Rethinking Page Design
We’ve all experienced that feeling of being lost...like when we step onto a college campus for the first time, enter a new shopping mall, or exit an airplane into a new airport. We have that uneasy feeling of not knowing where to go or what to do. Our first reaction is to find our way. We naturally look for a directory, a map, or a guide to help point us in the right direction.
With all the other changes and uncertainty surrounding our students, there should be no question about where to go and what to do in their online classrooms. This brings us to our topic of discussion: Rethinking Page Design - Creating a Gateway to Learning. The goal of this conversation is to provide educators with tips to ensure that their courses are organized in a way that students have a clear understanding of what to do when they enter a course along with a well-defined pathway to the learning materials.
In this discussion, we will explore some characteristics of a well-designed course homepage and discover why overview pages are important and what should be included in them.
Homepage - The Gateway to the Course
Characteristics of a well-designed course homepage:
Overview Page - Gateway to the Learning Modules
Whereas the home page serves as the course introduction and welcome, the overview page introduces the “Why,” the “What,” and the “How” of the course.
Key elements of an overview page:
Example Overview Pages:
Always try to look at your course through the lens of a new student. Pretend you don’t know anything about your course, you’ve never read the syllabus, and this is your very first time in an online course. Do you know where to go, what to do, and how to do it? Do you want to be in your class? Do you have a clear path? Do both your course home page and your overview page provide a “Gateway to Learning?” In the words of Mr. Norbert Tracy, former teacher of American Government at my high school in Long Beach, MS, keep it “Nice, Neat, Clean, and Complete!” He had several quotes that stuck with me and my classmates over the years. This one was referring to essays, but those words hold true too as it relates to course design.
If you missed the CanvasLIVE, watch the recording: "November 11, 2020 session Rethinking Page Design" and/or review the Rethinking Page Design | LS Canvas Live Event | Slide Deck
2020 Course Design Essentials
The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. Check out our other Course Design Essentials.
Shout out to my fellow Instructional Designers who contributed to this blog post, @Jennifer_Leimer, @shalon_farris, and @Laurie_Norris. We have loads of Canvas expertise and are passionate about design, pedagogy, and best practices. Let us share how to elevate your fully-online, hybrid/blended and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.
We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices.
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