Enhancing your Course Homepage

An illustration of a simple house.

The landing page for your course is the first thing your students will see. It should be welcoming, informative, and signal that there is craft, care, and intention behind the design of the course. Students should be able to immediately access the most important, timely information. 

Think about the most common needs of students. Students probably want to easily identify what the current chapter/unit/module is. They will most likely want to be able to quickly access your contact information. And they probably want to be able to jump to critical course information - like your course syllabus. Alexandra Pickett pointed me to a study that showed "findability" for information in online courses is linked to student self-efficacy, motivation, and perception of the instructor1.

The landing page also provides a wonderful canvas for you to demonstrate your proficiency with designing the structure of the course; we'll tackle pedagogy and aesthetic a different day.

This is the first of a series of posts that will walk you through rethinking the structure of your course. We'll look at five different places to easily add clarity to your course:
  1. The navbar title (yes - that can be changed easily!)

  2. The navbar tools (intentionally adding or removing tools)

  3. The course banner

  4. The course title that overlays the banner

  5. The course widgets you elect to use
The image below shows a graphical representation of each of these five components. Changing each one of these is very simple - though you will have to invest some thought when curating the navbar tools and the course widgets.

Stay tuned for the series!

A full screen shot of a landing page in Brightspace.

1 Simunich, B., Robins, D. B., & Kelly, V. (2015). The impact of findability on student motivation, self-efficacy, and perceptions of online course quality. American Journal of Distance Education, 29(3), 174-185.