You can create course areas to serve as containers for your course material. Course areas enable you to present various types of content in an organized and engaging way.
After you create a course area, you can create content items within it to present your course material. You can include content such as text, file attachments, links to websites, tests, assignments, and multimedia.
For example, you can create a content area called "Units" that contains learning modules for Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, and so on. Each of the learning modules contains reading materials, assignments, tests, and links to tools to help student accomplish the learning objectives for each unit.
Content areas are the top-level course areas. You create and manage them on the course menu.
A newly created content area is an empty container. Click the link to the content area to access it. Next, point to any of the functions in the action bar to create content.
After creating content, you can set the sequence of items with the drag-and-drop function or the keyboard accessible reordering tool on the action bar. To learn more, see Editing and Managing Course Areas and Content.
Links to the content areas you create appear on the course menu and provide the overall structure of your course. Plan how you will organize the entire course and envision how your course menu will look and function. Three common organizational approaches are chronologically, by content type, and by subject area.
|Chronologically||By Content Type||By Subject Area|
|Each content area contains a week’s worth of readings, assignments, lecture notes, and discussion forums.||Similar content types are grouped together in a content area, such as all the lectures for the entire course.||Each content area contains lecture material and readings on a specific subject, along with assignments, discussion forums, and tests.|
Questions to consider:
You can organize and rename the content area links on the course menu to make them easier for students to use.
Folders are a type of course area you can use to organize content. You create folders in existing course areas, such as content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, or in other folders. After you create a folder, you can add content and additional sub-folders to it. For example, in a content area, you can create folders for each week of your course.
Use folders to organize content to make materials easier to find and reduce the amount of scrolling in a course area. You want to limit the number of nested folders used so students can access content with as few clicks as possible.
A newly created folder is an empty container. Click the link to the folder in the course area to access it. Next, point to any of the functions in the action bar to create content.
After creating content in a folder, you can set the sequence of items with the drag-and-drop function or the keyboard accessible reordering tool on the action bar. To learn more, see Editing and Managing Course Areas and Content.
To create a sub-folder, first create a parent folder. Click the name of the parent folder to open it, then point to Build Content on the action bar of the parent folder and select Content Folder.
Learning modules are course areas that allow you to organize related course materials in a table of contents to provide a rich and interactive learning experience. Students typically access learning modules in content areas.
You can set a structured path through the table of contents by enforcing sequential viewing or allowing users to explore the content in any order. For example, you can create a learning module that presents the concept of magnetic fields before describing how speakers and microphones work. Understanding the first concept is required for understanding the second concept. Alternatively, you can allow students to explore a learning module in any order for subjects where no particular arrangement is required for understanding the larger concept.
The learning module options you select determine how users view the learning module as well as its availability.
|Availability||Permit Users to View this Content: Select No to make the learning module unavailable to users. |
Select Date and Time Restrictions: You can set learning modules to display on a specific date and time and to stop displaying on a specific date and time. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Type dates and times in the boxes or use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times. Display restrictions do not affect the learning module’s availability, only when it appears.
|View||Enforce Sequential Viewing of the Learning Module: Select Yes to force students to view the pages in the order you have determined. Students cannot advance to the next link in the table of contents without viewing the previous link. Although the table of contents displays a list of all the content items and folders in the learning module, links only appear for the content items that a user can access. After viewing links sequentially, users can review them in any order. If users navigate away from the learning module and return to it, they are required to view the links sequentially again. |
If you do not enforce sequential viewing, users can view items in the learning module in any order by clicking the links in the table of contents.
Open in New Window: Select Yes if you want students to view the learning module in a separate window instead of in the content frame. This enables students to keep the learning module open in a separate window while navigating to other course areas.
Track Number of Views: Select Yes to turn on statistics tracking and record the number of times the learning module is viewed, when it is viewed, and by whom.
|Table of Contents||Show Table of Contents to Users: Select Yes to display a table of contents to students when they access the learning module. Even when you enforce sequential viewing, students can benefit from seeing the table of contents to gain perspective on the overall concepts being taught. If you hide the table of contents, students use the navigation arrows to move between pages, but they cannot see the list of items in the learning module. |
Hierarchy Display: Select the way items in the learning module are labeled to denote their relative position in the table of contents. You can select numbers, letters, Roman numerals, or mixed. If you select None, the items are not labeled.
A newly created learning module is an empty container. Click the link to the learning module in the course area to access it. Next, point to any of the functions in the action bar to create content.
After creating content in your learning module, you can organize the content in folders to provide a hierarchical structure in the table of contents. You can set the sequence of learning module items by using the drag-and-drop function or the keyboard accessible reordering tool on the action bar. To learn more, see Editing and Managing Course Areas and Content. After reordering, click Refresh in the table of contents.
Change Edit Mode to OFF to view the learning module as students see it.
Adding folders to a learning module provides a way to organize content in the table of contents that displays the relationship among items. Content that you place within a folder becomes a subsection of the table of contents hierarchy. You can use numbers or letters to label the hierarchy to further illustrate the relationship among items.
You can nest folders to provide a way to display many levels of content. Be aware that when you use folders in learning modules that are set to be sequential, each folder and all nested folders and the content within them must be navigated through before returning to an upper level in the hierarchy.
Each folder itself is a page in the learning module. Provide a description when adding a folder so that the page does not appear blank to students navigating through the learning module.
When you hide items in a table of contents, all nested items are also hidden. For example, if you hide a folder, then none of its content is visible either.
The following image shows how nested folders appear to students in the table of contents.
Another way you can present content to students is in a lesson plan. A lesson plan is a container for content similar to a learning module or folder that can hold and organize course items. You can create lesson plans within your course to hold lesson profiles, instructional objectives, and the content items students need to complete a lesson.
Adding lesson plans to a course can benefit students in several ways. You have the option of adding information for students to view alongside of the content to help them understand the objectives and intended result of their learning. You can provide students with information on how their knowledge will be measured, the needed materials, the duration of the instruction, and what they should have learned after the instruction. The more information students have at the start of the lesson, the more prepared they are for the content ahead.
Student view of a lesson plan in a content area
You create lesson plans in two steps based on the two tabs appearing on the Create Lesson Plan page:
Content Information: This tab contains general information about the instructor and objectives. This information appears at the top of the lesson plan in a gray box when students access the lesson plan or when you view it with Edit Mode turned OFF.
Curriculum Resources: This tab contains the lesson plan’s content items. You can create all content types in a lesson plan just as you can in a content area, learning module, or folder.
You can make lesson plans available to students or use them solely as a planning tool. The lesson plan tool is on by default, but your institution determines its availability.
Double-click the video to enlarge the viewing area.
Use the following steps to create a lesson plan:
Click Save and Continue to display the Curriculum Resources tab and create content now.
In the course area, click the link to the lesson plan to access it.
After you create content in the course area, you can set the sequence of items with the drag-and-drop function or the keyboard accessible reordering tool on the action bar. To learn more, see Editing and Managing Course Areas and Content.
Change Edit Mode to OFF to view the lesson plan as students see it. The view is substantially different with Edit Mode set to ON.
You cannot create a folder, lesson plan, or learning module directly on the course menu. However, you can create a course link on the course menu.
Change Edit Mode to OFF to see course content as students see it. This is especially important for lesson plans and learning modules. Viewing from the student perspective ensures you reveal only the information you intend to show to users.
Creating a Lesson Plan (Flash video | 4m 36s)
Your Course Environment (Flash video | 3m 01s)