The following material serves as an extension of the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Transforming Teaching Toolkit.  You are encouraged to examine those resources as well.

Introduction: Developing a clear content plan and organizational structure for your learning materials has a significant impact on the student’s experience. By ensuring that concepts build upon each other, that concepts are well-aligned to the assessments, and that students are able to find the information they need when they need it, students will be able to purposefully learn without confusion and added stress.

Recommended Actions for Organizing Content
Recommended Action Why How Examples
Intentionally design your course with alignment between course learning outcomes, assessments, and activities. Having a clear plan for Course Learning Outcomes and how to effectively measure those outcomes using well-designed assessments will allow you to make decisions about what are essential concepts and how much attention to give them. Contact the ETLT for a one-on-one consult if you would like some assistance/resources for your course design or using learning outcomes. Here is how you can use a Course Learning Outcome to design your assessments:

Course Learning Outcome: By the end of this course, students will be able to evaluate the applications of GNSS.

Assessment: Discussion Forum comparing the type of GNSS and their uses.

Assessment: Write a technical report evaluating the efficacy of utilizing GNSS in a given case study.
Use the templated layout of onQ provided when a course is created with CCT+ or copy forward your previous course.

Start your course off for success by using the CCT+ template, copying forward your previous course, or using a template from the ETLT.
In an online or blended teaching scenario students will have to learn to navigate in onQ for all of their courses. By utilizing the template, there will be some consistencies that students will come to know which will reduce their cognitive load, assists in their organization, and reduce the number of navigational questions asked of the instructor. Use the CCT+ instructions to create your course in onQ. The template will be automatically loaded into the new course in onQ.

Reach out to the ETLT to find a template that is suited for your course. There is a First Year template with examples here, an Upper Year template here, and an online template here that have been developed by students based on student feedback and successful teaching strategies.
The template is set up in a weekly format with a Begin Here section. Use the Begin Here section to explain how to navigate in the course, expectations of both the student and instructor throughout the course, communication tools to be utilized, etc. Set up a consistent pattern for the layout of the weekly content that will be predictable for students where possible.

If you need to brainstorm how to adjust your content to fit into the weekly template format, reach out to the ETLT and we can help you consider some options.
Label all documents in onQ clearly for students. When students download resources off of onQ these resources get sent to the student’s downloads folder with the name given in onQ. If the name does not clearly indicate what course the document is for and describes its contents clearly students will have a hard time staying organized and finding the documents on their computers. Name documents with the course code and a clear description of the item both on your computer and in onQ. The name of the onQ item does not overwrite the actual file name. Here are some examples of clear file names:

ABCD 100 - Week 1 Notes
ABCD 100 - Week 3 Practice Problems
ABCD 100 - Assignment 1 Instructions (Week 5)
Provide ample time for collaborative activities. Working asynchronously in groups can be challenging. Allowing time the week before the assessment needs to be started for organization and housekeeping will leave ample time for students to complete the work. Organize groups the week before the assessment should be started.

Encourage students to schedule meeting times and select synchronous and asynchronous meeting tools that everyone is comfortable with.
Provide students support documents like this example on how to effectively work in groups online.

Provide the Setting the Stage for Groupwork planning document that allows all group members to indicate days and times of availability and best methods of communication.
Set up checklists in onQ for students to keep on track. It can be overwhelming for students to see a big list of items that they need to complete in a course. Utilizing a checklist and breaking the tasks into manageable chunks and specific tasks helps students create a plan for working through the content. Within each weekly module you can add a checklist to the content section that will give a bird’s eye view of all the things a student needs to do to be successful in that week. Instructions available here. Checklist Example:

  1. Complete all assigned readings.
  2. Work through practice problems and check answers against solution documents.
  3. Attend the instructor Q&A session if desired.
  4. Submit Assignment 2 by 11:59 PM EDT on Sunday September 27th.
Check your course against a quality course development checklist. Effective online teaching is an evidence-based practice that is supported by institutions such as Quality Matters (QM). QM is a rubric composed of 8 General Standards and 42 Specific Standards that helps developers and instructors measure if the course they have created is aligned with online learning best practices. This framework is a great tool to guide you in creating a high-quality learning experience for students. Print out the checklist and verify that you’ve completed each component within your course as best as possible. Remember that these are guides and not every item in the list may apply to your situation. If you feel as though you have not addressed something that is critical, reach out to the ETLT to brainstorm how to effectively do this. Quality Matters checklist is found here.

More information on the Quality Matters Framework can be found here.

This course development checklist was developed by the University of British Columbia.

This is a course standard evaluation checklist created by OntarioLearn.
View your course as a student when you’ve finished setting up. As the instructor the way you’ve laid out your course is logical to you. The view in onQ and the perspective of students may differ. Ensure that all links are working in student view and ensure that content is easy to find and available when it is supposed to be. Do this by using “View as student” in onQ, or impersonate a test student if you have one enrolled in your course. Activating and deactivating student view in onQ instructions can be found here.
Post content at least two weeks ahead of when students will be expected to digest it. This is critical in an online or blended teaching environment for a number of reasons:

  1. Creating digital media often requires time after it is created to edit or polish it.
  2. If you have any technical issues you have time to troubleshoot or reach out to the ETLT for support.
  3. Students with accommodations may need more time to work with learning materials (generally and in an online or blended scenario).
Create a timeline for adapting your course materials that places you ahead of the students. Starting to adapt your course materials in the summer will take the stress off of you when you are delivering your courses in the fall and balancing other priorities. Consider treating your traditionally scheduled course contact time as your dedicated planning and prep block for your course.

Place your materials in onQ as you complete them and have it automatically released 2 weeks ahead of the calendar week by setting a start date for the content. Review Set Dates for a Module at this link.

At any time, you can reach the Engineering Teaching and Learning Team at or via the LiveChat widget found at the bottom of this page with any questions you may have. We are here to help.