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5 Days of Getting Started: Course Design 1

As more teaching will take place online over the next semester, many members of teaching staff have already spent considerable time working on the development of their online module areas. Once you have activated your modules for next year and have your Moodle and possibly Teams spaces set up, it is important to think carefully about how you will organise the content to be delivered online.

Learning Design

Please see our web page on epedagogy models and frameworks in order to consider some of the different approaches that can be taken when designing online or blended learning.

You might find it useful to use the ABC Learning Design approach to map out your module or even programme content.

ABC Learning Design is a curriculum design approach based on Laurillard’s six learning types concept and is an easy way to build a range of activities into your course. Use this ABC Learning Design Online Planner to map out your course.

Some key areas you might think about are:

Recording Video Content

Video has become an important part of higher education. It is integrated as part of traditional courses, serves as a cornerstone of many blended courses, and is often the main information delivery mechanism in online delivery.

There are a number of tools available which enable academics to create audio and video content to help fulfill a range of learning, teaching and assessment objectives.

Creating Multimedia Content

Creating Online Quizzes

Online quizzes can be an effective mechanism for checking understanding, incentivising student completion of preparatory work, enhancing active learning (such as through in-class discussions), and and can be relatively time efficient to create.

Quizzes have a proven positive influence on students’ academic performance, and affect the effectiveness and attractiveness of blended learning.

Creating Quizzes

Online Activities & Projects

Providing students with a variety of individual and collaborative multimedia projects or activities will allow them to apply the concepts outlined to them in pre-recorded material.

Designing Online Activities & Projects


Module Checklist

If you would like to check through your modules once they are set up, please use the Exemplary Course Rubric checklist. There are 14 points that we highly recommend you include in your online module area. Without any one of these elements, students may be missing out on key information, resources and support.


• Goals and objectives (Learning Outcomes) are clearly written, appropriate for the course level, and aligned
to desired outcomes
• Content is made available or ‘chunked’ in manageable segments (i.e. presented in distinct learning units or
• It is clear how the instructional strategies will enable students to reach course goals and objectives (e.g.
instructions or overview of course activities is provided and aligned to course objectives)
• Course design includes guidance for students to work with content in meaningful ways (e.g. clear
instructions, content outline, video, course orientation) and how to proceed
• Ally score is ‘Perfect’ (100%): Perfect! Ally didn’t identify any accessibility issues, but further improvements
may still be possible (Moodle only)
• The design and delivery of content integrate alternative resources (e.g. transcripts) or enable assistive
processes (e.g. voice recognition) for those needing accommodation
• Course files (e.g. documents, PDFs, presentations) are easily readable by assistive technologies (e.g. screen
readers, screen magnification)
• Instructions are written clearly (e.g. quantity of interactions, levels of participation) and presented inline
• It is clear to students how performance in an assessment(s) will be evaluated (e.g. rubric, equivalent
grading document)
• Assessment activities occur frequently throughout the duration of the course
• Multiple types of assessments are used (e.g. research project, objective test, discussions, etc.)
• Orientation materials explain how to navigate both the VLE and the course
• A list of course readings are provided, with essential and recommended reading, grouped by topic or week,
using Talis Aspire
• Contact information for the tutor is easy to find
• Course/tutor policies (e.g. decorum, behaviour, netiquette) are included and easy to find
• Students have the opportunity to give feedback to the tutor regarding course design and course content
both during course delivery and after course completion



The complete checklist gives you the opportunity to explore other areas of the course that you can develop and expand on. It is split into 4 areas: Course Design, Interaction and Collaboration, Assessment, and Learner Support.

Over the last few months, a lot of academics at York St John have started to make greater use of Microsoft Teams for teaching. If you have set up a module space in Teams, then you may find it works better to cover some of the points from the Exemplary Course Rubric in Teams rather than Moodle.

Whichever platform you decide to use, please ensure that your students know where they can find key module information, assignment submissions areas and contact details for you.


Provide a module induction

It is a good idea to spend some time explaining to students how you will use Moodle and Teams and showing them where they can find the resources and activities you will set up through these platforms. An easy way to do this would be to create a screen recording talking students through different parts of your Moodle page or Teams space. See our web page on creating video content from home if you are not sure how to do this or book a 1-1 with the TEL team.

See this excellent example from Adam Smith, Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities where he shows students the different options for collaborating on this module.

He also produced a weekly video throughout the module to explain the subjects covered as well as reviewing the different types of online provision. See an example here.

Also see this great example of a module introduction by Jack Denham, Learning & Teaching Lead in York Business School:



We recommend colleagues consult with module and programme teams to develop a consistent approach to the use of Moodle, Teams and Microsoft 365. TEL does not suggest one single institutional approach but we would be keen to meet with module and programme teams to discuss their needs and help to develop an approach that will work for them. 

Also remember the Digital Training are happy to provide training to students around Moodle and Teams. Please contact them if you think your students would benefit from an introduction to some key systems, whether in the form of written, video guides or live online sessions.


If you require any help or support when setting up your course, please contact a member of the TEL team at TEL@yorksj.ac.uk or book a Teams meeting for a 1-to-1 tutorial or group session with a member of the TEL Team.

Tomorrow, we will continue to look at course design, and see some more examples of ways you can set up your modules, especially thinking about how you might use Moodle and Teams together.



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