I. Course Design Principles > A. Organization and Course Design

I.A.4 Each learning module includes a brief orienting statement or paragraph. This statement should
explain to students how the readings, activities, and assessments are intended to help achieve the learning objectives.

Values Supported



The orienting statement explains for the students how the module’s learning materials fit into the big picture. Students often do not grasp why the instructors have chosen certain learning activities. Understanding the instructor’s underlying strategy can be a powerful motivator.

This element supports Transparency, because knowing how class activities are intended to achieve the learning objectives helps the student understand how the class activities fit together.It also supports Responsibility, because when students know what to expect, they are better able to take responsibility for their own learning.


A brief paragraph or two before each module helps orient and guide students through the material and stimulates interest in the material. Stating objectives explicitly helps students by informing them of:
1. what to expect of the course and from the course;
2. what they are expected to learn
3. what they will be required to do; and
4. how they will be assessed


The above list is taken from the discussion of “Principles of Online Design” from Florida Gulf Coast University:

The above discussion also includes consideration of how different areas of knowledge may require different treatment in the design of instructional activities. See their Principle 1.1.3: