Module 3: Quality course structure and content
For those interested in learning more about particular topics in Module 3, we’ve included links to further resources below. Resources are organized by topic and arranged in the order in which they appear in the module. To view longer summaries of particular resources, select the “Click for resource description” tab.
Organizing your course
Online teaching toolkit, Association of University and College Educators (ACUE)
Teaching toolkit: Course organization, Queen’s University
Teaching Toolkit: Course Organization, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Queen’s University
Structuring weekly online content, University of Waterloo
Creating Weekly Introduction Pages is a succinct resource created by the Centre for Extended Learning that includes tips on how to segment content, create weekly introduction pages, curate, and organize content in your learning management system.
Nine ways to reduce cognitive overload in multimedia learning
Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive overload in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43–52. https://faculty.washington.edu/farkas/WDFR/MayerMoreno9WaysToReduceCognitiveLoad.pdf
The cognitive theory of multimedia learning
Mayer, R. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
“How Do We Create Useful Online Learning Experiences?” on the User Experience Design for Learning (UXDL) Honeycomb website provides an overview of Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning, with examples across disciplines illustrating each of the principles highlighted.
Noetel, M., Griffith, S., Delaney, O., Harris, N. R., Sanders, T., Parker, P., del Pozo Cruz, B., & Lonsdale, C. (2021). Multimedia design for learning: An overview of reviews with meta-meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543211052329
User Experience Design for Learning (UXDL) research
“The User Experience Design for Learning (UXDL) Framework: The Undergraduate Student Perspective” (Troop et al., 2020) presents results of a validation study on the UXDL framework.
Lackmann, S., Léger, P.-M., Charland, P., Aubé, C., & Talbot, J. (2021). The influence of video format on engagement and performance in online learning. Brain Sciences, 11(2), 128. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020128
Wilson, K., Martinez, M., Mills, C., D’Mello, S., Smilek, D., & Risko, E. F. (2018). Instructor presence effect: Liking does not always lead to learning. Computers & Education, 122, 205–220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.03.011
Storyboarding an online course
The ABC Online Course Design workshop by Western University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning presents a storyboarding process/approach using Trello. Participants map and organize six “learning types” (acquisition, investigation, collaboration, discussion, practice, and production) that they will use in their course. The workshop can be accessed asynchronously and is made available through an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
Creating accessible content
The University of British Columbia has created an OER Accessibility Toolkit, which focuses on what is needed to create truly accessible educational resources—ones that are accessible for all students.
The University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education offers an education commons page specifically on accessibility tools and resources, which offers a variety of accessibility checkers, checklists, and testing functionalities that allow you to gauge if your content is accessible. There are also many resources specifically dedicated to creating an accessible website.
The National Centre on Accessible Educational Materials’ site, Designing for Accessibility with POUR, provides tutorials on how to make Word, Google, and PDF documents accessible, how to write descriptive text and alt text, how to use built-in accessibility checkers, how to locate or create captions for videos, and more, all guided by a set of four principles that define the qualities of an accessible experience.
The University of Waterloo, together with eCampus Ontario, have created a set of Web Accessibility Guidelines, which describe, in plain language, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) legislation for accessible websites and web content, which is based on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) at Level AA.
Conestoga College have created a very useful Accessibility Checklist for OER Development (DOCX).
Creating inclusive content
The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University has produced a Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia, which highlights five inclusive teaching principles derived from research and evidence-based practices, and includes practical, accessible, and usable strategies that instructors can readily adopt into their teaching practice.
The Big Reveal: Showing Students How Metacognition Works by The Learning Scientists presents an overview of how to improve metacognitive regulation in learners.
Bawa, P. (2016, January 5). Retention in online courses: Exploring issues and solutions—a literature review. SAGE Open.
Retention issues in higher education by S. Brown is a comprehensive list of suggestions for improving retention for postsecondary learners framed as reflective prompts. It also includes an extensive reference list.
8 Great Ways to Enhance Retention [Infographic] highlights key strategies to increase retention, including retrieval practice (e.g., self-assessment), visualizations, feedback, interleaving, and distributed practice.
Copyright-free media sources
Suggested Sources for Free Images, Video and Audio from the Centre of Extended Learning at the University of Waterloo is a curated list of sites that house freely available resources, including a description of the types of resources available and notes with special usage and copyright considerations.
Copyright Guide for Instructors
Copyright at Waterloo’s Guide for Instructors helps instructors understand when they might require copyright permission and when they do not. The Copyright for Teaching resource includes an interactive Copyright Decision Tool which allows you to enter a use case and receive copyright guidance relevant to your use case.
The Copyright Act, Work available through the internet exception
Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, Work available through the internet explains the Work Available through the internet copyright exception.
Creative Commons, About the licenses
Creative Commons’ About the Licenses page describes the various Creative Commons licenses available with links to license deeds and legal codes.
Fair dealing copying guidelines
Check Before You Copy (PDF) from the University of Waterloo, and the Fair Dealing Guidelines (PDF) from the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, provide useful summaries of what is permissible to copy under the Fair Dealing Advisory.