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Nine tips for student-centered Sakai sites

September 7, 2016

brando.n - quick learner
“Quick Learner”

Anastasia Salter’s helpful ProfHacker article, Student-Centered Design Within an LMS, features five great suggestions:

  1. Include a map – put a clear guide for students on the course home page.
  2. Use tools consistently – be aware of how other instructors name the tools and use them.
  3. Be careful of redundancy – such as posting the same dates on both the Calendar and the Syllabus, or the same files in both Resources and Lessons.
  4. Watch for relics – when you re-use a site from a previous semester, check for outdated materials and deadlines.
  5. Consider a schedule – offer one even if you have flexible due dates.

I’ve been helping Notre Dame faculty members use an LMS (right now it’s Sakai) for nearly 18 years, so  I feel qualified to add a few more tips.

  1. Turn off all of the tools – hide them when you first open a course site, then students won’t find empty pages. Turn on a tool after you identify a way it can help meet a learning goal.
  2. Limit the verbiage – a website is not a peer-reviewed journal. Get to the point quickly and don’t bury key information at the bottom of a page.
  3. Use media … purposefully – definitely incorporate images and video, but stick to items that convey useful information.
  4. Use headings – if you choose to include a lot of text on a single page, then make it easy for students to find information. (I prefer to break large content blocks into separate pages)

Becoming a learner-centered designer

Related resources

[Image credit (top of article): Flickr image by brando.n shared under a CC:BY license]
One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2016 4:32 pm

    Thanks for this post.

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