Category Archives: Course Planning

Organized Course Building

Course Buildind Directory StructureHow do I build courses?

I create outlines with a text editor. I like TextPad. (Notepad ++ also works .)

I create content folders, process folders, resource folders and archive folders.

(I use a boilerplate system, and drag a set of pre-named folders into the workspace.)

I use a numbering system.

I number file folders of course content…

• 00-xyz-00
• 01-xyz-01
• 02-xyz-02
• 03-xyz-03
• 04-xyz-04
• etc.

I use a lower-case naming system for process and tools folders.

I use a zzz-xyz naming prefix for Archive folders. (Templates from re-used content go into the Archives, once repurposed and editid.)

I transfer the presentation outline to an Open Source Learning Management System (Canvas)…by creating Modules for each topic.

And I create content with HTML – Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver makes connecting links (associations easy).

I create mind maps, and place program-formatted maps in a “mind-maps” directory, and Mind Map Images in a “mind-maps” folder withi the images folder.

I also number images, Mind Maps, Wireframes, Banners and other graphic content with the associated content folder.

Sub-item Content gets numbered as…

• 00-xyz-00
• 00-xyz-00-01
• 00-xyz-00-02
• 00-xyz-00-03
• 00-xyz-00-04

• 01-xyz-01
• 01-xyz-01-01
• 01-xyz-01-02
• 01-xyz-01-03
• 01-xyz-01-04


If I need to re-order, I use “Global Search and Replace” software [WildEdit, or Dreamweaver]. (Copy to another directory, rename all, and copy back.)

I prefer organization to stress and confusion.

The up-front set-up work infestment pays off in time saved in searching for content.

Top-Down Course Project Planning: Specific Learning Objectives

Tying objectives to modules, topics, activities and discussions…after the fact…represents “Bottom-up” course design.

What you  need to implement to save time and increase success measures is “Top-down” course design. Such a strategy would…

  • Ensure that students’ learning experiences relate to Specific Objectives
  • Ensure that all Specific Objectives receive priority and focus during the semester
  • Require you to connect learning activities to objectives before assignments could be published
  • Require you to assess individual students’ progress towards mastery of each objective
  • Flag for attention and prompt teaching and learning changes in your course delivery when student performance lags

Top-down planning matches professional project management “Best Practices.” Think of each course as a “Project.”

Top-down planning also separates Specific Learning Objectives from grades…and requires “Evidence-Based” performance standards.

Build every course from a Specific Learning Objectives framework, and filter every lecture, assignment and activity to ensure a direct connection to course SLOs.