Learning to teach online: a guide for educators

By Brian Fairbanks

May 6, 2021 • 4 minute read

Did you know that you could potentially teach online from anywhere in the world? Educators who have teaching degrees and want to upgrade their skills or transition to remote-learning roles may benefit from additional instruction on how to facilitate virtual classrooms and classes.

With many schools, including K-12 programs, offering hybrid or remote learning these days, this may be an emerging career path for educators. Additionally, it may be a skill set all teachers may need to learn as virtual instruction becomes more in demand. To do this, educators may need to find the right program to learn how to adapt their education skills to a new online environment.

Learning how to teach online may require professional development geared toward traditional classroom lesson plans and modifying them to fit in the online modality. Teachers looking to make this shift — or to prepare for a potential return to virtual teaching — may want to consider expanding their knowledge of the emerging technology available to them and strategies for developing impactful lessons.

Because online learning is a growing pathway in K-12 education, there are many possible approaches to take. Here’s a brief rundown on what’s possible when you want to lead online courses from anywhere in the world.

Teaching courses online

As you explore the option of teaching online, it is helpful to review the different formats available.

First, you may want to decide whether you prefer to start with instructor-led courses or self-led classes. There is a significant difference between the two. Instructor-led classes are usually “live” in the sense that you can interact with students while the lecture or course is unfolding in your virtual classroom.

Self-led courses are the “manual” option for students, who often watch prerecorded lectures on their own time. This means students can catch up on coursework or lectures at any point before a certain deadline or before the next one is available to stream online.

These two systems offer different levels of flexibility and focus for both students and educators. Students who choose self-led classes may have busy work and family schedules. That can make it hard to sit for live lectures at appointed times.

Educators enjoy similar flexibility with the self-led format. They can prerecord their lectures and upload them at any time of day before they are due online. This then frees them up to tackle other tasks, like grading.

It’s up to you to decide which style of teaching you prefer when you teach online. Then seek out schools/programs that offer that type of delivery model and learn more about the requirements they have in place to work at their institution and the associated requirements in the state/country.

Learn how to teach online

In the digital era, education providers—from K-12 schools to universities—have reimagined the classroom. As a result, teachers have had to rethink how to provide instruction. What may work in the classroom may not translate to the virtual environment.

Teachers who are looking to transition from an in-person classroom to an online modality, or learn how to provide successful online learning experiences, must understand the foundations of virtual teaching. This understanding often requires a knowledge of how to use the same skills, tools and platforms from the in-person classroom and apply them online.

Through the process of understanding how to teach online, educators should learn how to design effective online experiences. Through this they can help strategically foster student engagement and enjoyment in the classroom. Additionally, they should be able to provide the same level of support to students through distance learning. This requires having a fundamental knowledge of the latest online tools to aid student success.

Online learning at University of Phoenix

If you are interested in learning to apply the various techniques stated above to the virtual environment, you may want to consider the University of Phoenix Foundations in Virtual Teaching course. This single noncredit professional development course helps teachers transition from in-person, traditional classrooms to virtual and potentially more flexible course options.

The Foundations in Virtual Teaching course focuses on developing and improving educators’ teaching tools, style and grasp of 21st-century technology, so they are better equipped to head out into the world (or just home, with their webcam) and become a valued, in-demand online teacher.

This course touches on several skills, including:

  • Strategies for transitioning to online learning
  • Virtual facilitation strategies
  • Evaluation of technology-mediated assessment
  • Building an online community

Click here to learn all about the Foundations in Virtual Teaching course, which offers an estimated 30-hour learning commitment. If you’re still looking to get your degree in education, consider starting your search here.

If you’re new to University of Phoenix, you’re probably wondering why you should choose our online courses to level up your skills in education and related fields. Read on for answers to some of our FAQs.

Q: When did University of Phoenix (UOPX) start offering online courses?

A: For more than three decades, UOPX has maintained a focus on online classes to help students all over the United States get the education they seek.


Q: Can international students take University of Phoenix courses?

A: Yes. Depending on the degree program/coursework, students living abroad may be eligible to attend online. For more information, please contact a UOPX representative.


Q: Will I need to have a stable internet connection to take online classes or courses at UOPX?

A: To access our courses, you will need to have at least an intermittent connection. For more details about what technology is necessary, visit this page.


Q: What are the benefits of online learning, as opposed to traditional classroom learning?

A: Pivoting to a virtual classroom may give teachers greater flexibility to balance family time or give their students 24/7 access to classes. Teachers who are looking to add or switch to virtual classes might consider learning how to make the adjustment through University of Phoenix’s online classes. With our online classes, we offer fixed, affordable tuition and career services support for life.


Pivoting to a virtual classroom may give teachers greater flexibility to:

  • Balance family, work and school
  • Give their students 24/7 access to online classes

With our online classes, we offer:

  • Fixed, affordable tuition, which you’ll know up front
  • Support and student resources

With the Foundations in Virtual Teaching course, you’ll get to enjoy each of the above benefits. Share your passion for education and online learning. Sign up with University of Phoenix today!

Recommended for you