Student-Centered Design Within an LMS

Last year, I started teaching large online courses for the first time. While teaching online still has a lot of limitations and challenges, I’ve enjoyed approaching it as a design problem, and I’ve been trying to improve my online course materials every semester. Updating material isn’t just a matter of refreshing content: I recommend using each new class as an opportunity to check your organization, clarity, and menu design. Here are a few of the strategies I follow when trying to take a student-centered approach working within the constraints of the learning management system:

Include a guide for use. As you design your course, think about how a student will enter into the space. Consider sketching out your organization and customize your landing page (which can usually be chosen in the settings of your course) to include a map or guide for students on where to begin. In an in-person class, I always take some time in the first week to introduce the course site and point out the essential material, but online students don’t get that introduction.