Course Design with Students in Mind

Course Design with Students in Mind

By Anne Briggs

Once you have created your course map, you will need to translate it to your LMS or remote learning system.  While the pedagogy and content are specific to your discipline or class, all classes share similar design needs.

Class Organization

Each module or unit should translate to a week's worth of readings, lectures and/or activities.  Just as you organized these elements in the course map, you will need to organize them for your students in a way that makes sense for everyone and is consistent week to week.  Common folder ideas may include:

  • Readings

  • Lecture materials

  • Weekly activities

  • Upcoming Assignments

As you consider the title and order of the folders, keep in mind the process and due dates of each.  For example, do you want the students to do the readings or watch the lectures first?  When should each be completed during the week?  Once you have figured out the organizational structure that works best for your class, create a written or video overview explaining the weekly structure of the class and share it at the beginning of the term to give students an easy to follow road map.

Make It Accessible

One considerable difference in on-line learning compared to face to face lectures is accessibility.  Before going live with your content, consult with your university’s accessibility center to ensure your content is fully accessible for all learners.  If your university does not have such a center, ATTECS can help or consider some of these publicly available guides:

Anticipate Student Need

Anticipate students' needs around remote learning and the technology you are using in your class.  Assume that everyone will not have the same level of access, comfort and/or understanding as well as an increased uncertainty of how to access resources in a virtual environment.  This is particularly needed when you ask students to use a technology tool or application, so make sure to add links for training and/or troubleshooting help to prevent becoming an inadvertent helpdesk.  Some common areas of confusion and/or tech needs may include:

  • LMS troubleshooting

  • Specific technology tools or applications

  • University IT helpdesk

  • Library search and LibGuides

  • Writing and tutoring center

  • Requesting accommodations 


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