myCourses Design Best Practices

Use Modules to organize content

  1. Students can track their learning more easily with a structure based on units or time rather than content types (documents, links, assessments). Students can also expand the module they are currently in and collapse the rest of the modules for easy navigation.

  2. Putting your course in a modular structure helps students to see how the course material connects and builds from week to week, and helps students locate content with ease.

Formatting a Module

  1. Use Module Text Headers to delineate content within a module (useful when students view module contents through the Module link. Create begin/end module pages these pages will denote the start and end of a module (or unit within a module) for students paging through using the module navigation.

  2. Indicate header info in each page name this will help organize your pages and will be very helpful if you need to revise the course or edit materials.

  3. Use Indents​ to give a visual hint at content structure within a module­ - this helps students scan a module more quickly to find relevant content and makes the content more accessible.

Content Variety

  1. Use P​ages ​in your modules. You can include a variety of content within a Page: text, external links, images, videos, etc., while providing context to content.
    Balance the length of your Pages. Short pages will cause extra clicks in your course while a page that is too long is difficult to digest.
  2. Chunk the Page using headers and white space to organize like content. Use pre­defined formattings in MyCourses. MyCourses offers four choices that you may use: Paragraph, Header 2, Header 3 and Header 4. P​aragraph​applies to the body of your lecture content. H​eader 2, 3 ​and 4​​ can create a clear logic layers of your lecture content.
  3. Images: Use the Content Selector (to the right of the text editor on a myCourses by Canvas page). Select the “Images” tab, and select the source (Flickr Creative Commons, or upload your own file). 

Naming Conventions

  1. Following a standard naming convention will help you locate and revise your content easily.
  2. Name your page starting with the Module number. This will ensure that all the pages that belong to the same module stay together under the Pages view. For example, Module 1: Overview, Module 1: Lecture 1.
  3. For files/images start with Course ID, module number and then name of the file. For example, SW110_M1_Introduction.pptx.

Syllabus

The Syllabus page is the best place to communicate the important requirements in your course to your students. Keep in mind that many students check their courses on mobile devices, so you should ensure this page will be easy to access from either a computer or a mobile device.

  1. Highlight only important items in the body of the page. Link the full syllabus document so students can download it.
  2. If you keep the Course Information/Overview module in your course, do not repeat everything in the Syllabus area.
  3. Include a short introduction / description of the course. Include due dates on deliverables to have them appear at the bottom of the syllabus page automatically.

Homepage

The usual rule of thumb of creating the Homepage for you course is to keep it informative and welcoming. We recommend you include the following information on your Homepage:

  • A welcome message.
  • Instructor info: contact, short bio/cv, office hours
  • Instruct students on how to begin
  • Include links to modules

Please see the example below. A welcome message can highlight the course title. The image adds an appealing visual to your homepage. Links to Course Overview, Course Syllabus and the Student Orientation module guide your students in starting the course. Modules on the homepage will help your students to understand what to expect during the course.

Navigation

Remove student access to the course tools that are not being used. Go to Settings, then Navigation, and make those tools unavailable.

Course Navigation

Demo Course

To see these best practices in context, see this open sample course in myCourses.

https://mycourses.unh.edu/courses/1169

 

 

 

 

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  • Application: Canvas
  • Department: Instructional Design
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