When selecting content for your course, consider both overall student workload and what is truly essential to include. Choose content that will support your learning activities and assessments, so students are able to achieve the key intended learning outcomes.
Review the volume of content and difficulty level of your course material from a learner’s point of view. Will it take more than 8 to 10 hours to digest the course content and complete all learning activities that week? If so, scale back the amount of content.
Course content can stem from various sources including:
- Course notes
- Textbook readings
- An existing Waterloo online course
- Waterloo Open Educational Resources (OERs)
- Waterloo IST's streaming sites
- Lived experiences
- Original course content you create.
Creating original content can take significant time and effort. Quality content on a multitude of topics already exists online, but make sure you use content from legitimate and authoritative sources wherever possible and provide guiding commentary around it. Be sure to follow Waterloo's Copyright for Teaching Online guidelines.
Organize the content logically so students can easily find what they need. Online course content is often chunked by week. Additional organizational structures to consider for the concepts themselves include topical, cumulative, problem-centred, and spiral. Choose a structure that will help to engage your students with the concepts of the course.
We've developed seven templates to help you build and organize your course quickly, and they're available directly within LEARN. The templates will help create basic pages, weekly content pages, a schedule, a syllabus, discussions, dropboxes and quizzes.
Resources for finding and organizing content:
- Waterloo Librarians by Subject
- Free images and video - sourced and recommended by CEL
- Creative Commons - free content in the public domain and under Creative Commons licenses
- Online Resources for Science Laboratories - POD’s list of resources for virtual labs and simulations
- Library services and supports for teaching and learning
- LinkedIn Learning - staff and students can access web-based training from using their WatIAM credentials.
- The Library and W Store can help source textbooks, readings and course content
- Email email@example.com for expert help from CTE, CEL and the Library
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for answers about using third-party content
- CEL may be able to copy content from an existing fully online course. Submit CEL's Course Component Copy Request form.