Course Organization

1.Introduction

Good course organization in an online or hybrid course is important to help students successfully navigate course materials and assignments. A well-designed course facilitates student retention and success, as well as making it easier for the instructor to quickly answer questions and keep track of students’ progress. 

Canvas, however, isn’t the only platform on which you can organize your course materials. You may be interested in building your course using Domain of One’s Own. And, always, if you want help with course organization and course design, please contact dtlt@umw.edu.

2.Modules

Modules in Canvas are one way to organize your course materials.

Advantages:  Organizing modules by weeks or topics will help students better navigate the course. The content is presented in a linear fashion and the organization is obvious and simple. Modules allow selective release of content based on date and/or progression through material, meaning content can be hidden until a date specified by the instructor.

Limitations: The page cannot be visually customized with graphics or media, although individual pages within the module still can.

To learn more about creating Modules in Canvas, please visit their documentation guide on this topic.

3.Pages

Pages in Canvas provide a highly customizable platform for sharing materials on Canvas.

Advantages: The page has all the design capabilities of a web page — add visuals like graphics, video, and tables.

Limitations: There is no clear hierarchy of pages nor of the content within pages. Hierarchies can be created by incorporating pages into modules or assignments.

For more information on getting started with Pages in Canvas, please visit the documentation guide on this topic.

4.Calendar and Assigments

Using the built-in Calendar and Assignments tools in Canvas, as well as the Syllabus feature, is useful for students understand when assignments and other activities are due during the semester. It is recommended that instructors use a combination of the modules tool with the calendar tool, which includes a list of upcoming assignments.

Advantages: Students can clearly see when items are due and use the course calendar to help them stay organized.

Limitations: If no other content organization is used, students have to know the particular day when content occurred to review.
It is best to set up readings and activities as assignments with due dates, which can be done with or without assigning grades for the readings and activities. These will show up on the calendar, but can also be incorporated into modules.

Learn more about the Calendar tool and the Syllabus tool.

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