Transitioning to Teaching Language Online (TTLO)

Friday, June 18–Sunday, July 18, 2021
Asynchronous* 4-week intensive online institute

After a year of teaching online in "survival" mode, many language teachers are looking to improve their online courses for the future. This institute delves into the important elements of a successful online language class, such as online course design guidelines, best practices for online teaching, oral practice and feedback techniques, and the analysis of communicative-based online activities and the tools to create them. Best of all, participants will see these principles in action by taking part in online language activities as language learners in this unique institute taught by a team of experienced instructors.

This highly participatory institute is perfect for teachers who were thrown into teaching online last year as well as those who are brand-new to teaching online. By the end of the institute, all participants will have a portfolio of new—and improved—activities ready to be incorporated into their next online language course. Teachers will be awarded a certificate of completion (up to 120 hours) upon finishing institute requirements.

Program Schedule
(2 deadlines daily @ 4pm and 11:59pm Central)
Week 1 General Online Teaching Guidelines Applied to Language
  • Orienting to the Institute Virtual Classroom
  • Evaluating Online Course Design Using Quality Checklists
  • Applying Best Practices for Teaching Online
  • Creating Online Community and Teacher Presence
  • Designing online Group Activities
Week 2 Online Language Teaching and Learning
  • Analyzing Example Activities, Evaluating Existing Materials
  • Presenting and Scaffolding Vocabulary and Grammar Acquisition Using Authentic Materials
  • Focusing on Oral Production in the Online Course
  • Giving Feedback in a Variety of Ways
  • Assessing Online Learners
Technology for Instruction and Student Engagement
  • Creating Effective Online Activities for the 3 Modes of Communication
  • Using Video for Content Delivery and Feedback
  • Creating an Online Eportfolio
  • Adopting Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning
  • Communicating Consistently across LMS, Syllabus, and Activities

After this institute, you will be able to:

  • Use your experiences as an online learner to better support your online students;
  • Apply guidelines, checklists, and best practices to improve your online courses;
  • Create online community with teacher presence and group activities;
  • Review and revise language lesson activities for online teaching;
  • Develop online lessons with authentic materials and oral production;
  • Deliver feedback and assessments in new ways;
  • Write your syllabus and instructions with detail, clarity and consistency;
  • Use online tools to create activities within the framework of the 3 communicative modes;
  • Make your course site and documents more accessible to all by applying UDL principles; and
  • Use ePortfolios to evaluate and display student work.


Alyssa Bonnac (Instructor) is an Education Program Specialist at the Center for Educational Innovation at the University of Minnesota where she provides consulting, workshops, and courses for faculty and graduate students and teaches in the International Teaching Assistant Program. Alyssa has been teaching English as a Second Language and providing online professional development for teachers for the past 14 years and is particularly interested in supporting instructors in implementing effective online learning principles, active learning strategies, and inclusive teaching practices throughout their work.

Ritu Jayakar (Instructor) is an adjunct lecturer of Hindi language and User Experience Analyst of Outreach and Online Education at the Pennsylvania State University. She is interested in language pedagogy and the use of technology for second language acquisition.

Frances Matos (Instructor) is a Language Education Consultant. She was formerly a Senior Instructor in Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Minnesota. She developed and taught a hybrid Spanish institute at the University of Minnesota that has been offered successfully since 1997 and designed, developed, and revised the fully online first-year Spanish institutes for the University's College of Continuing Education, which she has taught for 3 years.

Marlene Johnshoy (Program Director) is the Online Education Program Director and Web Manager for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. A former Spanish instructor, she has given numerous workshops across the country on many aspects of web-based language teaching and learning, with a special interest in the professional development of online language teachers.


Target Audience

This institute is designed for foreign language and ESL teachers at the high school and postsecondary levels who are interested in developing and improving their online classes. This institute is not designed for elementary or immersion teachers, but could be applied with adaptations for a specific context.


  • Time Frame: This intensive 4-week institute is almost entirely asynchronous (not real time) with twice daily due times (4pm and 11:59pm Central time).
    • You will work on activities according to your own schedule between deadlines, but the twice daily due times are important, as the activities build on each other.
    • There will be 1-2 synchronous activities—one with a partner, maybe a small group—times will be arranged by the partners/group. There may also be optional small group discussions or office hours.
    • You can expect 6-8 hours of work per day, or more if English is not your first language.
    • “Intensive” = this institute is a semester’s worth of content in 4 weeks. Do not plan to teach or work at the same time.
  • Make sure you can meet the tech requirements for this institute.
  • Optional - Course for Credit. There is an option to take this institute for credit. NOTE that this institute is for THREE credits.


Please contact Marlene at

Quote MarksRight quote marksI am extremely impressed with how this course is designed; it is strategic in how it prepares educators to create online lessons and activities and understand the learner's perspective. This is the most effective course I have taken, which proves that online instruction can be just as effective as face-to-face! My confidence in designing and implementing online lesson plans and tools has skyrocketed in these short four weeks and I look forward to using them this fall!
—Marie Mangold, 2020 Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414