Creating Engaging Materials

for online language teaching

next session TBD

Creating Engaging Materials for Online Language Teaching is a fully online portfolio-based course designed for experienced university-level language instructors (e.g. instructors who have developed and taught an online course at least once, or have participated in our Introduction to Online Language Teaching). During the three weeks, participants will:

  • Identify foundational principles of materials design and develop criteria for assessing curriculum
  • Create, evaluate, and review 3-6 sets of materials which will become part of their Engaging Online Materials Portfolio
  • Participate in weekly feedback/review of materials created by other participants using rubrics provided by the course

Creating materials that pique our students’ interest is a goal for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching. To prepare ourselves to do that we need to ask ourselves a few questions: What makes a set of materials engaging? What criteria must be included? Which technology tools are best for which types of objectives? How should the task be assessed? How can teachers develop routines for easy creation of interesting materials that fits their learning environment and objectives? Participants will work together with colleagues to develop these criteria, skills, and routines.

Participants will learn how to:

  1. Apply backwards design principles to visual, audio and interactive design elements to create their own engaging materials that correspond with their objectives
  2. Select appropriate technology tools to assist in meeting their objectives
  3. Reflect on the success of their task(s)
  4. Determine how they may improve them further and how they can expand the projects in the future

Course Details

  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Weekly expected workload: 5-7 hours (asynchronous) plus one/two synchronous sessions scheduled based on participants’ availability
  • Small, seminar-style cohort-focused curriculum similar to what you’d find in a graduate course, with extensive and personalized instructor feedback and interaction
  • Learning Platform: D2L (MSU’s Learning Management System)
  • No required materials other than those provided within the learning platform
  • Technology Requirements: computer with stable internet connection; webcam and microphone; mobile device (recommended)
  • Not for credit; a certificate will be provided to participants upon successful completion of the course.
  • In addition to perpetual access to the course materials, participants gain access to a private Facebook Group with other OLT alumni, as well as a companion website with extensive examples of online language courses designed by OLT faculty
  • Please note: we reserve the right to cancel or postpone a course session if the minimum enrollment number is not met.

Course outline

  • Week 1: Principles of Backwards Design and Foundation for Development & Evaluation of Engaging Online Materials
  • Week 2: Portfolio Development and Evaluation Part 1 (Listening/Reading & Vocabulary/Grammar)
  • Week 3: Portfolio Development and Evaluation Part 2 (Culture/Pragmatics) and Portfolio Completion


  • Application Deadline: September 26, 2022
  • Session Dates: October 10 – 28, 2022
  • Instructor: Austin Kaufmann (learn more about the instructors on our faculty page)


While the course is designed for higher education professionals, language educators from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. 

 Because space is very limited, participants will be selected based on several factors, including the strength of their application. Special consideration will be given to LCTL instructors who apply. Applicants will submit their application through the portal, where they will need to upload:

  • a resume
  • a cover letter discussing their interest in online language teaching and familiarity with learning technologies, detailing how taking this course will impact their career and their program/institution, and committing to the workload noted in each course description (see links below)

We encourage you to apply for more than one course, but please note we will try to accommodate as many applicants as possible.