Designing Online Courses

Designing Web-Enhanced and Hybrid Courses

Building a course for student success

  1. Use the Course Menu
    • The Learn Course Menu is customizable; links can be in any order you like, named to match your syllabus, and dividers can separate parts of the menu.
    • Having good navigation should reduce emails and conversations about where to find things in your course.
    • Add Content Areas using the plus sign that represent major parts of your course, such as weekly content, projects, group work
  2. Use the Item tool
    • You can place text any where on a content page, to present information immediately without forcing students to open a document for instruction.
    • Combining text with links to course elements will be of huge help to most students.
  3. Use Discussion Forums or Blogs
    • Provide either space to continue a powerful conversation, or to allow students to post research a topic from your campus class to keep them engaged until the next class meeting.
    • Set the forum or blog up to allow subscription and tell your students about the option; you all can receive postings by email for timely responses
  4. Organize your content with folders
    • Be consistent; if you want your students to go into the course regularly, resist the temptation to send them documents by email. Force them to go to the course for everything you can.
    • Make your content area and folder structure simple, so you can get things done quickly.
    • Hide links that you are still working on
  5. Have a large number of readings?
    • Put a link to e-reserves inside your course; don't give them two separate places to go
    • Or instead of e-reserves, attach a folder in your content collection to an item for a week or a topic. Students will see the documents in alphabetical order and will be able to download all as a zip file or individually. Using this method keeps you from having to set up e-reserves, and you can have your documents in the context of other elements for the week (or topic - whatever organization you have).

Ideas to facilitate instruction

  1. Using Rubrics for assignment grading, class participation or anything you can define within the structure of a rubric.
    • You can use points, a point range, percentage or just use the tool to create a chart for performance criteria.
  2. Use tests to help the students study, especially if you have a test bank from a publisher.
    • You can draw questions randomly from a pool, allow them to take the test more than once with a new set of questions each time.
    • Record a score for their feedback whether you want to include it in the grade center or not.
    • If you want to grade it, one way would be to allow multiple attempts and record the average grade to encourage having read the course material.
  3. The Self and Peer Assessment tool is a great way to set up an assignment for students to help each other or to benefit from each other's work.
    • A way to put this type of activity online instead of taking up time in the classroom.
    • Students can be more reflective in their critiques if they have more time or aren't under the pressure of the classroom.
  4. Lecture or assignment materials
    • Put handouts online to reduce requests for copies
    • Uploading materials in advance of a lecture or class meeting about an upcoming project could help students be prepared with questions.
  5. Use a wiki for collaborative learning. Learn has a built-in wiki tool that allows you to create multiple wikis for individual or group work. You will be able to grade individual contributions; in fact, you will be able to see when and to what extent individual students contributed.

Ways to help your students be successful

  1. Use Discussion Forums or Blogs for general course communications
    • Provide a means where students can ask questions or comment on course content or activities, for the whole class to share.
    • Set the forum or blog up to allow subscription and tell your students about the option; you all can receive postings by email. If you are able to answer a question quickly it might save another student from wondering or worrying.
  2. Global Navigation
    • Show your students this tool, it may help them to quickly check if there are critical additions to the course.
  3. Use the Calendar Tool to record critical dates.
    • When you add a test or assignment, the due date field automatically populates the calendar 
    • Change due dates easily by dragging in the calendar 
  4. Use the Announcement tool to keep in touch with students
    • You can add a link to anything in the course to your announcement as a reminder and to give students a quick link to the work that needs to be done.
  5. UNM Preferred Email. Many of the tools in the course forward email messages to the students UNM email account.
    • Encourage students to go to to make sure they are getting course email in the account they regularly check.
  6. Use the Grade Center and My Grades to keep from taking up valuable classroom time distributing grades.