Help Students Get Started in Your Online Course

Quality Review Showcase

The Quality and High Quality online course reviews explore components proven to be best practices in online course design. This post showcases Quality item, “The course provides a clear starting point for students to begin accessing vital course components, such as syllabus, course schedule, course content, and assignments.”

When you are teaching an online course, you’ve likely grown very familiar with how it looks and where items can be located. The experience can be quite different for a student logging into your course for the very first time. It is recommended to indicate a clear starting point for students to begin, so that they can immediately access the important information that you have created, in the order you prefer. When students do not see a clear starting point in the course, it is likely they may miss something, or be concerned that they’ve missed something.

What Are Some Ways Your Online Course Can Be Designed to Meet This Standard?

  • Carefully select your home page.
    • If you choose the Home Page view, consider including a link to a Getting Started module or single page (Example 1).
    • If you choose the Modules view, consider creating a Getting Started module (Example 2).
  • Use the Syllabus tool, so students can easily find the syllabus. Consider using the Syllabus templater tool to make sure the required components of the syllabus are included, such as a link to the course schedule and description of assignments.
  • Send a welcome message before or on the first day of class, directing them where to first go in your online course.
  • Create an announcement, which includes directions for students on where they can find vital course components.

What Does This Look like in a Real Online Course?

Course homepage Screenshot
Getting Started Module

Video

Creating a Clear Starting Point Using Webcourses@UCF Tools