Understanding the Course Structure

Template Tour

When you create a new course, it has already been set up to support best practices for online, hybrid, or web-enhanced teaching and learning. Organized with students in mind, the Course Template is structured with a top-level navigation menu and related sub-sections. It uses pages for static course information and categories menu items for dynamic course activities and student posts.

The template structure also provides a suggested method to organize your footer and sidebar widget areas and comes with several useful plugins pre-activated.

Course Menu

The Course Template Tour provides a visual overview of the course structure. The following outline shows the information architecture and the intended purpose of each element. Additional content, such as links to a web conferencing app, student portfolios, or library tools, may be added to the sidebar or footer as needed. Before setting up your own Model Course site, you can view the Course Template Demo Site to see the structure:

  1. Course Profile
    This link takes the user to the Course Profile on OpenLab. Like a portal for the course, it displays the option to join the course, lists of members, access to additional tools, a link to the Course Site, and access to course settings for instructors.
  2. Home
    Home displays all posts from students and instructor(s), such as class outlines, announcements, and student work. This dynamic content is published in reverse chronological order. For findability, all content displayed here should also be accessible from the Activities and Student Posts menu items, but you may choose to exclude some content from the homepage using the Category Excluder Plugin.
  3. Course Info
    This section houses official course information, documents, contact information, and other static content.
    1. Syllabus
    2. Schedule
    3. Grading Policy
    4. Contact Info & Communications
  4. Activities
    This section uses Categories to link to dynamic content, including weekly class meeting agendas and learning activities.
    1. Class Agendas
    2. Announcements
    3. Assignments
    4. Surveys & Quizzes
  5. Student Work
    This section uses Categories to link to dynamic content including all student-created posts and student-posts related to specific learning activities.
    1. Discussions
    2. Assignment Posts
  6. Help
    This section uses Categories to link to helpful college and course-related resources, including tutorials, demos, and student support services.
    1. Course Resources
    2. College Resources
    3. OpenLab Help

As you build your Model Course, we can help you decide if it makes sense to add, remove, or move anything in the menu.