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New online instructors are sometimes hired just before the semester begins (or even just after the semester begins). This timing presents a real challenge, because there is a lot to do to get yourself and your online classroom ready for the semester — and it may not be feasible to complete the Teaching Online training course (AAU 020) before everything gets rolling.

If this is your situation, you can use this Quick Start Guide to help you focus on the most critical tasks that will get you up and running as quickly as possible. Then, when you have settled into the semester, you can go back to the training course and catch up.

1. Bookmark key pages.

2. Set up a phone or Skype date with your Teaching Coach.

Contact your coach by posting a message in the Discussion for AAU 020: Teaching Online — see #7, below.

3. Log In to the online learning system.

You will find it here: https://www.academyart.edu/login.

4. Navigate through the online learning system.


  • Portal (links to many useful resources — including the Online Teaching Library)
  • Mailbox (internal messaging system — learn more)
  • Help Desk page (24/7 user support — learn more)
  • Home page — look for the little house icon (provides access to your classes, grades, profile, and more)

5. Learn how to document your time so you get paid (part-time instructors only).

6. Get set up for online teaching. 

  • Check the Help page to make sure your computer and browser are set up properly. (Click the tabs for System Requirements and Browsers.)
  • Post an online profile (learn more), including a bio and a photo. (Click the Profile link under your name.)
  • Download the module calendar from the Online Teaching Library.

7. Learn how to use the Discussion

The Discussion is the interactive part of the class — i.e., your online classroom.
  • From your Home page, find AAU 020: Teaching Online and click the link for Assignments, Exercises, and Discussions. (Note: If you will be teaching an Art Experience class, you may need to select the regular semester — not the Pre-College semester — to find the training link.)
  • Review the Announcements at the top of the page (learn more).
  • Scroll down to Current Topics and click into TASK 1.2: Try out the discussion!
  • Watch both orientation videos, and then follow the instructions to practice making posts and comments.

8. Review the content of each of your online classes.

Links to various parts of the course are on your Home page — and on the class menu, once you enter a class. Check out:

  • Course Home/Syllabus (review the grading breakdown & grading scale; make sure you have all the materials you will need)
  • Roster (see a list of your students with links to their profiles; you can message your entire class from this page — learn more)
  • Outline (provides module-by-module overview of course content, links to all the module pages, quizzes and exams, the assignments and discussions)
  • Go through the Module 1 of your course, including any associated media. Answer the progress questions and take the quizzes, if any. Make sure you’re familiar with this content before the semester begins.
  • Review the Module 1 assignments to make sure they are very clear. Talk with your teaching coach, if you need to clarify assignment directions.
  • Open the Discussion page and review the topics for your class by opening Pending Topics. Review Module 3 of the Teaching Online training to learn more about how topics work.

9. Formulate and post your expectations and policies. 

Review Module 5 of AAU 020: Teaching Online and talk with your teaching coach.

10. Get your class student-ready.  

  • Edit your Welcome topic and add an icebreaker (learn more).
  • Make an initial post in the Welcome topic, greeting your students.

11. Get ready to teach. 

  • Familiarize yourself with AAU Online Teaching Standards and the instructor absence policy.
  • Review Modules 6 and 7 of AAU 020: Teaching Online to learn about your day-to-day responsibilities in your online class, including discussion participation, answering questions, critiquing and grading work.
  • Talk with your teaching coach about any questions you might have.

12. Go back and review the rest of the content of AAU 020: Teaching Online 

Once you have settled in, catch up on the material you missed. Be sure to review Module 3, which teaches you how to create and edit topics in your online Discussion.

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