Sample Online Course

person typing on computer


CETLOE has created a sample course and template to jumpstart new online course creation and guide course redesigns. Programs that adopt this template across all courses can rest assured that students will experience a consistent, easy-to-navigate online environment. Explore the template’s key design features in the sample course screenshots provided below.

How to Add the Template to Your Course

If you would like to review and customize the course template, request your own iCollege sandbox and then submit your template request.

Key Design Features

The home page includes customized, scheduled announcements. These are helpful for fostering community and creating structure. Other elements can be added to the home page as well including calendar and content widgets. 

A Welcome Module is included that creates community while fostering a sense of personal and collective responsibility. Key elements include instructor contact information, a description of the course, the syllabus, a timeline of important dates to help students pace their work, spaces for questions and peer-to-peer introductions, and opportunities to practice using iCollege tools (practice assignment, practice quiz, etc.).

In this course, modules are arranged by topic, which highlights a sense of narrative flow and could also lead to an easier workflow when transforming courses into differing term lengths or rearranging the sequence of content. All Modules are viewable at the beginning of the term and include start dates.

Each element of the syllabus is separated out in the Welcome Module so that students quickly find and access key information and easily plan for their semester. This "deconstructed" approach to the syllabus models evidence-based practice and also allows instructors to track which elements of the syllabus their students have reviewed.  

Each module begins with an introduction from the professor that speaks to how the particular subject is personally or professionally relevant.  The sequence of content across modules is the same: 

  • Getting Started: Students are provided with clear instructions for how they should work through the module, learning objectives that are aligned to the module content and assessments, a suggested schedule for completion, and estimated time for completion for all module elements.
  • Knowledge Checks: Low- or no-stakes activities like these give students the opportunity to assess their own learning and give instructors a quick window into student readiness and progress. 
  • Activities: Content is chunked and ordered to guide students through a learning experience. Students are provided with multiple means of engagement (videos, readings, peer instruction through discussion) and encouraged to reflect on their learning both before and after major assignments.
  • Finishing Up:. A summary of key take-aways from the module, and metacognitive activities to help students reflect on their learning.

Access to each new module is scheduled so that students progress through the course at a similar pace. This supports more meaningful interactions amongst students in activities and helps build community.

This page begins with a strong image, setting the tone for the content. The text is organized with lists and bullet points, making it easier to consume.

This page uses an accordion menu to organize large sections of text. Features like accordions and tab menus help students avoid becoming overwhelmed when navigating large amounts of text.

Course contains a Farewell Module to help students reflect on their experience in the course and set the stage for future success. Students are also encouraged to provide feedback on the course, allowing instructors to make improvements to the course based on real student perceptions and experiences.