Published February 9, 2021 | Version v1
Working paper Open

4 scenarios for online teaching and professional development: concrete examples and practical advice


This booklet was specifically written to address issues arising upon the COVID-19 pandemic. The text was originally written in French, before being translated into English by the authors. It contains excerpts from the book entitled Enseigner dans le supérieur Méthodologie et Pédagogies Actives (Parmentier & Vicens, Dunod, 2019), upon agreement with the publisher.

Almost overnight in Spring 2020, we all found ourselves under a stay-at-home order. We were asked to switch from on-site to remote  teaching. We took the dive... Easier said than done!

Luckily, whether online or in class, the fundamental role of the teacher/instructor remains the same: s/he designs, initiates and facilitates activities that ensure cognitive engagement to promote learning. But because a virtual environment is unique and often intimidating, a careful organization is necessary to establish a climate that fosters learning. As certain goals are best achieved using certain tools, learning objectives motivate the choice of a particular technology. 

This type of e-learning offers an opportunity to rethink one's own teaching, as learning happens both during and in-between sessions.
Instead of asking ourselves "What should I do during my next video conference?", we ask: "When, how, and what should I teach to my students?". Teaching is rather continuous, through a series of synchronous and asynchronous activities, which are linked to one other and to the learning objectives.

The four scenarios presented in this book are based on principles and methods derived from experimental research in teaching and cognitive  psychology. We chose their layout through our accumulated experience with online learning. Our aim is to provide the reader with suggestionsthat are reliable, because they are based on educational research, but also in line with the reality of the job as a teacher/trainer. 


Available here in English and French versions. This booklet was presented (25 March 2021, in the Educator Channel within the FEBS Network (



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