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Faculty Guide for Online Teaching

**Read SAIC's Modular Course Design Planning on the Fall 2021 Teaching Guide**

.Overall Educational Benefits and Challenges of Online Instruction (using the Modular Approach).

  • Expedited course creation: Focusing on the components that go into a single module at a time simplifies the process, enabling instructors to more thoughtfully design each learning component. In addition, by working on one module at a time, instructors can more easily see how each activity relates to the course syllabus and desired learning outcomes.
  • Simplified course updates: Modular design enables instructors to target specific parts of the course for improvement without having to overhaul the entire course. With a modular course, for example, textbook changes might mean simply changing the page numbers of assigned readings or reordering the modules to match the new sequence of the textbook chapters. In addition, modules are portable and can be easily removed for use in other courses or course management systems.
  • Consistency for usersBy incorporating the same types of components in each course module, students quickly pick up on the course’s rhythms and patterns and have a better idea of what to expect than if the course were designed using a varying structure. “Often online students get a little bit lost, and they don’t understand what they’re expected to do. But if the course follows a format that’s recognizable and comfortable, then the second week and subsequent weeks are consistent,” Henne says.

-- From "A Modular Course Design Benefits Online Instructor and Students", from Faculty Focus

.Module Course Design Framework 

Module course design is probably the most common approach instructors utilize to organize their course. It is a course design framework that:

  • Segments learning into meaningful 'chunks' or segments
    • These segments are typically self-contained
    • Often based on text book chapters or topic units, but is much more effective if conceptually based  
  • Highly structured in flow &/or sequence
    • E.g. broad to specific, simple to complex
    • Modules can be formatted to meet the learning interests and needs of the students
  • Focuses on key topics, concepts, problems, case studies, etc. within each module
    • Each module builds on the previous skills, knowledge and capabilities to progress learners toward threshold concepts/goal

.Other Resources On This Topic.