Illinois State University instructors handled rapidly changing teaching and learning conditions that resulted from COVID-19 during the spring semester. Looking ahead to fall, Mayuko Nakamura, coordinator and team lead for instructional technology and media at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT), was inspired to create a new way to support faculty in online and hybrid course design. What emerged from Nakamura’s work is the DIY Online Teaching platform, which has become a central component to the professional development offered by CTLT to support course instructors as they prepare to teach in the new academic year.

Self-paced learning

Mayuko Nakamura

Mayuko Nakamura

The DIY Online Teaching platform consists of 11 modules to help course instructors design online, blended, and face-to-face courses. The modules can be accessed asynchronously at any time and cover topics such as microlectures, course organization, and student engagement. Modules feature four sections to learn about topics, plan for implementation, share examples for peer mentoring, and ask questions related to the topic of the module. “Online and hybrid teaching requires faculty to be a lot more intentional in the design of planning for course activities and assessments,” Nakamura observes. Her hope is that the DIY modules will help course instructors build sustainable and equitable learning experiences for their students. Dr. Jennifer Friberg, interim CTLT director and the Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, says Nakamura’s innovations with the DIY platform “challenge instructors to think very purposefully about all aspects of course design in a systematic and doable way.”

DIY à la Carte sessions and certificates

Linda Summers

Linda Summers

Linda Summers, coordinator for blended and online learning at CTLT, helped to develop and coordinate synchronous programming to further explore each of the 11 DIY Online Teaching topics. Through a series of live Zoom events, interdisciplinary faculty mentors with expertise in each of the 11 DIY topic areas share examples from their own experiences and answer questions that course instructors might have in a series of one-hour, live Zoom events.

In addition, course instructors are able to earn three different teaching certificates for participation in various DIY-related programming this summer. Course instructors who are working on the certificate have opportunities to discuss their changes with the CTLT Online/Hybrid Teaching Facilitation Team, which includes Nakamura, Summers, and Dr. Steve Travers.

Evidence-based practice

All DIY programming is aligned with the Framework for Inclusive Teaching Excellence and prioritizes the use of evidence-informed teaching practices that are responsive to all students’ needs. “All DIY programming highlights best practices in online teaching,” says Dr. Yojanna Cuenca-Carlino, assistant vice president for academic administration. “These modules will help instructors create meaningful learning experiences for our students. Student success and learner-centered teaching are at the core of these asynchronous professional development opportunities for instructors.”

DIY Faculty Mentors

Hundreds of instructors have accessed this unique professional development opportunity thus far. The DIY Online Teaching program is supported by dedicated instructors and staff members who serve as mentors to the campus community of instructors. They include:

Carolyn Broadbent, Accounting
Steve Travers, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
Kantara Souffrant, Art
Andrew Ventimiglia, Communication
Allison Alcorn, Music
Anna Smith, Teaching and Learning
Rachel Shively, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Katie Jasper, History
Linda Summers, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
Tera Galloway, Management and Quantitative Methods
Corinne Zimmerman, Psychology

Information about DIY programming and other professional development opportunities offered by CTLT is linked to the Redbirds Keep Teaching pages, a comprehensive online resource for instructors.

About CTLT

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology supports educators in their pursuit of excellence and innovation in teaching, student learning, and the effective use of technology. CTLT’s staff transitioned to fully-online support, offering workshops, consultations, and online resources, during the campus closure in the spring of 2020. Services will continue to be offered primarily online through the Fall 2020 semester. You can reach CTLT by emailing