Stylized green and purple 'G' with "Global Society of Online Literacy Educators" in purple.

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.

2020-2021 Program Info

We invite administrators, teachers, and tutors new to online learning to consider enrolling for our Basic OLI Certificate program, which occurs throughout the 2020–2021 academic year and begins August 31. Enrollment for this certification is $75, which will be used to fund an honorarium for the OLI facilitator-mentors. All enrolled participants will need to be GSOLE members. Please learn more about GSOLE membership, including discounted rates for students and contingent faculty, by visiting our Member Portal.

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

  • Aug 31-Jan 1: Course 1—Foundation of Online Literacy Education & Digital Pedagogies
  • Jan 11-Apr 2: Course 2—Online Literacy Pedagogies

Registration available now! 

Basic OLI Certification--Program Overview

Basic certification will consist of two required courses each of which is conducted and evaluated based on a course contract and the construction of an ePortfolio.

Course 1: Foundation of Online Literacy Education & Digital Pedagogies

The first course introduces online writing instructors and tutors—also known as the certificate participants—to online literacy education and to GSOLE’s Online Literacy Instruction (OLI) principles, as well as gives them opportunities to explore and understand more deeply the contexts in which they work and the ways that digital technologies do and can affect writing pedagogies.

Course 2: Online Literacy Pedagogies

The second course specifically focuses on the assignment and activity design for online writing courses, one-to-one instruction and tutoring, strategies for assessing those online courses and experiences, and being able to justify one’s pedagogical approaches based upon OLI research.

Course Objectives

Individuals earning the Basic OLI Certificate will…

  • Connect with a community of online literacy instructors and tutors as well as online literacy mentors
  • Learn principles in effective online literacy education
  • Read scholarship in online literacy instruction (OLI)
  • Receive guidance from OLI experts on assignment and activity design for online literacy courses and online writing center consultations
  • Develop strategies for adapting instruction to different online modalities (e.g., synchronous and asynchronous learning)
  • Develop strategies for assessing online learning
  • Be able to communicate their approach to OLI to others through the creation of an OLI theory and 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 first course of the sequence introduces participants to the GSOLE Online Literacy Instruction Principles and Tenets (2019) and teaches 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 second course supports participants as they design pedagogical material for their online literacy instruction specifically tailored to the contexts for which they work.

ePortfolio Curriculum

Both courses guide participants toward meeting the pedagogical and curricular standards established by experts of online literacy education. 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.

Therefore, participants’ completion of each course will be based upon an ePortfolio. This ePortfolio can be a professional ePortfolio, designed for current and/or future employers, or a learning ePortfolio, designed to demonstrate your OLI proficiencies and reflective learning to GSOLE. The final ePortfolio will be filled with artifacts completed at the end of each learning module; participants can choose from a menu of artifact assignments or create their own assignment. Participants will compose a Plan to guide them in artifact selection. The Plan will be approved by a certification instructor (anticipated to be no later than the end of the course’s second week) but can be adjusted mid-course with instructor approval.

Each course consists of several modules designed to guide participants toward the fulfillment of each learning objective. These modules have staggered deadlines (approximately every three weeks). 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, 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 at the end of each course for assessment to demonstrate completion of each objective; the ePortfolio will carry over from one course to the next. A short personal reflection will accompany each artifact. Before beginning Course 2, participants will draw upon the first course to produce a personal, evolving theory of OLI. At the end of Course 2, students will refine their theory of OLI and add it to their ePortfolio. At the end of Course 2, 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 instructors. Upon completion of each assignment, GSOLE instructors 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, a GSOLE instructor and a GSOLE Certification Evaluation Committee member, 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; these participants can request an extension which will provide them one-on-one instructor guidance while revising their work.

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