Course Template

Download this Canvas Course Package to import into your traditional face-to-face Canvas course.

This course shell will help as you organize and build your course content. It contains:

  • A course homepage template
  • 15 weekly modules with overview page templates
  • An about your instructor page template
  • A SWU syllabus Word document template

*You can import this package in addition to copying content from a previous course and use it to arrange and organize your content. Simply edit or replace the text in green after importing the template.

Click to view instructions for importing the package.

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Online students can become confused, frustrated, or disengaged if they find it challenging to simply navigate your course. When students use a lot of their cognitive resources just figuring out how to access course materials, they have few left for the content itself. Try to make your course organization as clear and intuitive as possible, ensuring students have more time and cognitive resources to engage with course content and activities (Darby, 2019).

To do this, you might want to activate the “student preview” function of our Canvas  LMS and navigate your course as if you are a student, in order to identify unclear navigation paths and to check links. You may also consider asking a colleague or teaching assistant to conduct this check to uncover any areas of confusion. Pay close attention to how many clicks it takes to get to a file or resource and if the path is clear. Remember that online students are often on their own when they get stuck. Provide quick pointers whenever you can, and make sure support services numbers (such as Tech Help Desk) are easy to find. (See ACUE Handout as a Resource for Organizing your Course Content from a Student's Point of View).

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Learning modules, like units of study, are sequenced collections of course materials and serve as the building blocks of your online course. Modules can be organized by time (“Here’s what we’re doing this week.”) or by content (e.g., topic, chapter in a text, unit of study, etc.). Consistency in module design helps students more quickly understand and meet your expectations. This handout is a Module Roadmap developed by ACUE and serves as an excellent resource.

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A predictable rhythm or pace for online modules (units of study) helps students better manage their time. The "rhythm" can also reduce stress because the structure answers questions such as “What’s next?” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2016). It is particularly important to establish a rhythm for posting in, reading, and replying to the online discussion forums, which are the online version of classroom discussions. This handout provided by ACUE offers an example of a weekly schedule for both students and instructors. Faculty may find this to be very helpful.

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The discussion forums in a course are key learning opportunities for faculty and students. To make the most of this opportunity, it is important that each student contributes actively and thoughtfully. This handout will help students reflect on their participation and contributions to your discussions. I also can serve as a self-grading guide for discussion forums. This resource is developed and made available by ACUE.

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Striking a balance between too much and too little feedback in discussion forums can be challenging. Here are some typical questions instructors have about providing feedback in discussion forums:

§ How early in the week should I make comments about student postings?

§ How expansive should comments be early in the week? Later in the week?

§ Should I respond to individual students’ posts or to the group as a whole?

§ How do I coach and mentor students, but not jump in too quickly?

In making these decisions, consider the purpose and timing of your feedback (Boettcher & Conrad, 2016). Although there are no definitively right or wrong answers to these questions, this handout made available by ACUE provides some basic guidelines.

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There are a variety of ways to keep students engaged in course content and help them focus their attention on what is most important. We can also use a variety of practices to assess how well students are learning and making key connections. As online assignments may be new to your students, providing clear directions, examples and rubrics can help them feel more confident in meeting your expectations. You are encouraged to try a few of these strategies provided by ACUE to identify the processes that work best for you and your students.

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