Teaching Online Practices and Strategies (TOPS)

Need Assistance Building Your Online Course?

We have a great resource available! Our nine-week Teaching Online Practices and Strategies (TOPS) provides an introduction to theory and best practices in online course development and delivery. It’s offered fully online so that full-time or adjunct faculty can participate and so they can understand the online experience from a student‘s view.

With the increased interest in online courses, many new and current faculty find they need to learn about teaching online so they can develop a new online course. Some Mason faculty who are participating in new online programs have dedicated instructional designers to help them design and deliver online courses, but many others lack the online experience or technology skills to plan and build an online course. Past participants report the experience was immensely valuable, as they not only learned a great deal about online course development, use of technology, and instructional design, but also about themselves as instructors.

Who is eligible?

  • Faculty members with an online undergraduate or graduate course they are scheduled to teach within the next year at Mason
  • Faculty members developing a module for a hybrid undergraduate or graduate course they are scheduled to teach within the next year at Mason
  • Librarians who are developing modules to embed in undergraduate academic courses


Applicants should have basic Blackboard skills and expect to spend an average of 7 hours per week completing TOPS.

What will participants accomplish?

  • Design and build one module of their course (equivalent to one week of coursework)
  • Experience what it is like to be a student in an online course
  • Interact with other participants and share ideas for activities, assignments, and learning and teaching strategies

The spring 2020 TOPS session will begin on Monday, January 27, 2020. 

Interested? Apply here by January 17th. 

Questions? Please contact us at stearns@gmu.edu.