As you do in a face-to-face class, you'll need to divide your course content into chunks or components. Consider how you would segment the course in a face-to-face format. These segments may still be logical for Web delivery or may need to be further defined. Consider whether the distance student is likely to learn the information the way it is currently segmented. In general, shorter chunks are better for readability and comprehension on the Web. If possible, break the course into units or modules and then chunk each module into several short Web pages.
- (NOTE: If you expect that students will want to print the material and then read it, you may decide to create more lengthy pages or create a pdf file with the content for easier printing.)
As you break content into chunks, consider where each chunk fits into the overall course. Where will each page be linked from, what will it link to? Map out the course hierarchy and relationships as you go. You may want to do this physically with post-it notes or pieces of paper on a wall, or you may be able to use organizational charts in PowerPoint or another program to do this electronically.
Within each unit, you may decide to include activities to help students review and practice what they are learning. As you decide on your chunks, look for logical places to insert opportunities for interaction with other students, individual exercises, or other learning activities. These activities may require some interaction with you, or you may design ways for these to be completed independent of instructor involvement. The exercises you teach in a face-to-face format may need to be chunked differently or totally redesigned to be successful in a Web-based class.
| TILT, the Texas
Information Literacy Tutorial, is an excellent example of an
independent self-paced tutorial that provides students with
small, logical chunks of information and incorporates self-assessments
to test their comprehension (<http://tilt.library.skagit.edu/>.)
- Create a unit or module for each discrete topic discussed in your course
- Further divide modules into sections
- Use bulleted lists instead of dense paragraphs to aid with readability
- Highlight key points by using a different font size or color to call attention to them
- Create shorter pages if using large graphics to minimize load time
- Where it will aid in learning, add diagrams, graphs, charts, pictures, drawings, and other visuals to break up text
- If technically feasible, include audio or video. Be conscience of bandwidth and end user limitations
- Create a longer, separate pdf file for each module for easy printing
- Provide an organized table of contents page
For more on chunking see the Web Style Guide at <http://www.Webstyleguide.com/site/chunk.html>.