Catholic Distance Learning Network




Welcome to the Certification Materials in Online Teaching and Learning!

"The internet, with its capacity to overcome distances and place people in mutual contact, presents great possibilities also for the church and its mission. With the necessary discernment for its intelligent and prudent use, it is an instrument that can serve not just studies, but likewise the pastoral action of future priests in the various ecclesial fields, like evangelization, missionary action, catechesis, educational works, the administration of institutions. In this field, too, it is of extreme importance to be able to count upon formators who are adequately prepared, that they might be faithful and always well-updated guides to the end of accompanying candidates for the priesthood toward a correct and positive use of these means of information."

--Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Institutes of Study) - The Vatican - 7 February 2011

While the CDLN is no longer in operation, the modules for this course, developed by Dr. Mary Beckmann, program director for the CDLN, with the assistance of Mr. Raul Lozada, instructional designer at Holy Apostles College & Seminary, remain freely available for the purpose of demonstrating the essential elements involved in creating an online teaching and learning environment.

Module 1

(¡Ahora en Español! translation by Dr. Carlos Miranda)

In this module, we discuss the differences between online and classroom teaching and learning, associated basic terminology, transactive vs. transmissive pedagogies, basic course templates, converting documents to PDF, and learning theories and learning styles and their relationship to online courses.

Module 2

(¡Ahora en Español! translation by Dr. Carlos Miranda)

In this module, we examine the use of various forms of electronic communication like podcasts and Skype along with the use of various tools like PowerPoint and screen shots. We will discuss how to encourage students to participate, how to understand taxonomies, how to handle intellectual property rights, how to understand ethical issues, how to use grading scales, quizzes and surveys, and how to create a rubric.

Module 3

(¡Ahora en Español! translation by Dr. Carlos Miranda)

In this module, we explore synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning methods, ways by which to establish effective practices within them, and the connection between taxonomies and online discussion groups. We will demonstrate how to use online resources to obtain meaningful and valid reading material along with the terminology associated with locating online readings and eBooks. We will also discuss how to deal with difficult students and difficult situations and how to track student online use.

Module 4

(¡Ahora en Español! translation by Dr. Carlos Miranda)

In this module, we examine transactive assessment, explore surveys, questionnaires, and ePortfolios, discuss goals and objectives, review Brookfield’s Critical Inquiry Questionnaire, and use a template to create a syllabus. 

Successful completion of the certificate in online teaching and learning required only the following: 

  1. creating a syllabus designed for online teaching of your chosen content area

  2. engaging in the course activities (assignments and participation)

  3. understanding the general maintenance of the learning management system you will use

The standards we use are from the general standards for accreditation of the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (the COA of the ATS) and International Society for Technology in Education: National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (ISTE-NETS).


While the ISTE standards were developed for primary and secondary education, they also serve as guidelines for graduate-level educational technology departments and will be useful to us in graduate level theological education as we study technology based teaching and learning.

In the summer of 2007, a series of short instructional design tips was created for the faculty cohorts and may remain useful.

Certification in Online Teaching and Learning was conferred through the Catholic Distance Learning Network from 2007 to 2015. The program directors during that time included the following:

*While special thanks is given to David Harrison, Jim Rafferty, Raul Lozada, and Sebastian Mahfood for their work in developing sections of the certification modules, the core design was created by Mary Beckmann.

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Funded by a grant from the Wabash Center -- Spring 2007.

Last Updated September 30, 2015. © Catholic Distance Learning Network.
Institutional Involvement:
According to ATS guidelines, full-time faculty should "have significant participation in and responsibility for academic development, teaching, and oversight of distance education. They shall ensure that the institution’s goals and ethos are evident, the program is rigorous, and the instruction is of a high quality" ( "The variety and diversity of the faculty," furthermore, "shall be appropriate to the specific program, and a sufficient number of full-time faculty shall be available to provide leadership" (