Building Good Course Design

Introduction Video

A well designed course should provide a self-introduction from the instructor. A brief introduction video will provide the learner with your teaching philosophy and personal information such as hobbies, family, travel experiences, etc. For some students, the online learning environment creates sense of separation by space and time.

An introduction can create a connection between instructor and learner from the very beginning of the semester. The video can also serve as a statement of the expectations of communication style between instructor and learner, which is especially helpful to learners from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Keep in mind, the personal introduction video, as all other content containing audio, should be captioned to provide access to all students.  

USA staff and faculty now have access to Panopto, a video platform that works with USAonline to manage video content. An introductory video can easily be recorded on a laptop or phone, stored within Panopto, and integrated into your course.  

Start Here Button

You may consider adding a Start Here button or tab in your online course. This tab can easily be created using the Lessons Builder.

The Start Here tab is a link to essential start-up information and includes the following:

  • general course overview
  • guidance to explore the course site
  • detailed navigational instructions for the course.

A well designed Start Here tab tells the learner where to go to get started, what to do first, and how to find course components.

The Innovation in Learning Center can provide you with our course design template, which comes preloaded with a good Start Here section.

Site info Display and Homepage

Your course site’s home page can be a very useful tool for you and your students. If you selected the Course Calendar and Announcements tools during course set-up, both will appear here by default. There is a reason these tools are the first to appear when opening the course- Course Calendar and Announcements keep students on track and assists with planning throughout the semester.

However, you have control to make your homepage a more impactful form of communication. Use the rich text editor in the  Customize Site Info Display to integrate images, motivational messages, or videos, etc. to keep your course fresh and current. As you progress throughout the semester, consider customizing the home page to reflect the content your learners will be encountering in the current or future units.