General Tips

  • The course must run the full term as stated in the registrar’s calendar; make sure you have an activity due during finals week during a fall/spring semester course – this is part of the term. For a summer / short course, your last activity should be due very close to the end of the session.
  • The course should have three distinct forms of assessment – this means different modalities by which students show their mastery of the content. Examples include quizzes, papers, discussions, journals, portfolios, presentations, etc. You might use the same tool in different ways (for example, using the Discussions tool for journals and discussions would be two modalities), different tools within TCU Online, or outside tools.
  • If you want a virtual office, create it via the Discussions tool. Make it the first discussion listed in the Discussions tool. Add information / link to your instructor contact information. Make sure you tell students that everyone in the class will be able to see their posts, so that personal concerns are best addressed over email.
  • The course should have student-student interaction. This can come in the form of discussions, projects, or any other activity that makes sense for your course or content. Student introductions support a feeling of community in your class and help foster student-student interaction. Having student-student interaction centered on course content is a SACS requirement.
  • The course should have a student self-reflection element. Students should be provided ways to review their own learning progress in light of questions they have about the content, knowledge they have acquired, connections they are making to other / prior knowledge, or how this content has changed their behavior or changed how they see others. Self-reflection may also include asking students to reflect on the process of learning, illuminating how ideas were developed or expanded during the progression of the course.
  • The course should have a SPOT reminder as well as an opportunity for students to give mid-course feedback. The instructor may also wish to have an end-of-course opportunity for students to provide specific feedback about activities, readings, or other questions customized to the course.

Build from the Distance Learning Template

The Distance Learning Course Template is a complete set of course templates, designed to provide information that is helpful to online students. It contains a robust Course Home area with pre-populated content for key university policies, campus resources, and TCU Online tools. Within Course Home, there are placeholder items for your syllabus, course schedule, rubrics, grading information, etc. These placeholder items support the design goal of ease of access to crucial course information.

Additionally, the distance learning course template contains modules with a first and last content item for each module. These module items include placeholder fields for module outcomes / objectives, module resources (readings and videos), learning activities, and key points. You will want to add associated readings, videos, links, other content, and activities.

Table of Contents from the Distance Learning Template

Grading Policies Template

DL Template Module Wrap Up

Module Wrap-up Template

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are happy to copy the distance learning template into your sandbox or master course shell so that you can begin to add your course information. Please complete the form to Request the Distance Learning Course Template if you would like us to copy the template into your course shell.

 

Things to Consider for Creating Activities in TCU Online

The guidelines below will help you make sure your activity directions contain all the necessary elements.

When Building Assignments:

  • Build in the Assignments tool
  • Turn on TurnItIn, if you will use the originality check or the inline marking feature
  • Directions for the assignment, including length (unless this is stated in the rubric)
    • Formatting specifications – either in terms of file type or document layout
    • Applicable course objectives / outcomes – state which objectives / outcomes listed on the syllabus are providing the purpose for this particular assignment.
    • If outside research / sources are required, indicate how many and how they should be cited
    • Add links to the academic integrity policy, library resources, or other applicable course policies / resources
    • If you will use a rubric to evaluate the assignment, attach this as part of the directions and draw students’ attention to it by mentioning it in your directions.
    • Indicate points possible for the assignment and contribution toward overall course grade (if a weighted gradebook)
  • Add the due date (including time and time zone) in the text of the directions and within the TCU Online date field
  • Add the Assignment to the applicable module in Content using “Add Existing Activities.” Drag it to the right place in the module.
  • Link to the assignment on the module intro page, mentioning due date and time.
  • If this is a big assignment, consider reminding students of this several weeks before it is due. You can link to the assignment on a module intro page or make a content item that discusses how students can begin preparing for the upcoming assignment.

When Building Discussions:

  • Build in the Discussions tool
  • You will need a forum and a topic (be sure and add the topic, or students will have nowhere to post).
  • Use the forum description area to review general policies for the discussion: Add links to the academic integrity policy, netiquette, library resources, or other applicable course policies / resources. Check the box to have this description display above all topics.
  • Directions for the discussion topic, including length (unless this is stated in the rubric).
    • The prompt / questions to which the students should respond. If you have multiple different questions, clarify whether students should answer these in one narrative or as discrete numbered items.
    • Formatting specifications – either in terms of file type or document layout
    • Applicable course objectives / outcomes – state which objectives / outcomes listed on the syllabus are providing the purpose for this particular discussion.
    • If outside research / sources are required, indicate how many and how they should be cited
    • If you will use a rubric to evaluate the discussion, attach this as part of the directions and draw students’ attention to it by mentioning it in your directions.
      Indicate points possible for the assignment and contribution toward overall course grade (if a weighted gradebook)
    • If students will need to post by a certain date and then reply to a set number of peers by a later date, state both due dates and times in the directions. Remind students of the number of peers to whom they must reply.
  • Consider using post-first for the discussions, so that students don’t shop among existing replies before posting their own. Note that this will not work well if you have student discussion leaders who are posting the question (because students will not be able to see the question before they post). This setting is available at the forum level and the topic level
  • Remember that Availability options has two different settings: Visibility (when students can see the topic) and Locking (when students can post to the topic). If you want to date-drive discussions, you will most likely want to use locking options, so that students can revisit the topic later, if they ever want check something.
  • Add the discussion forum or topic to the applicable module in Content using “Add Existing Activities.” Drag it to the right place in the module.
    • You can set a due date using the TCU Online date field associated with this content item – you can make the due date the date by which initial posts are due in the discussion.
  • Link to the discussion on the module intro page, mentioning due date and time.

When Building Quizzes:

  • Quizzes in online courses typically occur within a given availability window (ex: a quiz that is one hour may be available for 48 hours). In the rare event that your quiz must be taken at a specific time (ex. 9-10am on January 25th), be sure you have noted this in the syllabus, in an announcement, and on the module intro page. Remind students of this multiple times in advance of the quiz.
  • Build in the Quizzes tool. Add questions to the Question Library, not as a “New Quiz” – this will allow you to easily re-use quiz questions in cumulative exams.
    • Note that short answer question type are auto-graded items; if you want students to type a response of their own choosing, you want a written response question type – you can use the options when composing your question to set the size of the response box.
  • There are two text fields on the quiz launch page – you must use a radio button to turn each of these on.
    • Description
      • This is a good place to list applicable course objectives / outcomes – state which objectives / outcomes listed on the syllabus are providing the purpose for this particular quiz.
      • Remind students of the quiz expectations,linking to the academic integrity policy and other applicable course policies, including whether students can talk about the quiz with peers who have / have not yet taken the quiz.
      • State specifically whether the quiz is open book / note.
      • Provide basic quiz directions, including number of questions, time available, number of attempts and how final quiz grade in gradebook will be calculated.
      • Indicate points possible for the assignment and contribution toward overall course grade (if a weighted gradebook)
    • Introduction
      • Provide detailed quiz directions – you might note types of questions, your expectations for written response questions, or other lengthier elements.
    • Make sure your quiz is active (under the restrictions tab).
    • Set the Quiz Availability. This is important so students do not access the quiz before the quiz date/time. Add a Start and End Date for the Quiz and check the box to Display in Calendar, so students see this on their calendar and receive reminders. Add a Due Date to the quiz if the End Date is later than the Due Date. Any quizzes completed after the due date are flagged in the system.
    • Set Timing and Late Behavior Preferences: Enforce a Time Limit: Enter the time limit in minutes and Grace Period;  Set the appropriate option for Late Behavior.   When grading quiz submissions, if a student submits an attempts after the due date the quiz will be marked as Submitted Late. If a student submits a quiz past the time limit the quiz will be marked as Exceeded Time Limit.
    • Review the auto-grading and publishing settings for quiz.
    • Review the submission view for the quiz.
      • If you have set submission views, provide / link to directions for how to access these.
    • If you are using Respondus Lockdown Browser or Monitor, review the settings.
      • Be sure you have added a practice quiz to the course, so students have a low-stakes opportunity to get familiar with this software.
    • Add the quiz to the applicable module in Content using “Add Existing Activities.” Drag it to the right place in the module.
    • Link to the quiz on the module intro page, mentioning due date and time.
    • If this is a big quiz, consider reminding students of this several weeks before it is due. You can make a content item that discusses how students can begin preparing for the upcoming quiz or reviews study topics.