Best practices for creating engaging online content


  • Create content as pages within the learning management system in place of attachments and downloads
  • Create a “Welcome” or “Start Here” section that contains all of your introductory materials and helps students get oriented to your online course
  • Build a section where students can find course information such as the syllabus, calendar, assignment information and instructions, and links to help resources
  • Use descriptive titles for course sections and files (e.g. Week 2 Readings)
  • Layout the course in the order that students will engage with it


  • Incorporate engaging and diverse activities that include student reflection and interaction with the content and each other
  • Create a discussion forum for students to express their questions and concerns, and for you to respond publicly
  • Make sure that students are able to connect with you
  • Provide email and contact information, office hours or your availability online, and feedback and response times


  • Create or use text with a linked and navigable table of contents
  • Break text into small sections with clear headings
  • Use a program to allow students to annotate
  • Write your content in an informal, personalized tone; this helps students to build personal rapport with you through the online medium


Use or create videos that:

  • help students get to know you as a real human and create personal connections. See Create an Introductory Video
  • tell a story
  • show things that are difficult to see in person (slow motion, etc.)
  • provide students with the experience of seeing a new place


  • Ensure that most graphics serve a purpose (limit images that are purely for decoration)
  • Label graphics clearly