Designing for Effective Navigation

Whether it is an entirely online course, or a course with a few online components, for many students this marks a big change from a traditional classroom. This change can be even more challenging for students with physical or learning disabilities, as they can feel disconnected from their instructor and other support systems. TCU Online provides instructors with flexibility in setting up and organizing content. However it can still be daunting for students who rely on assistive technologies to navigate the Learning Environment, find course materials, and find and complete assignments.

To help your students effectively navigate your course online, consider the following design guidelines:

  • Use Course Home to help familiarize your students with your course content.
  • Create an Announcement on Course Home that introduces yourself (the course instructor) and any teaching assistants. Include contact information and encourage students to contact you if they have concerns, questions, or additional needs.
  • Include your course syllabus as an announcement, or provide a link to your syllabus in an announcement on the Course Home. Make each item in the syllabus a Quicklink to the actual item in your course. Quicklinks provide a navigation shortcut to important content and helps all students more clearly see how course content relates to course expectations.
  • Include a Getting Started module in the Content with information highlighting some of the personal tools available to students, such as setting up Notifications, how-to respond to a discussion, and where to find Class Progress.
  • Build redundancy into your course by repeating course information within different tools. For example, you can include all course syllabus information in the course calendar, and include information on how much a quiz, discussion topic, or assignment is worth in the description of the syllabus entry for the content item. When course expectations are clearly communicated in the course design, students can focus on learning content.
  • Set up a clear hierarchy in your course content using consistent naming conventions.