Instructional Design

Tips for Effective Lessons Homepage

The Homepage is the first thing students see when they log into your course. At different stages of the term, it’s good to provide different information.

At the top of your course Lesson Homepage, you’ll find a text box with a welcome and instructions on what to do. You are encouraged to edit this content and update it throughout the term. Below you’ll find suggestions for information to include at different points in the quarter. Whatever you do, keep the content here brief and relevant. Avoid pasting a wall-of-text and letting it hijack your homepage.

Directives Over the Term

Start of Term (Weeks 1-2)

  • Include instructions such as, “Click on the syllabus to begin”. This way, students know what to do and can get started.
  • Alert students to any review criteria you have for releasing content. Example “You must submit the Syllabus Quiz to open Lesson 1.”

Middle of the Term (Weeks 2-9)

  • Indicate the best way to get in touch with you.
  • Include brief directions for finding grades/due dates.
  • View this sample homepage message released after week two.

End of Term (Weeks 10-11)

  • Post brief directions for finding critical exam /project links and information.
  • Reminder to fill out course evaluations.

Lesson Titles/Links

Your weekly lesson content is found in these links. The following tips make navigation easier for your students and help them learn.

  • Include consistent names in your titles. ChapterUnitWeekLesson. Pick one and stick with it for the course. These should match the titles in your course schedule. Follow this link to see Lesson Names in a writing course.
  • Lesson title should include the topic. Brief, effective titles indicate what students will be learning before they enter the lesson.
    • Week 4: The Endocrine System
    • Unit 3 – Hypothesis Testing
  • In the description area, include a very brief explanation of the unit or lesson (thirty words). One tested strategy is to ask a question. A short, well-designed question gets students thinking about your topic (whether they want to or not) and thinking about possible answers.
    • Lesson 1 – Oedipus Rex
      Can a king control his fate?

      The question gets right to the heart of the ancient drama—the notions of fate and free will in the human narrative.

  • Avoid extended module descriptions that include assignment details or instructions, page numbers, activity lists, and in most cases, due dates. These belong in the lessons.
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