Organizing Course Modules

Organizing Course Modules

As with the online course syllabus, when building course content remember that including more information is generally better than including less. In addition, the information for students should be organized into easily readable chunks. For example, content organized into Weekly modules is consistent with this “chunking” approach.

Begin by creating a “Getting Started” or “Course Information” module or unit, where you will want to include:

  • Course syllabus 
  • Instructor biography (upload picture or maybe short Welcome Video)
  • Course Calendar, with details on due dates (also include in syllabus)
  • Link to The 7 Steps to Developing Effective Time Management Skills for students
  • Links to relevant campus resources (Disability Services, Writing Center, Office of Student Success, Library, Information Technology help desk, Office of Digital Learning and Instructional Design Services (, Academic Honesty Statement, etc.)
  • A Guide to Netiquette for Online Learning
  • Link to the publisher web site (if used)
  • Links to software program downloads (as necessary)
  • Statement indicating that final grades are posted on the MSMC Portal

After completing the introductory module, create weekly modules for the duration of the semester, e.g., Week 1: January 16-22; Week 2: January 23-29, etc. Some faculty prefer multi-weekly Unit modules, which is fine, but keep in mind the “chunking” advantage of weekly modules. Also, avoid organizing modules by file types. For example, creating a module for all of your PowerPoint presentations is not recommended; instead, link the presentations within the respective Weekly modules. For Content modules (Weekly or Unit modules), include:

  • Module/Unit Overview (Sample Online Course Module:
  • Learning objectives
  • Task list with due dates
  • Resources (readings, Prezi/Power Point presentation, multimedia content)
  • Discussion forums, Assignments, Quizzes and/or other assessments
  • Module Wrap-up

In order to ensure clear communication, strive to organize each module using a similar pattern in the presentation of content. For example, if each of your course content modules includes an overview of the 8 weeks of activities, a PowerPoint presentation, an online discussion, and a chapter quiz, be consistent from module-to-module as to the order in which those links are posted. Moodle also allows you to create “books,” “labels,” or “folders.” Some faculty use books, labels, or folders to separate work to be completed by Chapters when a weekly module includes two or more chapters. Again, try to be as consistent as possible in how you use submodules and how content is ordered within sub-modules. Please refer to this website for more details on setting up your weekly modules and linking course activities.

Source: Faculty Reference Manual for Online and Distance Education