Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research

Distance Education Tools, Services & Resources for New Faculty

This resource site has been compiled to support new WIU faculty in familiarizing themselves with the faculty development, instructional support services, tools, and online resources available to them at Western. 

Obtaining Live Instructional Support

This resource has been curated by the Instructional Design Team within the Office of Distance Education and Support (ODES) at WIU. ODES is the division responsible for supporting WIU faculty in their online and blended learning course development and instruction.  

Please feel free to reach out to this office at any time! 

Office of Distance Education and Support|309.298.2434
Malpass Library 184 | Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

TOOLS for Distance Education

  • Western Online

    Western Online ,the learning management system (LMS) used by Western Illinois University is powered by the Desire2Learn Company's Brightspace product. WIU has branded this system as Western Online (WO). This system is used to provide all online courses, blended/hybrid courses, and as a supplement to face-to-face courses. In this system, instructors can post grades, create activities such as assignments, quizzes, and discussions, post materials that students can access online, and much more! Every course tied to registration is assigned an online section in Western Online each semester regardless of its modality.

  • Zoom

    Zoom is Western’s preferred video conferencing tool for conducting synchronous online courses, videoconferences, Live Streaming courses, virtual office hours, and meetings. The institution holds an enterprise license that provides a fully functional meeting account to every student, faculty, and staff. All students, faculty, and staff have limited video storage on the Zoom cloud. If you wish to retain videos on Zoom for longer than 365 days, you need to download and transfer those to your WIU YouTube account. Videos on the Zoom cloud are deleted 365 days after recording. Learn more and find helpful materials on our Zoom Resources page.

  • Google Workspace (formerly Google Apps for Education)

    Western Illinois University uses Google Workspace (formerly Google Apps for Education/G Suite). all WIU students, faculty, and staff have access to various Google Apps, including Google Mail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, YouTube, and more! If faculty want to keep and share videos in Western Online beyond 365 after recording, move those videos to their private YouTube channel. Learn more about using Google Workspace by visiting our Google Resources page.

  • Respondus Online Assessment Tools

    Western uses Respondus LockDown Browser, Monitor, and Instructor Live Proctoring for enhancing academic integrity during online assessments. We also use their Campus 4.0 Quiz creation tool for creating, managing, and publishing exams directly to Western Online.

    Learn more about these tools on our Respondus® resources page.

  • TurnItIn Plagiarism Detection Tool

    We use Turnitin’s Plagiarism detection and Feedback Studio to enhance academic integrity in online homework and assignments within Western Online.

  • Quality Matters

    During the Spring 2022 semester Western Illinois University began its adoption of Quality Matters.Quality Matters ia a non-profit organization that specializes in course assurance. All instructors at Western can sign up to use the free materials provided to improve their online and blended courses. Learn more about QM and login for your free resources on the Quality Matters Website.


  • Best Practices in Teaching Online (BPTO)

    Best Practices in Teaching Online (BPTO) is a 6-week online course that prepares online faculty to to apply best practices in teaching online to your own course or subject area resulting in (1) an online course syllabus that meets or exceeds WIU Online Course Standards and (2) a sample online instructional module. In this course, you will explore both the opportunities and the challenges of teaching online. You will experience online learning as both a student and an educator, building empathy for both roles. The course is facilitated by our Instructional Design and Technology Specialists and includes weekly discussions, individual and small group activities. All faculty are required to successfully complete this course before teaching an online course. If extenuating circumstances prevent this the course can be taken in tandem or as soon as possible. Learn more about Best Practices in Teaching and Learning and register for an upcoming session to by visiting our Best Practices in Teaching Online page.

  • Online Course Approval

    All new and redesigned online courses must go through the Online Course Approval Process before they are offered. The online course approval process is a shared responsibility between the faculty member, ODES Instructional Design and Technology Specialists, and the faculty member’s department chairperson or director. Learn more about this process and review the online course approval checklist on our Online Course Approval Site.

  • Instructional Design Consultation

    Our Instructional Design and Technology Specialists are available to meet with you one-on-one to discuss the design and development of your online and blended courses. To set up an appointment, request assistance via email at

  • Workshops

    CITR provides a variety of webinars and workshops throughout each semester to assist you in learning new pedagogies, best practices, and tools as they relate to online, and blended course delivery. Visit our Workshops page and to review our current offerings and sign-up to attend!

  • Just In Time Assistance

    CITR provides just-in-time assistance on your most common questions related to the tools used for online learning at Western. Due to our limited staff we always recommend that you refer to the documentation published on our website to find your answer. If you are unable to find your answer please call us at 309.298.2434 or email us at Please note. Our office provides instructional support on the tools involved in the delivery of online and distance education as well as instructional design and best practices. We do not provide technical support. If you are in need of technical support, please contact the University Technology (uTech) support center via email at, or phone at 309.298.TECH.

  • The CITR Website

    Our website provides abudant information in the form of step-by-step tip sheets, video overviews, and descriptive information on all of the tools, processes, and practices you will use at Western in your online or blended teaching. Please consult this site any time you need a quick answer to your question! The website is by tool, topic, and service. Use the navigation to the left of every page or the topic boxes on the front of the main page to navigate through all of our resources with ease.

  • The Distance Education and Support Announcements Google Group

    Join the Distance Education and Support Announcements Google Group to stay up-to-date with the latest announcement for faculty at WIU. This Google Group will provide you with frequent and timely information on:frequently asked questons, new features, updates or changes in Western's Distance Education Tools,upcoming professional development opportunities,and much more! Visit our Announcements page to sign up to receive group posts.