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April 16, 2015 Previous day Next day

The course home page is a critical navigation waypoint for students. As course designers, we can choose from numerous style ideas to make the course home page inviting and intuitive for our students.


This is a stripped-down version of a course home page I'm currently using.



I created this home page using a table, and I used the "btn btn-info btn-large" attribute for the buttons.


The functionality of this home page style is compatible with mobile devices, but the buttons themselves won't appear in the app. This is how the same home page looks in the Canvas App on an iPad.




The image below shows examples of other button styles.



The button code is inherently versatile. For example, using this code:


<p><a class="btn-large btn-block btn btn-danger btn" style="width: 100%;" title="Click here to view the Course Announcements" href="/courses/[insert-course-number]/announcements" target="_blank"><strong>Course Announcements</strong></a></p>


...I can create a clickable button across the top of my home page to direct students to announcements:

At many schools, teachers are tasked with creating their courses and course home pages. I'm currently training a cohort of teachers, and more often than not, when they create their syllabus page, they simply insert a link to their own syllabus file at the top of the page. The result is neither pretty nor inviting--so I've been teaching them the method of having the syllabus file auto-open for inline preview.


How do you create your course home pages? Do you have a standard template that is used across all of the courses at your institution? Do instructional designers create the pages, or are your teachers given instructions on how to create their own, and what they must include on them?


[Note: Need help with HTML? Read Susan Nugent's awesome blog, Rich Content Editor HTML Cheatsheet]

It seems that my original post has disappeared with the launch of the much more awesome community site, so if it is somewhere already my apologies for the double post.


One of the things my team at Rowan University is getting into is Analytics, not necessarily to solve problems but to identify patterns to generate questions about improving course design. Devlin Daley once said when talking about Analytics "Good Analytics make good questions, not good answers," and that has always stuck with me. By looking at course analytics you can come up with all kinds of questions and possibilities to improve the design of the course.


At Rowan Online (I promise this isn't a plug), we're using both Canvas and Kaltura (media platform) to deliver content to students. Both provide Analytics and they're both proving to be very helpful when discussing course design to faculty. Often as a designer I find I have to sort of pitch my case to an instructor who has been doing things in a face to face environment for a long time. They don't necessarily know the online space is a different environment. By showing them some analytical patterns you can really easily help them with come evidence based course design.


Here is a short talk I did with my colleague at one of our open houses. This was a dry run for a conference presentation at Drexel University, so my apologies if we spoke too fast on some of the info points.


Rowan Online Open House - Session 1 - March 2015


The TL;DW version of this:


1. If your LMS has Analytics take a look!

2. Gather up your data

3. Start to look at patterns.

4. Generate some questions (Am I comfortable with {Insert Analytic} showing what is is showing? Can I improve the pattern by doing X? What are other courses showing


Some of the things we saw already

1. Students watch about 10 minutes of a lecture video on average (Might be an indicator to faculty that shorter lectures might be more effective).

2. At our institution Discussions is the most popular area to be in outside of Modules

3. Grades was all the way down at 8 (which I found very very shocking).


Anyway, just thought I'd pass it along. 

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