At a face-to-face school, it would be painful and awkward for students to be jumping into class late through one of the many windows, continually entering the room after critical instructions and preparations have been given. Students would be continually confused and instructors would have to continually repeat their instructions and offer more individual guidance as students complain about things being confusing or interrupt class to ask questions about things the instructor covered previously in great clarity and made easily accessible. We would quickly identify that the reason they are confused is because they jumped in through the window and missed all the instructions and preparations at the beginning of class.
However, LMS platforms have always allowed this scenario in online classes, by hyperlinking activities listed in the calendar, to-do, course summary, or other schedules. Rather than navigating through the modules and walking through the instructions, preparations, formative activities, etc., students jump right to certain pages through one of multiple windows (Calendar, To-Do, Syllabus Course Summary, etc.), missing important things at the beginning of the module.
We hear all the time from students who are confused by some things that were clearly outlined in the module and years of analyzing this feedback has shown that much of this unwarranted confusion stems from students who use their calendar, to-do, etc. to navigate their course rather than follow the linear flow of the module, missing important things earlier in the module.
Designers and instructors have to incorporate work-arounds and employ a lot of cross-linking that can send students into confusing navigation loops. Other things like putting to-do dates on every page help a little but clutter the limited space of the to-do list and don't show up in other places where graded activities are linked.
This could be easily resolved by allowing an option for designers and instructors to choose whether or not they want activities listed in the Calendar, To-do, and Syllabus Course Summary section to be hyperlinked? Could we explore adding this option so we can choose on our end whether hyperlinks in these places are useful or not in a particular course or program?