Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
Our design services specialize in course and program development for all modalities, with a focus on improving the online elements of your classroom through implementing research-based development, design, and engagement strategies.
Below you will find best practices for course design for each of the modalities. These best practices are based on the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Course Design Rubric, an internationally renowned rubric, and the insights of our Instructional Designers. To schedule a consultation, visit our bookings page.
Clear & Consistent Communication
- Set the expectation of communication early by providing an introduction of yourself and the course displaying communication expectations (Ex: respectful tone, correct grammar, etc.)
- Provide regular, consistent communication regarding course materials, assignments, class meetings, etc.
- Outline communication expectations (i.e. will respond to emails within 24 hours)
- Student Online Communication Guide
- Explain to students how to turn on iLearn notifications
- Provide clear and timely instructions for each course element
Tools: Announcement Tool, Teams Post, Video Note, YuJa Media
Communicate any and all changes
- Course Syllabus
- Schedule changes
- Announcement for due dates, extensions, etc.
Stay in communication with students regarding access to materials, technology, and course progress
- Let students know what materials they will need for the course within a timely manner
- Check in with students to ensure they have access to all needed materials and technology
Clear & Consistent Feedback throughout the course
- Use tools such as Turnitin, VideoNote, and grading
Tools: Turnitin, Video Note, YuJa, Teams Post, iLearn Feedback Tool
Assessment and Grading
- Rubrics are helpful tools for providing clear expectations and feedback on student work
- Consider utilizing the Rubric Tool in iLearn
- There are a variety of methods for assessing students. Before selecting the method you are the most familiar with, consider alternative solutions that may be better suited for the online environment.
- Academic Integrity in the online classroom presents its own unique challenges. Effective course design can help prevent academic dishonesty through creating course content and assessments that suite the online environment and student success goals.
Content & Structure
Lectures & Class Meetings
- Ensure that your class meeting schedule and format has been clearly communicated.
- Provide instructions on how to access lecture recordings or join virtual meetings.
- If you will be recording your meeting, let students know.
- Find a setting to record or join your class meeting that is not distracting and maintains a professional atmosphere. Keep in mind what can be seen in the background and how you are sitting/standing.
- Speak clearly and wear a microphone if needed, especially if recording
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Have all materials (presentation, links, etc.) ready before the recording or meeting starts.
Tools: Kaltura, Teams, Zoom, Content Tool
- Include all course assignments and due dates in your course syllabus
- Set due dates on assignments within iLearn under the Assessments section so that they appear in the student’s calendar
- Communicate any changes to dates or assignment information
- Consider setting due dates when you will be available to answer questions and resolve any issues that may arise.
Tools: Assignment Tool, Video Note, Turnitin
- Ensure any additional readings, videos, or other course materials are available online (i.e. in the Content tool in iLearn)
- Communicate where to find these materials and include them in the course syllabus.
Engagement and Interaction
Start of the Semester
- Consider using an engaging welcome to the course like an introduction video or group discussion where students can learn about you as well as each other.
- Outline your expectations for student engagement in the course syllabus and the course introduction.
- Communicate the class schedule and how a hybrid structure will operate.
During the Semester
- Consider creating a weekly discussion post, or class discussion, where students can apply what they are learning, practice a new concept, or reflect on the information that has been covered, while also engaging with each other and you as the instructor.
- Polls, interactive activities, and other in class activities can help keep students engaged in what they are learning and part.
- Provide consistent and timely feedback.
- Provide clear expectations for student responses and conduct within discussions
- Student Online Communication Checklist
Tools: Discussion Tool, Chat function in Teams, Chat function in Zoom
Below you will find resources to help make your course more accessible. If at any point you have questions or would like to know more about the technology available, you can contact the CITL. If you have questions about accessibility in general, you can visit the Accessible Education Center for more information.