Building Online Courses: Working with a Course Management System

by Wendy Schiller, NCJFCJ

This two-part session was a condensed version of a program given at the National Judicial College. Faculty members, Joseph Sawyer, William Brunson, and Kelly Tait expertly led participants through a course management system. Participants received a hands-on tutorial working with WebCampus, a course management software program, as Mr. Sawyer directed the class to build an online course.

This was a very practical session. Computers were set up, and each participant was able to log on to WebCampus at the University of Nevada, Reno and actually began building the online course from start to finish. The participants were able to garner quite a lot of information from the synthesized format, as the sessions were laced with tips and software suggestions. This valuable information and application will help participants in the future as they build online courses for their organizations.

Currently looking for software? The following is a short list recommended by the faculty during the sessions:

  • WebCT
  • Moogle
  • Adobe Connect Pro
  • WebEX

Currently building an online course? The following is a list of tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose Arial as the font in dark blue or black which will be easier for participants to read.
  • Make icons for the course in PhotoShop, so the visuals on the page will be more pleasing to the eye.
  • Multiple choice questions work better with four to five answers per question.
  • Keep the learners together as they progress through the modules of the course by using selective release of materials and quizzes.
  • Keep in mind that what people see should be as simple as possible.
  • Engage the learners by building in interaction with other learners and/or the faculty.
  • Give tutorials so the learners will know how to use the system.
  • Storyboard your course before you begin to build it online.