Certificate in Online Teaching (COT)

The growth of online teaching presents a need to address course quality, instructor training, assessment of teaching effectiveness and student learning, and retention. The Certificate in Online Teaching is an online program designed to prepare degree- and non-degree seeking graduate students for the realities of online teaching and to help them expand their career options. Non-degree, certificate-only students, will be enrolled in the Graduate College (as unclassified non-departmental students) and assessed tuition and fees based on this admission status.


  • Overview

    The Certificate in Online Teaching (COT) is offered to degree- and non-degree seeking graduate students. Students who are degree-seeking graduate students are those accepted into and enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Iowa. Non-degree seeking graduate students are post-baccalaureate students who have not been accepted into a graduate program at the University of Iowa. Please refer to the appropriate enrollment section depending on your student status.


  • Enrollment & Completion Requirements

    Degree-seeking Graduate Students

    To complete the Certificate in Online Teaching (COT):

    1. Discuss the COT with your advisor.
    2. Complete and submit the COT Enrollment Form. The COT will be added as a Program of Study in your academic record.
    3. Complete the required coursework (see below).  Please refer to the note about use of academic credits when pursuing more than one graduate certificate). 
    4. Submit the Certificate Completion Form to the Coordinator of the COT. Your completed form will be reviewed by the Coordinator, by a Graduate College representative, and your transcript will be reviewed to confirm course completion (Note: you may be enrolled in the capstone course while submitting the Certificate Completion Form).  Subsequently you will receive the certificate and it will be noted on your transcript.  
    5. Complete the Post COT survey. 

    Non-degree seeking Graduate Students

    To complete the Certificate in Online Teaching (COT):

    1. Complete the University of Iowa non-degree online application form. In the “Purpose of Attending” box, type that you are applying to complete the Certificate in Online Teaching.  With this application you will have to pay a $40 admission fee and submit an official transcript.
    2. Given submission of the appropriate materials, your enrollment application will be reviewed and the Coordinator of the Certificate in Online Teaching will be informed of your intentions. .
    3. Complete and submit the COT Enrollment Form to the COT Coordinator. You may complete this form at the same time as you submit the non-degree online application form. 
    4. After review of your application and enrollment form you will be informed of the status of your application. 
    5. Contact the Coordinator of the COT for advising.
    6. Complete the required coursework (see below)
    7. Submit the Certificate Completion Form to the Coordinator of the COT. Your form will be reviewed by the Coordinator and by the Graduate College representative.  Subsequently you will receive the certificate and it will be noted on your transcript.
    8. Complete the Post COT survey. 

    NOTE: You may, at any time, pursue admission into a graduate program at the University of Iowa.  Having been enrolled in the COT program will not guarantee acceptance into any graduate program at the University of Iowa.  If accepted into a program, inform your advisor about your enrollment in the COT and send an e-mail to the COT coordinator providing the name of your program of study, degree objective, and the name of your advisor.  


  • Course Delivery

    The Certificate in Online Teaching requires 12 s.h. of graduate credit and is offered completely online. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript.

    The program of study for this certificate develops students' skills in using technology to solve instructional problems associated with distance and time, as all was using technology to enhance any learning environments. The online format of this certificate models and exhibits the techniques and approaches taught in the certificate courses themselves.


  • Coursework (for all COT students)

    The Certificate in Online Teaching requires the following courses in three categories: Pedagogy/Theory, Tools and Utilities, and Capstone (12 s.h.)

    • Pedagogy/Theory
      • PSQF:6205 (07P:205) Design of Instruction (3 s.h.)
      • PSQF:6211 Universal Design and Accessibility for Online Instruction (3 s.h.)
    • Tools and Utilites
      • PSQF:6216 Tools and Utilities for Online Teaching (3 s.h.)
    • Capstone
      • PSQF:6215 (07P:215) Web-Based Learning (3 s.h.)

  • Category and Course Descriptions

    Category 1: Pedagogy/Theory (6 credits)

    Pedagogical/theoretical considerations relate to how students learn in different contexts and environments. For example a critical issue in online learning is high student attrition. An understanding of learners’ self-efficacy and self-regulated learning skills and psychological constructs can help shape learning strategies and technological approaches that address student retention (Evaluation of Evidence-based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, U.S. Department of Education, 2010).

    • PSQF:6205 (07P:205) Design of Instruction
      This course deals with pedagogies, theoretical foundations of learning, relevant research and best practices related to the process of instructional design. It provides a broad overview of the process used to design, develop, implement, and evaluate effective instruction.
    • PSQF:6211 Universal Design and Accessibility for Online Instruction.
      By the end of the course students will understand how to incorporate the concept of Universal Design for Learning and assistive technologies into online learning. Design considerations promoting universal access, developing multiple representations of learning materials that benefit all students and understanding the legal requirements of accessibility and technical accommodations will be covered.

    Category 2: Tools and Utilities (3 credits)

    Choices and uses of technological tools and utilities directed by learning theory guide the affordances of particular media and instructional strategies, for example, the relative advantages of synchronous versus asynchronous technologies for learner collaboration and reflection.

    • PSQF:6216 Tools and Utilities for Online Teaching
      In this course students will be able to research, evaluate, select, learn, and apply appropriate technologies Technology lessons, which will be drawn from a variety of sources, will be customized according to students’ interest areas and in line with the type of technology used in the communities to which they provide instruction.

    Category 3: Capstone (3 credits)

    Practical/capstone considerations are realized as students gain mastery through a project-based approach that involves applying learning theory and online technologies en route to programming a unit of instruction. Also necessary are applied practical considerations such as analyzing the cost-effectiveness and efficiencies of the strategies and technological methods employed (Evaluation of Evidence-based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, U.S. Department of Education, 2010).

    • PSQF:6215 (07P:215) Web-based Learning
      This capstone course melds theory and practice for designing and delivering online instruction. The online course culminates with a capstone project requiring students to apply technologies and create and pilot test an online unit of instruction for their instructional/teaching audience(s) shaped by learning theory.

  • For Degree-seeking Students Enrolled in more than one Certificate

    Students may use course credits from the COT as part of their academic Plan of Study as determined by their program. A student may pursue more than one certificate; however, particular courses cannot be used to meet the requirement of both certificates and as credits for the academic Program of Study. For example, a student may pursue both the Certificate in Online Teaching and the Graduate Teaching Certificate. PSQF:6205 (07P:205) Design of Instruction may be used for both certificates, but then may not contribute to the accumulated semester hours for the academic program of study. For questions, please visit with your advisor, the coordinators of the certificate programs in which you are enrolled, or a Graduate College representative.


  • Participating Faculty

    Stephen Alessi, Associate Professor
    Benjamin Devane, Assistant Professor
    Joyce Moore, Associate Professor
    Kathy Schuh, Associate Professor (Coordinator and advisor)
    Mitchell Kelly, Clinical Associate Professor
    John Achrazoglou, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning; Director, Education Technology Center; Chief Technology Officer, College of Education


  • Reference

    U.S. Department of Education; Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service; Center for Technology in Learning. (2010, September). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies (rev.). Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf