Provide a Course Orientation

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 the course.”

By: Roslyn Miller, Instructional Designer

You know your online course inside and out–what is in it, where to find everything, how it is organized, and how it should be navigated. You know the schedule and your expectations of how students will engage with the content and demonstrate the course objectives.

Students who are new to your course do not yet have this familiarity, so it is important to provide orienting information and practice at the start of your course.

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

  • Provide a course orientation module as a beginning module in your course with information and activities to introduce students to your course, you, and each other. Helpful components of a course orientation module may include:
    • Vital information such as the course number, name, section, instructor, and modality prominently displayed
    • Course syllabus, in addition to the Syllabus tool in the LMS
    • Introduction to the course (e.g., purpose, structure, accessing materials and technologies, specific information related to the modality)
    • Introduction to the instructor
    • Course schedule        
    • Course expectations (e.g., academic integrity, communications, technical support)
    • Orienting activities (e.g., syllabus quiz, student introductions)
    • A FAQ page to address questions frequently asked by students in your courses
  • Use the Templater Tool as a starting place for providing course introduction and overview information in Pages. The Templater allows you to easily add common content to a page in a Webcourses@UCF course and then customize it as needed. Available templates include:
    • Front page
    • Syllabus
    • Course Orientation page
    • Course Schedule page
    • Course Expectations page
  • Use built-in structure and tools of Webcourses@UCF (e.g., Modules, Pages, Assignments) to support a consistent experience for students across their courses.
    • Organize course components within Modules to provide students a visual of the course structure and navigation
      • Use meaningful titles for course components (e.g., pages, files, assignments) to facilitate visual understanding of the structure and sequence of your course by viewing the Modules page.
      • Use text headings and indentations within modules to further facilitate visual comprehension of the overall course structure and organization.

What Does This Look Like in a Real Online Course?

Example 1: Jessica Waesche, CLP3243, Contemporary Behavior Therapy1

Dr. Waesche provides a course orientation module at the beginning of her online course that includes a course overview, instructor introduction, course introduction, course schedule, information about First Day Inclusive Access for course materials, course expectations, academic integrity, office hours, advice from former students, a syllabus quiz, student introductions, and a beginning-of-semester survey.

Example 2: Michael Strawser, SPC3602, Advanced Public Speaking1

Dr. Strawser provides a course overview video, suggested module timeline, video tour of Webcourses@UCF, and helpful tips and instructions unique to his course in the first module.

Example 3: Lori Dunlop-Pyle, MAC2147, Mathematics for Calculus1

Ms. Dunlop-Pyle adapted several page templates in the Templater tool to build a Getting Started module in her course.

1 These online course samples 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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