To streamline online course development, the ID Team at CIRT uses course templates to develop online courses for programs transitioning to fully-online. These templates exhibit best practices in course navigation, accessibility, and technology. One of these templates (Template A) has already been widely adopted by faculty members campus-wide, which is notable because when faculty members adopt these templates it supports the effort to ensure that online courses at UNF will be accessible to all learners through the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles.
Here are some articles on the benefits of using a course template:
We currently have four templates available for faculty to use (Templates A-D). Here is a brief presentation Overview of CIRT's Online Course Templates that outlines the rationale behind using course templates, the major components of each template, best practices for customizing a template, and areas of the template that facilitate communication with students.
Review the graphic below for a comparison of the major components in each template.
click to enlarge image
To explore a LIVE (restricted) preview of these course templates, follow the appropriate link posted below. You will be required to login in order to access the course template. Once you're inside the course, you can press the "Join this Course" button to enroll in the course and proceed to explore the template as a student. Keep in mind that you are previewing these templates from the student perspective, but clearly their are many other features that could turned on/off in these templates to accommodate your course needs.
For full instructor access to a template, you will need to submit a request to have one copied to your personal Sandbox course. Information on how to acquire these templates is posted at the bottom of this page.
This is the first course template designed by CIRT in 2012. This template was designed specifically to enhance the student experience inside of Blackboard, while streamlining the process of course development for faculty members. We call this template "The Traditional" because it has been in production the longest. This template currently exists in both Blackboard and Canvas. The Canvas version has been slightly modified to incorporate new "awesome" features in Canvas that did not exist in Blackboard. However, it still exhibits all of those “big ideas” in instructional design, such as, alignment, chunking, and scaffolding.
Explore LIVE preview (requires UNF-N# login)
Download and import course cartridge
This template is optimized to use the features available in Canvas. It has a condensed home page, inline viewing of the course syllabus and schedule, and less writing on each content page for easy viewing on mobile devices. The module content is chunked into four structured pages: Introduction, Instructional Content, Activities, and Summary. This model is designed to limit the amount of content on a single page, chunking the information in smaller digestible bites. It still includes all the instructional design best practices present in “the traditional” template including a sample welcome announcement, student orientation quiz, introduce yourself discussion, and mid-term survey.
Download and import course cartridge (requires DesignTools LTI)
This template contains many of the same pedagogical elements as the “Traditional” and “Multi-part Modules” templates. It varies from the other templates in two distinct ways. The ‘Start Here’ module comprises nine individual pages that each contains important course information. Chunking the ‘Start Here’ page into separate pages for each category of content reduces the amount of information on each page, which helps students retain the material more efficiently. In addition, the modules in Template C are organized in a multi-week format. This organizational structure will work best in courses that contain modules that span over several weeks, and courses that are thematic or unit-based.
This multi-week-modules template serves to simplify and streamline the development process. The Home page showcases essential course and instructor information. The template also offers a syllabus model - available to view and edit in-line in the Syllabus area - for you to quickly and easily customize by adding your own course information. Its Modules area begins with a Start Here module that provides students with helpful expectations and valuable resources; it also includes a Student Orientation Quiz and Introduce Yourself Discussions prompt to integrate students into the online learning community. Use the multi-week-modules format to organize your blended or online course into four to seven main modules with module-level objectives. Then, use weekly headings and content pages to chunk instructional materials and assignments into manageable amounts. This format lends itself well to courses that are arranged into thematic units and could benefit from incorporating comprehensive module assessments.
This template serves to enhance the experiences of web-enhanced face-to-face (F2F) and hybrid (blended) courses. Upon accessing this template, you may notice that you land immediately in the Modules area rather than a traditional Home page like in the other templates. This direct access to the Modules area benefits students throughout the course by minimizing navigation and allowing immediate access to the syllabus and all course content and assignments in one neatly organized location. Want to add lecture materials or supplementary resources to the course as you progress through the semester? Do so quickly and easily by clicking the + button next to the desired week to add files, links, pages, and assignments. Whether you plan to create a repository of resources for an F2F course or an interactive online learning community for a hybrid course, this template will provide structure and essential elements to support students – including the Midterm Survey and the Start Here module featuring valuable course resources and the Student Orientation Quiz.
You can either use the 'download and import' the templates into your Canvas sandbox using the links provided, or you can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and identify which template you would like to acquire. You also need to provide the Course ID of the 'Sandbox' course where you would like to have the template copied.
Caution: Requesting to have the template copied into a course that already contains other content could result in that content being overwritten or deleted.
Now that you have a course template, you may be wondering how to customize the template to fit your specific course. We have developed an infographic that will assist you in modifying any of the course templates. You can also find a wealth of information on everything Canvas, including instructions for modifying a course, in the Canvas Guides. In addition, CIRT recommends that faculty attend our hands-on trainings to learn more about using Canvas.
If you would like to engage in a deeper discussion about the design and format of these templates, schedule a consultation with an instructional designer.
Instructional Design Process
Best Practices Articles
Online Course Templates
Frequently Asked Questions
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