Introduce Course Modules

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 High-Quality item, “An orientation, introduction, or overview is provided for each module or unit in the course.”

By: Roslyn Miller, Instructional Designer

A module in a webcourse is a unit–such as a chapter, concept, or week–that guides students to achieve specific learning objectives that, together with other modules in the course, helps students achieve the overarching course objectives. A module typically contains instructional materials, learning activities, and assessments, all which support student achievement of the objectives.

Before your students step off into the deep waters of your modules, you can spark their curiosity, boost their motivation, and prepare them for learning by providing them critical information to help them comprehend and appropriately focus their efforts in the module.

What are Some Ways your Online Course can be Designed to Meet this Standard?

  • Provide an overview page at the beginning of each module. Helpful components may include:
    • The context of the module–how this module connects to
      • Previous learning
      • The overall course purpose and objectives
      • Life beyond the course
    • Concise purpose or description of the module
    • What students will be expected to learn
    • What instructional materials students should engage with
    • What activities they should complete for practice and assessment
  • Use the Module Introduction page in Webcourses@UCF’s Templater Tool to provide a consistent, digestible overview of each module in your course. The Templater allows you to easily add common content to a Webcourses page and then customize it as needed.
  • Embed a brief video in your module introductions. A video message from you can enhance students’ sense of your presence in the course. Offer your personal take on the context or critical elements of the module.

What Does This Look Like in a Real Online Course?

Example 1: Lori Dunlop-Pyle, MAC2147, Mathematics for Calculus1

Ms. Dunlop-Pyle used the Module Introduction template in the Templater tool to create an overview for each module that provides:

  • Module Introduction
    • Connects content from previous modules to the present module
    • Introduces concepts addressed in the module
    • States purpose of the module
  • Module Overview
    • Prominently lists learning objectives of the module in terms of what students will be able to do upon successful completion of it
    • Lists instructional materials for the module
    • Lists module assignments and estimated time expected to complete them
    • Graphically displays relationships of the module instructional materials, activities, and assessments with the learning objectives they are intended to support
    • Describes how in-person class time will be used for this mixed-mode course

Example 2: Jessica Waesche, CLP3243, Contemporary Behavior Therapy1

Dr. Waesche provides an overview page at the beginning of her modules that includes:

  • Concise introduction to the module topic
  • Learning objectives stated in terms of what students will be able to do upon successful completion of the module
  • List of module assignments
  • A Need Help? section with a list of resources for support for various types of issues

Example 3: Garcia-Stout, HSC3417, Introduction to Pharmacology1

Dr. Stout adopted a fun wizard theme throughout this course with custom graphics (created by CDL Graphics team). She provides an in-theme Module Introduction page at the beginning of each module that:

  • Shows where the current module fits in the course progression
  • Prominently states measurable learning objectives in terms of what students will be able to do upon successful completion of the module
  • Provides a brief introduction to the module to activate students’ prior knowledge and pique curiosity about the upcoming module

Example 4: Marc Anthony Consalo, PLA3108, Legal Research

Dr. Consalo collaborated with UCF’s CDL Video Services to produce personal introductions like the one below for each module overview page his online course.

1 These online course samples (accessible to UCF faculty) were shared by the faculty members with their permission and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This means that you are free to share and/or adapt the content, as long as you:

  • Give appropriate credit to the original work
  • Provide a link to the license
  • Indicate if changes were made
  • Do not use the material for commercial purposes
  • Share their work under the same license
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