Apply Now for 2020 Emory Foundations for Online Teaching (EFOT) for Grad Students

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Opportunity: Emory Foundations for Online Teaching – Apply by April 20, 2020

Emory Foundations for Online Teaching (EFOT) is a professional development opportunity for graduate students from any discipline offered through a joint partnership between the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE). (The CFDE also manages faculty sessions of EFOT). 


How it works

Over a 5 week intensive course (May 11-June 21), EFOT introduces best practices for online teaching and is designed for graduate students who are preparing to TA or teach partially or wholly in an online environment.  All course sessions use Canvas, and the participant learns from the point of view of an online student. All sessions are completely online and require very few synchronous sessions, so whether you are at Emory for the summer, on research, or away from campus, you can still take and complete the course.

Emory graduate students from any school are welcome to enroll. Participants will learn about:

  • best practices for and methodology behind online teaching
  • instructional design
  • tools and technologies
  • Emory resources for online education.

Modules focus on:

  • teaching using a learning management system
  • pedagogically sound course design
  • developing learning objectives and assessments for the online environment
  • synchronous and asynchronous communication techniques
  • building an online community.

Participants must have a computer with Internet access, webcam, and a headset/microphone. This course and its sessions are taught 100% online.

Upon completion

Upon successful completion of a module, graduate students will earn a digital badge from the CFDE (awarded in Canvas). Those completing all five modules will receive a letter of accomplishment from CFDE.

Comments from Past EFOT Instructors and Students/Participants

Shari Wejsa (instructor and former participant):

One of the greatest strengths of EFOT is that students think pedagogically about integrating digital tools into their online courses as they learn how these tools work. It’s one thing to know how digital tools operate. It’s another thing to know how they can effectively help an instructor meet learning objectives. Some of the tools that students engage with include Zoom, WordPress (through ScholarBlogs), VoiceThread, and the features of Canvas.

Students learn pedagogical concepts that they can also apply in face-to-face classroom settings. For example, students explore the importance of developing and clearly communicating learning objectives. Students also examine the need to design course material with different learning modalities and accessibility concerns in mind. Moreover, students consider the value of rubrics for assessment by creating their own.

Students who completed the 5-week EFOT course have highlighted specific strengths of the course and important takeaways. Many found the application of skills and course content in a ‘low-stakes’ environment to be particularly useful. Some students noted that EFOT enriched their knowledge about monitoring students’ growth through formative and summative assessment. Many also highlighted the support that they received from EFOT instructors and teaching assistants.

I took the course and have since contributed to its development and served as a teaching assistant for the past two years. I have a background in education (I have a Master’s in Education and was a high school Spanish teacher before starting graduate school at Emory). As a result, I am still very closely connected to diverse communities of educators. I have spoken with many teachers and administrators who remain concerned about how to translate their course material to online platforms while meeting their course objectives. Because of my experience with EFOT, I have been able to guide them as they quickly learn new digital tools with sound pedagogy in mind.

Summar Shoaib (participant):

I want to thank the staff who taught me during the EFOT course in May 2019, who accommodated me even though I had just graduated. EFOT trained me to teach using synchronous and asynchronous methods, and especially given the uncertainty with the current COVID-19 situation, I was able to choose which format was best for the class I am teaching because of my training with EFOT.

For example, in the week prior to our spring break when things were still relatively normal, there was a case in my area of a father whose child went to my son’s school. Because we were still unsure about exposure, my department chair had me use Zoom to teach from home until we were given the all-clear soon after. However, once the university went to teaching online and my students were moved off campus and into other places, I had to take problems like internet access and capacity into consideration, so I implemented asynchronous learning in my class. Through EFOT, I learned of the best techniques to foster classroom connections and interaction in that sort of environment and I replaced a paper with postings and discussions. What I really loved about EFOT and what made the information stick even a year later was the hands-on approach. As they teach you about modules and their function in Canvas, they make you create a module. As they teach you about the differences, pros and cons between synchronous and asynchronous learning, they have you work out lessons using each method. The instructors really give you their time and attention through dedicated feedback and they make EFOT worthwhile and effective.

Bailey Betik (instructor):

One of my favorite things about EFOT is its emphasis on how to successfully implement digital tools in an online classroom in a way that puts pedagogy at the center; rather than looking at it from a “tech first” perspective, we encourage our students to think through what would best serve them as humans in an online classroom. A lot of the course encourages students to critically evaluate their own pedagogy: How do you design a course with a clear arc of learning objectives? Is a video lecture or discussion thread the best way to lead a lesson, or would other methods better achieve our learning outcomes? How do we design courses beyond the “talking head” preconceptions of the online classroom?

In the current COVID-19 moment, we’re thinking through questions of intentional design, technological access, and student engagement more than ever. How do we design and lead a liberal arts learning environment off-campus, and how do we design and lead it well? In thinking through our own course design of EFOT, we want to be able to think of how we’re equipping our participants for an all-too-urgent social context of remote learning. We want to empower our participants not only to be well-versed in platforms like Canvas, WordPress, and low-level audiovisual software for the online classroom, but also to bring elements of in-person pedagogy like scaffolding, grading, and our own teaching personas to create intentional digital interactions—which past participants, in turn, have praised for helping them think through their own in-person course design and interpersonal communication. All skill levels, experiences, and disciplines are welcome!

Anonymous (participants):

[EFOT] taught me a lot more about online learning than I’d previously known — I think I was theoretically aware of some of the tools before (in that I knew something like that must exist), but had never used them before, but this helped finding out what those tools were and how to use them.

The overall structure of the course worked well. Each unit built on the one that came before it, which helped ease my progression through the course material. From the course, I learned effective ways for translating lesson plans into online modules that engage students and allow me to monitor students’ growth through formative assessment.


Apply for the program HERE or go to by April 20, 2020.

Questions? For questions about enrollment or other information, please contact Shari Wejsa (swejsa [at] emory [dot] edu).