Creating a Course Outline

Typically, online courses are divided into weeks or modules that last anywhere from four days to two weeks. Without prescribed class meeting times, you have more options for structuring content and interactions. Here are a few important considerations: 

  • Organizing Content - Each week or module might have several subunits or topics. It is best to break content into small pieces to allow for the most effective learning. 
  • Navigation - Students will often be navigating content without direct guidance. Your content should be provided in a logical and clear path. 
  • Layout - Structure your content for online consumption, e.g., if a piece of text is too long, you run the risk of students not scrolling to the bottom of the page to continue reading. In this case, it might be worth further dividing your content to allow for a better user experience. 

A course outline should include mapping your content to specific weeks or modules. This will help inform the creation of a detailed course syllabus. 

Course Syllabus 

An online syllabus is similar to one for a face-to-face course, however, research supports that online students need even more detailed instructions. For help in developing a syllabus, review writing a syllabus