Navigating the Course: the Learner’s View
Course content includes a variety of materials: from outlines, updates and handouts to pages, textbooks and schedules.
It must be structured to ensure that learners actively engage with your course.
- Courseware is organized into sections, subsections, units and components that can include videos, readings, exercises, exams, labs, discussions and anything else you would present in the body of a course.
Learning Sequences, the Magic of edX
When the learner selects a section in the LMS, he can drill down further into subsections and see learning sequences — a sequential list of course units across the top of the screen in the course ribbon.
These learning sequences, which belong to the subsections within sections, include video, readings, assessments and other course materials. They belong to the subsections within sections. They are called “Units” on Studio (the CMS).
Learning sequences are the magic of edX. They are designed to engage the learner by creating modular experiences through which students can navigate. Students alternate between learning concepts and solving simple exercises to check their understanding.
Once you register on edX.org or any Open edX platform, the course opens the Course Info page –with announcements and handouts. Then you access the Courseware and browse different tabs, such as “Discussion”, “Wiki” and “Progress”.
In the Courseware page you will find the main content of the course: videos, readings, problems, labs, discussions, documents, etc. Most of the courses are organized by weeks or lessons.
The first section usually contains a welcoming video tutorial and directions for navigating the course.
After interacting with course content, you might be asked to complete a graded assignment such as a quiz, exam or homework problem.
On the Discussion tab, students post comments or ask questions. They can sort posts by topic, date, books or comments. Each of the posts can also have a number of comments.
The Wiki tab allows you to collaborate with other learners in your course. You can view or edit the page to share resources and co-create opportunities for understanding.
The Progress tab is where you keep track of your progress throughout the course. You can see information regarding homework assignments, exams and total scores.
When you finish all of your assignments and tests, you can get a certificate and a badge.
In addition to all of these standard navigation tabs, some courses include tabs for textbooks, syllabi, social communities or facts related to the course.
If you’ve registered as a teacher through Studio’s authoring tool, you will see another tab called “Instructor” that gives access to a Dashboard with course data, administration list roles, student grades and basic analytics.
A Modular Experience
As an instructor you don’t just put together a series of videos and assessments. You are building an overall course experience. Thus, plan the goals of the course and outline its structure before you start posting.
Keep modularity in mind as well. Learning sequences are designed to engage the learner by creating a modular experience through which the student can navigate.
Therefore, course components must be made as modular, or stand-alone, as possible. This will also allow to easily reorganize, replace and improve materials on the course.