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Certification Courses

While COVID has made us all online instructors, it has not given us the time, support, or guidance necessary to teach effectively and confidently in online spaces.

The Global Society of Online Literacy Educators (GSOLE), a community of experts in online literacy practices, is offering a Basic Online Literacy Instruction (OLI) Certificate to help teachers and tutors new to online learning implement research-based practices in online courses and online writing centers. The course is designed to support the instructional work of anyone teaching reading and writing, such as instructors teaching composition, professional writing, literature, creative writing, writing-intensive courses in majors across the disciplines, as well as writing center tutors and English teachers in middle and high schools.

General Program Info

We invite administrators, teachers, and tutors new to online learning to consider enrolling for our Basic OLI Certificate program. Registration costs vary based on the self-reported rank and salary of each participant:

    • Contingent faculty and graduate students: $100
    • Full-time faculty/staff making under $50,000 annually: $125
    • Full-time faculty/staff making over $50,000 and up to $75,000 annually: $150
    • Full-time faculty/staff making over $75,000 annually: $200

All enrolled participants will need to be GSOLE members. To learn more about the Basic OLI Certification, see the detailed description below. If you have any questions about the certificate program or GSOLE generally, please contact Amy Cicchino <>.

Basic Certification Calendar

Please return later for information about the 2022-23 certification offerings.

Basic OLI Certification--Program Overview

Basic certification consists of ten modules, each of which is conducted and evaluated based on a course contract and the construction of an ePortfolio. This is a cohort-based certificate in which you, as the course participant, will be learning from the GSOLE instructor-mentors who are leading the courses as well as from the wisdom that your peers bring to these courses. While you have some flexibility in how you complete elements of this course, you will be expected to be an engaged participant throughout the entire course’s timeline and to interact with your cohort either synchronously or asynchronously at specific times.

Module Topics and Dates

  • Module 1, Getting Started: August 15-31
  • Module 2, Defining Terms and Learning Key Concepts: September 1-30
  • Module 3, Considering Context: October 1-31
  • Module 4, From Theory to Practice: November 1-30
  • Module 5, Exploring Local Contexts: December 1-31
  • Module 6, Your Personal Theory and Checkpoint for ePortfolio: January 1-15
  • Module 7, Designing Online Literacy Instruction: January 15-February 15
  • Module 8, Justifying Your OLI Practice: February 15-March 15
  • Module 9, Participating in a Community: March 15-April 15
  • Module 10, Capstone: April 15-30

Course Objectives

Individuals earning the Basic OLI Certificate will be able to…

    • Define and differentiate among teaching/tutoring environments (traditional, technologically enhanced, and fully online), course delivery formats (face-to-face, hybrid, fully online) and temporal modalities (synchronous and asynchronous).

    • Understand how teaching/tutoring environments, course delivery formats, and temporal modalities influence accessible and inclusive student learning.

    • Design, justify, and apply the pedagogy for an accessible activity using the affordances of a digital teaching/tutoring (e.g., LMS, blog, social media platform)

    • Describe and analyze their local contexts, the resources the contexts offer to the teaching of online writing, and the affordances of those resources.

    • Design an online unit that teaches writing, teaches others how to teach writing, or teaches tutors how to support consultants through online appointments. 

    • Theoretically justify the unit they designed in the last module.

    • Understand how to manage the interpersonal relationships between students and the instructor, students and tutors, students and each other, and students and the course content.

    • Review and reflect on their learning in this course by developing a theory of learning and complete a peer review of another person’s ePortfolio.  

    Participants’ Workload

    The certification process has been designed to teach participants foundational principles and practices of teaching and tutoring writing online. Yet, it is also designed to give each participant the opportunity to apply those principles to the contexts in which they work or anticipate working. The rigor and labor associated with this course can be compared to a graduate-level course with an ePortfolio being the final deliverable that will be assessed for certification. We estimate participants will spend approximately five hours per monthly module over 9 months.

    ePortfolio Curriculum

    The certification process has been designed to teach participants foundational principles and practices of teaching and tutoring writing online. Yet, it is also designed to give each participant the opportunity to apply those principles to the contexts in which they work or anticipate working. The first six modules introduce participants to the GSOLE Online Literacy Instruction Principles and Tenets (2019) and teach participants how to analyze mediating technologies at the institutions at which they work. This analysis will help instructors apply the principles in practice and adapt their pedagogy across technological and institutional contexts. The final four modules support participants as they design pedagogical material for their online literacy instruction specifically tailored to the contexts for which they work. As participants complete each module, they will develop an ePortfolio, which will serve as their deliverable for final evaluation in the certification.

    Rather than working through a standardized, inflexible curriculum, participants will meet each course objective by completing assignments and activities that can be individualized to their professional goals and local context. Each participant can choose activities from a list of menu items designed by GSOLE, or, with the GSOLE instructors’ guidance and permission, they can design their own activities. 

    Each module is designed to guide participants toward the fulfillment of each learning objective. These modules have staggered deadlines. There will be opportunities to engage in synchronous (e.g., video conferencing or phone) or asynchronous discussions of each other’s work for each module within learning pods, which the instructor will also facilitate. Artifacts that provide evidence of skills, experiences, and knowledge from each module will be placed in an ePortfolio that will be submitted for final assessment to demonstrate completion of each objective. A short personal reflection will accompany each artifact. In module 5, participants will produce a personal, evolving theory of OLI. At the end of the course, students will refine their theory of OLI and add it to their ePortfolio. Then, participants will submit their ePortfolio for review and evaluation by a GSOLE Certification Board of Evaluators. 


    To pass each certification course, a participant will have to earn a passing grade for each assignment and have a passing ePortfolio. As participants complete each module assignment, their work will be reviewed by and discussed with their peers and GSOLE instructor-mentors. Upon completion of each assignment, GSOLE instructor-mentors will provide extensive feedback on the participant’s work with a preliminary evaluation. They can revise each assignment as many times as they would like. 

    At the end of the course, two GSOLE Certification Evaluation Committee members, whose review will be anonymous, will evaluate the ePortfolio on a pass/fail basis. If there is disagreement between the two evaluators, the ePortfolio will be assessed by a third evaluator. Participants who do not pass the portfolio have the option to resubmit their ePortfolio for further evaluation following revision; these participants can request an extension which will provide them one-on-one instructor guidance while revising their work. 

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