Using Organization to Streamline Courses
This module covers information about well-organized courses. By organizing courses so that students understand what’s expected and are better able to navigate the course, and by presenting lectures in a clear manner, professors can help create an environment that is conducive to learning.
This resource was originally developed with resources from the College STAR grant. That grant has ended and the College STAR modules will now permanently reside at the East Carolina University Office for Faculty Excellence.
College students give high marks to faculty who organize their classes so that students are well-informed about all aspects of the course including the assignments.
At East Carolina University (ECU), two of the professors lauded by students for creating highly organized courses use different approaches to achieve the same goal: delivering content clearly and consistently to help students succeed. Dr. Douglas Schneider, an accounting professor, has developed his own materials over the years, culminating in photocopied "textbooks"—lecture packets for the course that work in conjunction with the rest of the coursework.
Dr. Carolyn Dunn, an assistant professor who teaches technical writing in the Department of Technology Systems, delivers coursework online in folders, which are posted weekly. Each folder contains a PowerPoint on that week’s lecture. It also includes instructions for a writing assignment, accompanied by an example to help students get started. Students in distance-learning classes receive an extra component—the lecture delivered as a video.
By organizing courses so that students understand what’s expected and are better able to navigate the course, and by presenting lectures in a clear manner, professors help create an environment that’s conducive to learning (Carroll & O’Donnell, 2010). By organizing their courses effectively, Drs. Dunn and Schneider help boost student learning. One research study indicated that university students rank organization as one of the most important traits faculty can possess (Boex, 2000).
Support for this Module
Original development of this module was made possible by the College STAR (Supporting Transition Access and Retention) initiative. College STAR was a grant-funded project focused on partnering postsecondary educational professionals and students to learn ways for helping postsecondary campuses become more welcoming of students with learning and attention differences. Much of this work was made possible by generous funding from the Oak Foundation.
Share this resource:
November 11, 2022