KB1050 - Some Essential Practices for Online Course Design

Each online course must be clearly and concisely defined for the students and the instructor. Expectations and accountabilities for both parties must be fully addressed, regardless whether the course will be provided as optional support for a traditional course, or blended, or for full, online delivery.

The following samples may help you to create your own texts:

1. Welcome

The Welcome page provides a great opportunity for an Instructor to reach out to his or her students and establish an important "face" with which students can identify. Instructors may also wish to encourage students to visit the Instructors profile page to see personal/professional information about the Instructor, relevant to the course.



It is my pleasure to welcome you to [course name here]

This course will assist you to build on the knowledge and skills you will acquire in practice as well as challenge you to develop knowledge in new areas. The learning activities and assignments in this course are designed to help you access, develop and attain the skills you will require when you join the workforce. This course is designed to challenging your abilities. You will be asked to:

  • think for yourself
  • make difficult choices
  • work collaboratively with other students
  • have your ideas and views challenged by others

You will be asked to do a lot of work on your own. In particular, you will be asked to find out information, to analyze the information, and make decisions based on your analysis.

At the same time, you will have a lot of help available. I will provide you with guidance on where to go for information, how to analyze it, and how to use it. You will have help from fellow students, who will be grappling with the same issues, and who will be asked to share their experiences with you.

I look forward to the opportunity to meet all of you (virtually at least!) and the chance to explore the content of this course with you.

Please know that I am happy to help in anyway, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.

In the meantime, may you enjoy this course and I wish you all the very best of success, as you continue down this path of learning.

[Instructor's name here]

a. Program Content Guide

When available, access to a Program Content Guide (PCG) is advisable: it helps not only to establish a learning path for students, but also serves as a guide to keep courses consistent with what we advertise.

2. Course Syllabus

a. Introduction and Learning Outcomes

The Introduction should be designed to connect the students to the course and what they should expect to learn. A Course Scope should be added to provide students with a "big picture" of what the course offers, while detailed Learning Outcomes must be provided so that the students will know what will be expected of them and what they should expect of themselves by the end of the course.


Introduction and Learning Outcomes

Course Scope

Course content introduces the student to ….

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, you will be able to...

b. Expectations and Communications

For both the student and the instructor, a common breakdown and a great source of anxiety is related to lack of communication.

Instructors communicate with their students in many different ways and with varying degrees of expectation. Instructors may ask that students use the Moodle Mail tool, the Moodle Message tool, WebMail, telephone, etc. to communicate and will often have predetermined expectations as to when a Student is to communicate. Students, on the other hand, need to know how long to wait to receive a reply from their Instructor. A clear set of guidelines should be created to suit the needs of your particular learning environment.


Expectations and Communicating

Besides your peers, your most important resource in this course is your instructor.

These are the ways you can communicate with me:

  • If you require content related help and support please use the Question and Answer forum. Both learners and I can post questions in this public discussion topic at any time; likewise learners and I may respond.
  • To discuss issues and concerns of an individual nature use Moodle e-mail.

I will attempt to respond to all queries within two working days, although occasionally this may not always be possible. Please note that I will not be available on weekends or statutory holidays unless I notify otherwise.

I will also mark your assignments and provide a grade and detailed feedback within 10 working days.

My hours of availability in Moodle are from ____ to ____ (about 2 hours per week), Monday to Friday. You may contact me during this time using the Moodle communication tools or by phone at _____________.

[Instructors' name here]

c. How to be Successful in this Course

After reading this document, a student should clearly understand the format of the course content, the activities and evaluations. The Instructor's role should be clearly described, as well as the Student's role through various stages of the course (if applicable).

How to be Successful in This Course

The course is composed of [enter number of units, modules or weeks here].

The idea is to help focus your attention on carefully chosen resources and to support a process that leads the analysis, synthesis and evaluation of the presented material.

In some units you have to work on individual assignments. For each assignment you'll find an assignment specification, which contains an overview, outcomes, and evaluation criteria.

Each section is structured with the objective to keep you involve in a dialogue with the topic, with the printed, manuscript, pictorial, and sound materials, with the instructor and with fellow students working asynchronously on the unit by means of discussion forums on the course’s web site.

The instructor’s role is one of interaction and support for the students taking the course.

d. Textbooks and Other Learning Materials

This is a good opportunity to let your students know what textbooks and learning materials will be required, where to get them and how much they should cost. Note that you could even provide a link to web documents here.


Textbooks and Other Learning Materials


  • Overtype this line to begin here....


  • Overtype this line to begin here....

e. Course Schedule

Having the schedule available as an independent resource for students can provide added convenience and quick access for students. It is important to note that any dates added to the schedule must be updated each time the course is offered. It is recommended that you use a weekly format ("Week One", "Week Two", "Week Three", etc.) format.

Course Schedule

Material Covered
Learning Activities/Assignments













f. Assessment Guidelines

This document can serve as an excellent resource for students and will likely be accessed frequently by students. In addition to providing students with the weighting for each assignment, details can also be provided here to clarify what will be expected in each assignment.


Assessment Guidelines






Mid-Term Exam

Final Exam

g. Course Development Team

It may be important to include the contact information for individuals responsible for the development of the course, particularly if the course has been provided courtesy of another organization, or to meet the conditions of a Creative Commons Agreement.


Course Development Team

Course Author: [Course Author name here]

Course Designer: [Course Designer name here]

Web Programming: [Web Programmer name here]

h. How to Proceed

This information is designed to bridge the gap that often occurs for a student between traditional classroom learning and the online format. This document includes a reference to the "Using Moodle" block, which serves as a huge resource for both students and Instructors. It also introduces students to the News Forum (which is standard in every Moodle course regardless of the template), and a Frequently Asked Questions Forum (which is standard to this template).


Introduction and Learning Outcomes

Learning Online

Learning online is a rewarding and challenging experience for many. It is different from most other distance learning modes of instruction in that you become part of a community of learners in a particular subject. Different from the traditional “independent study”, you will be logging on to your course website with fellow learners and your instructor, participating in asynchronous on-line discussion, and perhaps working in collaboration with others.

If you haven’t participated in an online course yet, you may want to browse through some of the resources located in the "Using Moodle" block, located at the side of your course homepage. The "Using Moodle" block also provides information as to how to be successful in an online course and much more.

Course Sequence

To accommodate a variety of learning styles, the course structure allows you to choose how you want to study for this course. Even so, you may still find that it is helpful to follow the sequence identified in the Units. If your style is to work back from the assignments to the content or you want to focus on areas that are of greater interest or where you have a particular need to develop more knowledge and skills, you can choose to do this.

The Moodle Web Environment

The Website serves two rather different purposes. Its main purpose is that it contains information, activities and readings to guide you through this course, as well as offering the opportunity to interact with other learners in the discussions. Secondly, it opens a world of additional resources to you through the embedded links.

In similar courses, some learners have printed out all of the Website content at the beginning of the course. This has some advantages and disadvantages in an online course. Because this is a Web-based course, it is designed to exploit the dynamic features of this medium. We do make changes to the Website well before you are scheduled to study the relevant sections, but some items, such as URL's (Website addresses) that may be updated or discovered by participants, will be added during the course.

Discussion Forums

News Forum -This is a public discussion topic that is available to all learners. It is used to post important information of a timely nature such as a notice about a 2-day absences, a change in a website addresses (URLs), the names of students assigned to small groups, and so on. Postings and responses may be made by the instructor or learners.

Question and Answer Forum - Both instructors and learners can post questions about course content and processes in this public discussion topic at any time; likewise the instructor or learners may respond.

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Article ID: 183
Thu 12/5/19 11:45 AM
Tue 11/15/22 11:32 AM

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