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Organizing Course Modules

As with the online course syllabus, when building course content remember that including more information is generally better than including less. In addition, the information for students should be organized into easily readable chunks. For example, content organized into Weekly modules is consistent with this “chunking” approach.

Getting Started and Course Information

Begin by creating a “Getting Started” or “Course Information” module or unit, where you will want to include:

  • Syllabus, preferably in PDF format
  • Instructor Biography (upload picture or maybe short Welcome Video)
  • Course Calendar, with details on due dates (if separate from the Syllabus)
  • An announcements forum, which will be used to provide updates/reminders throughout the course
  • Links to relevant resources that will be used course wide

After completing the introductory module, create weekly modules for the duration of the semester (e.g., Week 1, Week 2, etc.). Some faculty prefer multi-weekly Unit modules, which is fine, but keep in mind the “chunking” advantage of weekly modules. Also, avoid organizing modules by file types. For example, creating a module for all of your PowerPoint presentations is not recommended; instead, link the presentations within the respective Weekly modules. For Content modules (Weekly or Unit modules), include:

  • Module Overview of Introduction
  • Learning objectives
  • Task list with due dates
  • Resources (readings, eLectures or presentations, other content)
  • Discussion forums, Assignments, Quizzes and/or other assessments

Communication and Organization

In order to ensure clear communication, strive to organize each module using a similar pattern in the presentation of content. For example, if each of your course content modules includes an overview of the 8 weeks of activities, a PowerPoint presentation, an online discussion, and a chapter quiz, be consistent from module-to-module as to the order in which those links are posted. eClass also allows you to create “books,” “labels,” or “folders.” Some faculty use books, labels, or folders to separate work to be completed by Chapters when a weekly module includes two or more chapters. Again, try to be as consistent as possible in how you use submodules and how content is ordered within sub-modules.

Course Organization – Sample Courses*

You can observe these best practices in action within these sample online courses:

*You will need to use the following enrollment code to enter each course: samplecourses