Instructional Guides and Strategies

Whether you come to Johns Hopkins for professional advancement or personal enrichment, you are embarking on a journey to reach a new level. 

Our programs are designed to equip you with tools and experience to take on whatever is next for you. You can take classes online, at one of our campus locations in Washington, DC, or in Baltimore, MD, or both. AAP offers a number of programs you can complete fully online. Our programs deliver the excellence you’d expect from Johns Hopkins University, whether you enroll part-time or full-time. You will study with the world-class faculty who are experts and practitioners in their fields. In addition, as most of our students are employed while attending classes, you’ll get to learn from and collaborate with a diverse group of professionals.

  • The IRC has curated many instructional techniques and teaching strategies for fully online and blended courses. Fully online courses are completely asynchronous; students set their own schedules for completing course work and do not need to log into the course on specific days or timesFully online courses are structured in modules that typically span one week each so that the students move through the course content and activities at a consistent pace. Some faculty also incorporate optional synchronous class meetings using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. These synchronous sessions are recorded so that all students have access to the meetings.  


  • Blended courses are partially face-to-face and partially online courses. Students complete readings, assignments, and learning activities in the online portion of the course. Face-to-face class meetings are used for discussing course topics and engaging students with in-person learning activities. 
  • The IRC strives to ensure that AAP courses are accessible so that all students can experience high-quality online learning. Accessibility practices for course design ensure that all learners have access to course materials and activities. While accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), are implemented specifically for students with auditory, visual, physical, and cognitive disabilities, accessibility practices actually help all learners. The IRC supports faculty in meeting accessibility standards in the planning, development, and selection of learning activities, instructional materials, assessments, tools, and multimedia. This support includes, but is not limited to, captioning for all audio and video recordings; using sufficient color contrast and fonts for readability; and adding text-based alternatives for non-text materials so that screen readers can convey all on-screen content. Blackboard Ally, which provides alternative formats for course content and generates reports regarding the accessibility of a course, is also available by request. Additionally, the AAP has developed Accessibility and Best Practices Guidelines for faculty to help ensure that AAP courses are accessible to all learners. You can find more information about accessibility in the AAP Teaching and Learning Community. 


  • Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, is a framework that is implemented to reduce learning barriers in a learning environment. UDL encourages instructors to consider how they engage their learners; how they present content to their learners; and how learners respond to and express their understanding of content. Because there is no optimal way to engage all learners, UDL Guidelines provide methods to make learning more equitable. UDL stresses the importance of providing multiple means of engagement for learners, multiple means of representation of content, and multiple means for learners’ actions and expression. See the UDL links below and be sure to visit the AAP Teaching and Learning Community for more detailed information. 


  • Quality Matters (QM) is a non-profit organization that serves as a leader in the quality assurance of online and blended courses. QM has designed a rubric of research-backed standards to apply in the design and review of courses, which ensures that learners experience high-quality learning, engaging activities, well-organized and accessible course components, and inclusive and equitable resources. The QM Rubric is applied both through unofficial internal IRC reviews as well as official reviews conducted by QM-certified Peer Reviewers.  


  • Because Johns Hopkins University is a Quality Matters-subscribing institution, the IRC’s checklist review for AAP courses is grounded in Quality Matters standards. Each course is reviewed at the end of the IRC’s course development (CDC) Process to ensure that all new course developments and course revisions meet AAP’s requirements as well as QM-aligned standards. The IRC’s instructional designers assist AAP faculty throughout the CDC Process to help meet these quality expectations. 


  • Periodically, the IRC offers the Application of the Quality Matters Rubric Workshop (AAPQMR). The APPQMR Workshop serves as an introduction to Quality Matters and the application of the QM Rubric in the design and review of online and blended courses to ensure a high-quality learning experience. ThAPPQMR Workshop is useful for all roles involved in the quality assurance of online and blended courses, including faculty, instructional designers, and administrators. 


  • The best way to provide access to copyrighted course materials for your students is to use Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries eReserves. Articles from the library’s databases, eBooks, clips from documentaries or films, and other digital content can be obtained through the library and linked directly to your course in Canvas. 
  • AAP faculty members have a responsibility to uphold U.S. copyright laws and model the correct use of copyrighted materials in their courses. In general, classroom teachers are given broad exemption rights regarding copyright. Teachers are exempt from copyright if the following criteria are met: Teachers and students are face-to-face in a classroom or other type of educational space at a non-profit educational institution. 


In this situation, instructors may display, read, or show any copyrighted material with their classes. This includes excerpts from documentaries, films, books, articles, and podcasts. Additionally, the Fair Use law states that educational purposes, including multiple copies for classroom use, is a Fair Use of copyrighted material. This means you can share print copies of copyrighted materials in the face-to-face classroom.  

In online courses, copyright is less straightforward. Instructors should consider the four factors of Fair Use when deciding to share copyrighted works in their online courses. The four factors are: 

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes 
  • The nature of the copyrighted work 
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole 
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work 


For help applying the four factors of Fair Use, refer to this Copyright Flow Chart resource. Additionally, see the library’s Copyright Guide for more information about copyright considerations for online courses. 

If international students are registered for your course, it will be helpful to know that they may have a different experience accessing some course content. For example, learners in China can access Canvas, but they are unable to use VPNs and websites such as Google, YouTube, and most social media platforms. You may need to work with international students on an individual basis to ensure that they can access all course content.