Keep Things Simple

  • Plan simple and regular communication for the course

  • Set clear, simple expectations and provide simple explanations

  • Choose familiar tools for your students

  1. Plan simple and regular communication for the course

Keep messages and course announcements concise. Learners will likely need to refer back to your messages as they manage your course work with the rest of their courses will make it easier for them to participate and engage in your course. Sending a weekly "What's ahead" or Wrap-up message will help students stay on track. Provide reminders about upcoming assessments and due dates.

Keeping messages consistent in terms of platform and ensuring that students know how to access your messages is important for an online course. If you have a course welcome or orientation video you will want to explain your communication plan for the course. Having a set plan such as a weekly re-cap or 'what's to come' message can help keep students on task.

Recommended Resources

How to Send Announcements With Moodle

UPEI's Campus E-Mail

Use a Weekly Informal Video for Course Updates

2. Set clear, simple expectations and provide simple explanations

Create a welcome video for your course and discuss your expectations. Remind students about online etiquette and collegiality for online discussions and group work. Provide your preferences about being contacted, let students know your timeframe for responding emails and how you will conduct office hours. Post assessment rubrics in advance, provide differentiated exemplars where possible.

Recommended Resources

Making a Course Welcome Video

Setting Online Etiquette Expectations

Hosting Online Office Hours

3. Choose familiar tools for your students

Try to avoid incorporating a lot of new tools in your course. Having students learn a few tools for each online course can quickly become overwhelming across courses. Consider using UPEI's supported tools such as Moodle, Google Apps, Microsoft Office, and Blackboard Collaborate where possible. Collaborate with colleagues if additional tools are necessary to try and provide consistency inside of departments and programs.

Recommended Resources

Moodle Basics

Google Apps

Microsoft Office

Blackboard Collaborate

4. Manage the size of your course page

It is easy to create an overwhelming course page by placing all of your course information directly on the page. While, in theory, it would put the relevant information in a noticeable place. Instead consider prioritizing the navigability of your course page. You may want to consider leveraging Moodle's organizational resources: Labels, Pages, and Books, to condense your course front page to help students be able to easily scroll and locate what they are looking for. Additionally you may want to consider the "shelf life" of some of your course level content. For example, prior to a course start date you may have a lot of your course syllabus information on the course page, but put a restrict access end date on that information so is hidden from the course page, but available in a syllabus document once the course begins.

Recommended Resources

Labels and Organization

Managing Moodle's Scroll

What Students Want: A Simple, Navigable LMS Course Design - Faculty Focus