36 Module Overviews

Modules typically begin with an overview that introduces module topics, learning objectives, and learning activities. The overview enables instructors to explicitly address students’ “big why” questions from the start:

  • Why is the material relevant to my current and future goals?
  • How does the material fit into the bigger picture of the course or subject?
  • Why is the material interesting or compelling?

Module introductions can be formatted in a variety of ways. Common approaches include the following:

  • Written: While often the easiest, written module introductions can strike students as being dry and impersonal and can suggest less evidence of teaching presence. Also, they are very easy to skip or skim.
  • Video: Introductory videos infuse the course with teaching presence, which is particularly important in fully online courses. Video introductions do not have to be fancy or overproduced. They can be created with nothing more than a webcam and basic notes—with a result that is very similar to addressing a class in a face-to-face setting. However, video introductions do require you to look presentable and make sure your environment is tidy. Mistakes are more difficult to fix in videos than in written introductions.
  • Audio: Introductory podcasts fall somewhere between written and video introductions in terms of teaching presence, engagement, and difficulty level.

Additional resources


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