A Guide to developing Fully Online Modules in GCULearn DIGITAL LEARNING TEAM, GLASGOW CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY, NOVEMBER 2015
The next stage is to start building the module structure within GCULearn. For help in using the various tools within GCULearn, please contact your School Learning Technologists. You can also access support resources from the Staff Help Tab within GCULearn.
The following sections highlight the main features that should be included in all online modules to enhance quality and consistency.
4.1. The module menu
The first thing students will see when they log on to a module is the menu and the headings within it. The menu guides students to different parts of the module and the resources they need to study successfully so the menu items should be clearly labelled and logically structured. A programme team may decide to create a standard menu structure across all modules, or, as is more likely, there may be variations in menus across modules depending on the learning and teaching approach and the nature of the subject. For example, module activities may be divided into weeks, topics or units, and may include frequent, short learning activities, a mix of individual and group activities, or fewer, more in-depth assignments. Most modules will include a combination of these.
All modules should include standard information about the module, including: tutor contact details; learning outcomes; reading lists; assignments; and timescales.
The overall design, colour schemes and any additional graphics to enhance the appearance of the online modules should be agreed in collaboration with School Learning Technologists who will be able to advise how the basic menu structure in GCULearn can be adapted. Short video guides on how this can be done are available.
4.2 Welcome and introductions
First impressions are important so the landing page for the module should be welcoming and informative. You may decide to make the Announcements page the landing page and post a welcome message there as in the example below, or you may decide to design a separate introductory section with its own link from the main menu.
It is important for online students to have a sense of tutor presence and for this a friendly tone is important. You may decide to include a short introductory video or podcast to introduce the module team and what the students might expect from a particular module.
4.3 Contact Details
Tutor contact details, including availability and preferred communication mode (e.g. email, phone, skype etc) should always be included. For online students, seeing a photograph of each tutor helps to create a sense of presence and engagement. You may also wish to add details of social media sites you use for professional purposes such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Slideshare.
Contact details for the Programme Administrator should also be included, and information about any technical or academic support they may access, e.g. IT HelpDesk and Learning Development Centre.
4.4 Module Overview
Each module should include clear information about the module learning outcomes, its overall structure and the assessment calendar. The module handbook should be available to download, but the important sections should also be easily accessible so you can be sure they have been drawn to the attention of students.