Home: Designing a User-friendly Online Course

First Impressions
A surprisingly important aspect of online learning is user-friendliness. Students quickly become anxious in an unfamiliar online environment, so one of the most helpful things you can do is clearly "roadmap" and "signpost" the learning narrative of your class. 

This requires you to spell things out in ways that aren't always necessary in a face-to-face setting: learning outcomes, instructional strategies, and the pattern of weekly coursework.

How your organize, label, and illustrate your course web environment is important, too.  We all feel frustrated when searching for basic information on a website, and students encounter this frustration each time they take an online course and find that it's organized completely differently from other courses they've taken. 

Within a particular program, it's helpful to agree on some basic course usability rules about how learning modules will be named and organized and that coursework will have some consistent patterns. 

Students often find it helpful to see an actual flowchart of the weekly pattern of coursework. For example:

sample course flowchart