Teaching Online Program (TOP)

TOP will help you learn how to successfully teach and deliver an online course. It is free and available to all faculty at Montana State University in Bozeman. Successful participants will receive a certificate of completion.


1) Attend a D2L introductory training session

A 90-minute introductory hands-on workshop "Brightspace (D2L) Basics" introduces participants to working in Brightspace (D2L) Learning Environment. Go here for a list of current workshop dates, times, and venues.

2) Complete the "Faculty Self-Assessment: Preparing for Online Teaching"

The "Faculty Self-Assessment: Preparing for Online Teaching" (developed by Penn State) takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and assesses faculty preparedness regarding teaching online and development of online courses. Participants receive immediate feedback dependent on which choices are made in the self-assessment format. TOP participants enter their name and email address which is "...used solely to send you the results of the self-assessment..." Penn State assures that name and email address "...is not stored on the server."

Penn State Faculty Self-Assessment: Preparing for Online Teaching

3) Review MUS "Core Principles of Quality for Online Courses..."

The Montana University System has documented core principles that are to be incorporated into online courses being offered by schools affiliated with the MUS system.

Core Principles of Quality for Online Courses

4) Review "Strategies for Effective Online Teaching" (PDF)

This document pulls strategies from L. Ragan's "Best Practices in Online Teaching" into a cohesive whole for TOP participants. Contains links and ideas connected to accepted best practices in the online community.

Strategies for Effective Online Teaching (PDF)

5) Consult with Ecat Team Staff

After completing steps 1-4, set up an appointment to meet one-on-one with an Ecat Team staff member.

NOTE: The Ecat Team staff can assist you in implementing a wide array of tools to enrich your course. However, this consult is intended to address online teaching methodologies and concepts.

Please be sure you bring:

  • Results of your Faculty Assessment
  • MUS Core Principles of Quality for Online Courses and any questions/comments you may have
  • Strategies for Effective Online Teaching and any questions/comments you may have

TOP 1-1 Consultation times are typically available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays

Register for a consultation or contact Ecat Team staff at 406-994-3255 or ecat@montana.edu


Upon completion of steps 1-5, participants will report completion. After reporting of the completion a certificate will be emailed to the participant.