I have been involved in online learning for about 15 years. I started out trying to make digital resources for my students to save paper and keep things organized for a student population that had infrequent attendance. Things snowballed from there.
I started using a Learning Management System (LMS) to organize my materials and give my learners access to them whenever they needed them. This improved self-advocacy and allowed them to return to items when they might not have wanted to ask me to repeat something in front of class.
From there, I was tasked with setting up a state-approved online learning program for the district I was working for. That took about a year, then I went about developing courses from there. I was largely self taught, so when I give workshops on these topics I am trying to help people avoid the same kinds of mistakes that I was making at the time. Many of the “bad examples” I show were things I created earlier in my career.
I became a tech integrationist and then immersed myself in the world of online learning. I have gone back to the class room from time to time to practice blended learning strategies, but at this point in my career, I am trying to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in the online environment.
The topic that really helped inform my work over the last decade has been around the topic of Accessibility, also discussed on this site as its own topic. Those guidelines provide a framework for developing good practices that support better outcomes for all learners.
A lot of people ask about different certifications for course evaluations, teaching evaluations, etc. I am skeptical of vendors and certifications in general, so where I work now, we tend to develop our own based on several factors, equity; suggestions from leading organizations that share their work publicly; locally developed to meet the needs of our learners. For instance, the course evaluation rubrics in the district I work for has been developed over years.
Nothing is ever finished.
Everything is a work in progress and when we learn more, we make changes. We let research and data be our guides. One of the reasons I like using Open Source software is because we get access to all of that data. Every click, time spent, course navigation practices, completion rates, which types of assignments students do better on over others is all accessible to us so that we can make targeted improvements in areas where people may struggle. Vendor systems do not always offer that level of access to that data, though they likely use it to continue to improve their own products and sell them.