Organizing your Course Menu (and your Course!)

May 16th, 2014 by Rob Coyle

Setting up your course menu is the start to how you are going to organize your course. Since we all have slightly different teaching styles there really are many ways to structure your course (and your course site) but there are also some common areas we should all be including. How you setup your course is especially important for online courses, both Internet and Hybrid, since students will spend a large part of the course working independently of the instructor.

Here are a list of items we recommend you include on your course menu:

  • Announcements & Welcome Message: Ongoing communication to the class is preserved in the course site. Including a permanent welcome message helps students know where to go to get started with the course.
  • Getting Started: Introduce students to the format of the course and the setup of the course site.

Course Information

  • Course Syllabus: A complete up-to-date syllabus for the semester is provided on the course site.
  • Schedule/Calendar: A complete schedule of deadlines and other important dates is provided on the course site.
  • Contingency Plans: The course contains a contingency plan that details alternative submission and contact instructions in case of an Learning Management System or email outage.

Course Materials

  • Modules (Lessons, Units, Weeks, Chapters, etc.): All related content is grouped into a single content area.
    • Module 1
      • Assigned Readings
      • Other Materials, Notes, Documents, etc.
      • Link to Discussion Board (or other activities)
      • Assignment (Homework, etc)
    • Module 2
    • Etc.

Student Resources/Tools

  • Grades: A formal grades section where students can keep track of their progress is provided on the course site.
  • Email: Adding this tool gives students quick, easy access to contact you and their fellow students without having to leave the course site.
  • HELPThe course site contains a content area linked from the main menu that provides links to or contact info for Academic Support Services, Student Services, Disability Services, and Technical Support

Of course, how you include these items (the order they appear, the name you give them, etc) and how exactly you organize your course remains up to you (and your department) but the more consistent we can make the student experience the better students will be able to navigate our course and our course sites, which hopefully will help set them up for a better learning experience.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like us to help you get your course site setup, please contact Online Learning.