Consistent Naming within your Course

One way improve student interaction and possible success in a course is to have strong organization.

An equally important practice is to use clear, consistent naming conventions in your TCU Online course shell and syllabus. Often when reviewing courses, we find that what an instructor has called an item in the syllabus has a different name in TCU Online in the Assignment Submission Folder (or Quizzes or Discussions), a third name used for the grade item in the Grades tool, and a fourth name in the TCU Online Content area or when the instructor references instructions in class. While these names might be related – for example, First Essay, Essay #1, September Paper, Reflection paper – this difference can be a point of confusion for students. Students will find it difficult to determine which rubric or set of expectations apply to the item and can be confused about where and when to submit items when naming conventions do not match in all these places.

Teacher IconIn online courses, confusion about activities often leads students to stop working while they await clarification from the instructor. This delay may mean that students fall behind in the course. Online students do not have the benefit of hearing the instructor use a set of terms interchangeably to refer to a given activity. Nor can students pose a question in passing and receive an immediate response that clarifies any misunderstandings related to the existence of multiple names for a given activity. Consistent naming is especially important in instances where students might be confused about which TCU Online tool is being used: essay exams, submitting a presentation, and reflective journals are activities that may use different tools in different courses.


Use the list below to proof your TCU Online shell and syllabus before your course goes live.


  1. Print or pull up the syllabus.
  2. For each assignment, activity, or course assessment in the syllabus, compare the names from the syllabus to what is listed in the Grades tool (if being used). Resolve discrepancies so that there is a single name, used across both.
  3. For each assignment, activity, or course assessment in the syllabus, find the corresponding electronic component tool (if applicable). Ex: for a discussion, find the forum and the thread.
  4. Check the name listed in the syllabus assignment description area matches what is listed in TCU Online tool. Resolve discrepancies.
  5. Check the name in the syllabus’ course calendar or schedule matches what is listed in the TCU Online tool. Resolve discrepancies.
  6. Check that the name in the tool used in TCU Online is connected to the appropriate grade item with the identical name. Resolve discrepancies.
  7. For each assignment, activity, or course assessment in the syllabus, find the corresponding modules in the Content area and resolve discrepancies. Be sure to check both names of modules, submodules, instruction pages or assignment sheets, links, and text within the Content area that might refer to an assignment or course assessment.
  8. Finally, if using these tools or TCU Online fields resolve discrepancies:
    • Announcements
    • Checklists
    • Course Overview
    • Groups
    • Rubrics
    • TCU Online calendar events