Purdue Online, College of Ed work together to launch updated, practical online teaching resource

In 2019, the Purdue Repository for Online Teaching and Learning (PoRTAL), a digital repository resource for instructors and designers interested in online teaching and learning, was released. On June 1, 2023, Purdue Online will launch PoRTAL 2: Online Teaching and Learning in Action, an expanded set of professional development learning modules for online instructors and others.

Wanju Huang

The new project’s resources are “for anyone interested in online teaching and learning – K-12 teachers, professors at Purdue or elsewhere, instructional designers, and teaching assistants,” said Wanju Huang, clinical assistant professor of Learning Design and Technology and co-PI of the project. It is a free non-credit professional development online course that includes best practices on different topics with possible professional development hours for Professional Development Credits.

“The online modules are designed to help online instructors build skills, design quality online courses, and use up-to-date technology to engage students,” Huang said. “These courses have open enrollment and can be started anytime. Each module is self-paced so participants can work through each course in their own timeline.

The original PoRTAL is regularly updated as an online resource and currently provides 31 evidence-based “job aids” in categories such as  “Strategies for online teaching and learning”, “Getting started: Thinking about your course design”, “Upping your game”, and “Policies & procedures.”

Jennifer Richardson

PoRTAL was so successful that Jennifer Richardson (PI), professor of Learning Design and Technology, and Huang decided to transform and expand the original concept. Naming it PoRTAL 2: Online Teaching and Learning in Action, they used a systematic design process with four iterative phases: (1) performance/needs analysis, (2) intervention selection and design/development, (3) expert evaluation, and (4) intervention implementation.

“The goal of PoRTAL 2 is to bring our online teaching and design experience together to create a non-credit course for those in online learning teaching and design, to make this information more engaging and accessible to them,” Huang explained.

The learning modules are designed to help instructors build skills, design quality online courses, and use up-to-date technology to engage students. The non-credit online course has open enrollment and can be started anytime.

PoRTAL 2 includes seven topics related to online teaching:

  • Module 1: Getting Started with Online Teaching
  • Module 2: Seven Principles for Great Online Courses
  • Module 3: Getting to Know your Online Learners
  • Module 4: Universal Design for Learning
  • Module 5: Gamification
  • Module 6: 21st Century Skills
  • Module 7: Creating Community of Inquiry in Online Courses

PoRTAL won the Best Practice Award, Division for Distance Learning, at the 2019 Association of Educational Technology and Communication International Conference. PoRTAL 2earned the 2021 University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) Central Region Excellence in Instructional Design Award.

“These online resources provide evidence-based best practices, are easy to use, and will aid you in building engaging online courses,” said Robin Cunningham, Manager of Online Programs in the College.

“The Online & Hybrid section of Teaching@Purdue is excited to feature PoRTAL 2 in the Deeper Dive content that provides instructors advance opportunities to improve their course instruction, pedagogy and add instructional innovation to their course delivery,” said April Wolf, instructional designer with Purdue University Online.

“It’s a practitioner approach, very practical,” Huang said. “People learn this and say, ‘I can use this immediately in my teaching.’”

Contact: Wanju Huang wanjuhuang@purdue.edu or Jennifer Richardson jennrich@purdue.edu

Innovative Learning Website: https://www.purdue.edu/innovativelearning/about-us/what-is-il/

United web portal for discovering, accessing Purdue online programs launches (Purdue Today, Aug. 21, 2019)