowledge is necessary if success is to be found in this domain.”


Read the paper“Absolutely Riveting Online Course: Nine Principles for Excellence in Web-Based Teaching” (CANADIAN JOURNAL OF LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY, vol. 34, no. 1, Winter 2008) — to learn more.

The Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology [ISSN: 1499-6685], published by the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, is a peer-reviewed journal that welcomes papers on all aspects of educational technology and learning. For more information, contact: CNIE/RCIE, 260 Dalhousie Street, Suite 204, Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1N 7E4; email: [email protected].

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