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Module Structure

A helpful tip for structuring your modules is to think of modules as essay paragraphs. An essay typically contains three paragraph categories; introduction, body, and conclusion.

Welcome Module

The Welcome or Start Here Module acts as the “introduction” paragraph and should be the first module students see. Before you decide how to organize your course, you’ll need to ensure your students know how to begin the course.

The Welcome Module serves four distinct purposes:

  • Sets the expectations for workload both across the semester and within a typical week.
  • Establishes the class tone, schedule, syllabus, and course policies & procedures.
  • Allows you to learn more about your students to better address student needs.
  • Creates a means of attendance verification either through a survey, quiz, discussion, or brief assignment (e.g. syllabus quiz).
Recommended Welcome Module content:
Welcome message (strongly recommended)

The Welcome can be a letter or video from the instructor to students. It introduces how the course plays a part in either the major or general educational needs of students, the professional interests of the instructor, and how those interests reveal career skills relevant to the learner, and an intentional connection between the course and career goals of students. 

Pre-course survey (recommended)

The Pre-course Survey is a survey used to learn more about students and their needs. It includes questions related to the major, the reason for taking the course, the number of courses the student has registered for, previous online learning experiences, the amount of time spent studying per week, study methods used, and college support services used.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) discussion area (optional)

The Frequently Asked Questions discussion area allows students a space to post questions about the basics of the course including requirements and logistics.

Syllabus (required)

A deconstructed syllabus is the best practice for adding the BOE-required syllabus to a course. There may also be a syllabus quiz to ensure students are familiar with the syllabus. This may also require Respondus LockDown Browser to ensure students can use the necessary technologies.

List of student resources

Links to relevant student resources should be included in the Welcome Module. Recommended links include the advisement center, tutoring services, financial aid center, access and accommodation center, counseling services, health clinic, technology assistance, career services, publisher support, and more.

Attendance verification activity

The course attendance expectations should be stated in the syllabus even for online and hybrid courses. During the attendance verification period, faculty need to report academic-related activity accurately. This can be a quiz, discussion, survey, or other activity.

Content Modules

Content Modules are considered the “body” paragraphs because they contain all the learning materials and activities for the course.

Recommended content module structure:


A pretest is a preliminary assessment given at the beginning of the module to assess the student’s prior knowledge and to ensure students are prepared to move on to a new topic.

The pretest can be given in several formats, but the recommended format is a short MyCourses quiz.

Module Overview

A module overview is a brief introduction to the content covered in the module.

Module overviews should include a list of the following items:

  • learning objectives
  • instructions
  • learning materials
  • activities
  • assessments
Advance Organizers

There are two main types of advance organizers:

  1. An advance organizer can be an introduction to a new topic with the intent to give students an overview, connect new information to what the students already know, and illustrate the organization of the new concept or information to be processed and learned.
  2. An advance organizer can be a task planner designed to orient the learner to a task by providing organizational cues, like a sequence of steps to complete the task or a list of components of the task, or by showing what a product (i.e., the learning outcome) should look like (e.g., what a well-organized story or description looks like).
Learning Materials

Learning materials pertain to content that students must review to absorb the information, whether it be recorded lectures, slide decks, assigned readings, and/or supplemental materials such as educational articles.


A reflection activity can be a graded or ungraded activity that allows students to reflect on the information they’ve learned from the lectures and assigned readings.

Reflection activities can be a summary submitted as a Word document to an Assignment folder, a Discussion post, or a recorded video.


Assignments are formative assessments that help affirm students’ understanding of concepts they have learned in the module.

Assignments serve as an opportunity to provide feedback to the students during the learning process.


Post-tests are summative assessments that test students’ understanding of a concept at the end of the module or unit.

Post-tests are typically given in the form of a quiz.


It is always helpful to end a module with a brief conclusion to review what was covered in the module, what concepts the students should take away, and any next steps to prepare for the upcoming module.

Wrap-up Module

The wrap-up module serves as our conclusion paragraph. It is essentially a final message from the instructor at the end of the course and can include the following:

  • Farewell from instructor
  • An informal survey asking students about the course design
  • Suggested resources for further study
  • A plug for the next course
  • Reflection activity for students

Based on iCollegeNow by Tracy Adkins; Crystal Bundrage; Kathleen Mapson; and Will Kerr. This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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