When you create a course, you will need to start with an outline. Outlines are for you and for your audience. The outline will help you avoid missing any part of what you need to teach to meet the objectives of your course, but it will also be of use to attract your audience to your course. It will give them a sneak peek into what they’ll learn and encourage them to sign up.
The outline should include all of the following:
1. Why You Should Teach the Course – Everyone wants to know why you are the right person to teach the course. What gives you the qualifications to teach the course you’re going to describe? Who you are, what your credentials are, and so forth should be listed.
2. Course Description – Explain to the audience what the course is about in detail, but don’t make the description so long that they no longer need to take the course.
3. Course Goals – What are the goals of the course? For example, will the learner know how to make a web page using a particular platform when the course is over?
4. Learning Objectives and Outcome – Once the person finishes the course, what will they know and how can they use it? Will then have a workable item they can hold when they finish the course? Perhaps when the course is over they’ll have a five-page website that they can use.
5. List of Topics That Will Be Covered in Each Module – You want to state exactly how many modules or sections there will be, along with a title and description of what is covered in each module.
6. What Type of Audio / Visual Materials are Included – State what formats the information will include, for example if you’ll have audio, podcasts, video, and other types of material. This will alert the student about the requirements of their own systems.
7. Procedures for Accomplishing Objectives – Explain what you’ll do to ensure that the students accomplish the objectives. For example, a reminder will go out to all students each week.
8. Student Requirements – In cases where there are prerequisites for what students need to know, express them. Also if they will need to complete work that is turned in and evaluated, be sure to tell them.
9. Assessments (If Any) – Some courses will have tests and assessments to qualify for a certificate, and others will not. If yours does, say so.
10. Schedule of Activities – List the schedule of activities that are included in the course that the student will do, or that the instructor will demonstrate.
11. Reading List (If Any) – In some cases a book might go with the course. If you’ve written a book that they need to purchase, or you’re using a book someone else wrote, link to it so they can buy it.
12. Follow-Up Opportunity – A great thing to include in your course is a way for them to follow up with you and sign up for other courses you teach, or participate in other things that you do.
The outline for an online course is only slightly different than if you were teaching a course in person. In both cases you want to explain what’s inside the course, what your audience will learn, and what to do after for more information or where to find more courses that you teach.