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Course Set-Up Tips

Teaching online effectively can require even more advanced planning than the traditional classroom. The following elements are important to consider when planning for an online course. Note that naming conventions might vary depending on the learning management system (LMS) used.

  • Course Purpose:
    • Goals: A broad statement about what students should learn by the end of a course.
    • Objectives: More defined statements about intended knowledge gained.
    • Learning Outcomes: Measurable statements about what students should know by the end of a course.

Additional information can be found in the Goals, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes Tips.

  • Required technology & skills: Learners should be aware of what technology is needed such as having an email account, internet access, a computer, or mobile device. Learners should also know what skills are needed such as being able to navigate online, creating a Google account, or using a camera or microphone.

Additional information can be found in the Digital Literacy Tips.

  • Consistent Navigation and Content Organization:  Learners can become frustrated or confused if navigating a course or locating the course content is challenging. Using consistent navigation and organization creates familiarity and makes it easier for learners to move throughout a course.
    • Use the same structure and naming conventions from week to week.
    • Organize content folders chronologically.
    • List activities in order of importance.
  • LMS Help Guide: Many platforms already have “how-to” videos that you can share.
  • Contact Information & Office Hours: Here is where preferred methods of communication are shared. Recommended information includes phone number, email, hours of availability, and virtual meeting information.
  • Schedule: Provide a schedule that includes weekly course content, assignments, and due dates.
  • Calendar: Important dates should be included on the course calendar such as due dates and holidays.
  • Grading policies: Provide clear expectations of performance, be transparent, and include relevant criteria. If applicable, include extension, make-up, and redo policies.
  • Feedback policies: Provide learners with information on how and when feedback will be given. Feedback should be timely, highlighting progress vs. deficiencies, and provide opportunities for improvement. Students should also be allowed to share their feedback and self-monitor their progress.

Additional information can be found in the Universal Design for Learning Tips.