Maryland Faculty Online Advanced Search Button
Maryland Faculty Online Home ButtonHelp Button
Modules ButtonEvents ButtonResources and Activities ButtonCurriculum ButtonGlossary ButtonFeedback ButtonAbout MFO Button      

Module B ButtonTopic B1.2: Orienting Students to Online Learning

Course Layout
Activity 1 should have given you an idea of how challenging it can be for students to get information about online courses. While it is good practice for online instructors to include as much information as possible about their online courses on the course homepage, not everyone gives the same kind of information or in the same detail. Here are some suggestions for what to include on your course homepage:

Description of the Course: Give an overview of what the student is expected to learn, including the objectives of the course. This is similar to what an instructor would explain on the first day of a face-to-face class taught on campus.

Course Format: Is the course entirely on the web, is information found by reading the textbook or web, by doing research, or a combination? Are the quizzes on the web or in a testing center? Will there be discussions in chat sessions or required bulletin board postings? Are there parts of the course that are synchronous or asynchronous?

Course Organization: (Instructor-Led or Self-paced) In some courses (instructor-led), instructors want students to pace their learning throughout the semester according to a set schedule, and the student success depends on how well they can keep pace with the instructor-managed schedule. In self-paced courses, however, students have the opportunity to set their own pace and can try to do all the work in a concentrated period, even during the last few weeks of class. As an instructor, consider if you want to grade all of the same assignments together or at different times throughout the semester. Also, consider if you will have time to grade a student's entire course work at the end of the semester if the end of the semester is the only deadline.

Start Dates: Some courses -- usually self-paced -- begin whenever the student enrolls, or every at the start of every month, and they then run for fifteen weeks rather than beginning and ending at the usual semester dates. Whatever type of course you're teaching, it's important that students understand the type of course it is.

Navigation to Other Parts of the Course: including the course content, email, bulletin board, white board, quizzes, calendar, syllabus, student's grades, etc. How easy is it for students to get from the homepage to other parts of the course?


Back ButtonNext Button




  Copyright © 2003 Maryland Faculty Online
Maryland Faculty Online Home Button