Course Design Framework

The KU Course Design Framework was developed by the Office of Distance Education to assist faculty in developing a quality course site in D2L. Based on the nationally recognized Quality Matters Program (QM) standards for course design, the framework incorporates federally-mandated accessibility standards and provides students with an easily navigable, student-friendly structure that does not constrain content or how it's delivered.

Why Use the Design Framework?

The course design framework in D2L provides students with a consistent experience about where to easily find key information from course to course. It doesn't mean that every course is identical, only that key design features are applied in a consistent way, a crucial characteristic of effective course design.

Framework Features

Many features have been built into the framework, which not only save time but also help eliminate confusion for both faculty and students:

  • Consistent, logical course structure to facilitate ease of navigation for the student
  • Federally mandated accessibility standards, including:
    • Consistent formatting for headings (H3, H2, H1)
    • Consistent accessible font - Arial, Size 3 (12 point)
    • Web accessible colors - Accent blue (#006fbf)
    • Tables with column and row headers compatible with screen readers
  • Customizable, pre-formatted "Welcome" announcement
  • "Replacement string code" to personalize the experience by addressing the student by name
  • Available structural placeholders, such as weekly modules

The following modules are included in the framework:

  • Start Here

    The Start Here module contains important student information including:

    • Introduction to the course structure
    • Important links to university resources such as student support services, as well as accessibility statements and privacy policies for course technologies
    • Tips for Online Learning
    • Etiquette for online communication
    • Activities to guide students through important aspects of the D2L learning environment and tasks such as: setting up course notifications, updating their D2L profile, finding the class progress tool and posting to a class discussion forum. 
  • Faculty Information
    • Meet Your Instructor page (customizable)
    • Contact Information and Virtual Office hours (customizable)
  • Course Information
    • Upload your syllabus document here
    • Schedule and Assignments (customizable)
  • Course Communication
    • Course communication protocol, discussions, course notifications, assignment and quiz grading expectations, link to faculty contact information (customizable areas)
    • Link to "Course Questions" discussion area
  • Content Modules

    A customizable module structure based upon the Quality Matters Rubric. Within each of the pages is a description and an example of how each module may be constructed. Each consists of the following editable components:

    • Overview (customizable) - provide students with an introduction to the weekly topics and their related learning outcomes. In addition, a table that highlights the relationship between course-level and module-level outcomes, instructional activities, assignments, and assessments.
    • Learning Materials (customizable) - contains all the learning resources and non-graded activities
    • Assignments (customizable) - Details and/or listing of all the graded assignments due that week
    • Content Page (customizable) - a placeholder for course content with an accessible heading structure
    How to Use the framework
    1. Request the framework from the Office of Distance Education.

    2. Become familiar with the various modules and pre-populated content as described above.

    3. Customize the pre-populated content so it's specific to a particular course:

      • Anything that is not specific to a particular course can and should be changed.

      • Note the areas in Brackets. Anything in brackets is generic content and needs to be deleted and customized with course content and information. Be sure to also update the green text to black.

      • Use the drop-down arrow associated with each page and select 'Edit HTML' to customize.

    4. Additional pages can easily be created via the "Select a Document Template" dropdown, choosing the pre-made "Content" file to keep content design consistent and accessible.

    Adding additional modules

    You can add additional content modules and configure your course to use the provided HTML page templates with these steps.

    Copying Previous Course Content

    It is highly recommended that you review previous course content and manually migrate it into the new format. The current D2L course site will merge both the new course design framework and the previous course structure. Keep in mind that if any of the file names are identical, there is a chance of overwriting files (original content will not be affected).

    We encourage everyone to work with the Office of Distance Education to help migrate previous courses into the new format. Once a course is migrated into the new format it can be easily copied for future course offerings.

    Have Questions or Need Assistance?

    Contact the Office of Distance Education for assistance.