There’s no place like Home!

Published on: Author: Nancy O'Laughlin

What do your students see the first time they log in to your online course presence?  What about subsequent visits? Do you use this space effectively? A course home page is the first view of a course to your students. First impressions are lasting.

Whether you offer your course completely online, as a hybrid, or face-to-face with an online presence, here are a few suggestions you might consider:

  • Make the Home page welcoming and inviting. Some faculty find it a great place to provide a short description of the course as well as a place to present a short bio of themselves and their office hours.
  • Try to keep it uncluttered and well organized. Is it aesthetically pleasing to read? Perhaps consider a visual such as a course or department banner to add a sense of identity or an image of yourself or related content. The simpler you keep this page, the less confusion your students will have getting started and knowing what to do.
  • If your course is completely online, remember that your students need to know how to use the site. Arrange your content so that students know where to begin. This can help set a positive tone for the course, helping students get off on the right foot.

You have several options for creating this important page. By default, the Home tool is placed in your site when it is created. The Home tool provides a space to display course information. If you use tools such as Announcements, Schedule, Forums or Chat Room a summary will be displayed on the page (see image below).

There are other options for the home page. Whichever tool is listed first in the course menubar is what the user sees when entering the site.

To learn more about other options for the home page,  click the appropriate links on our Sakai Tasks or Educational Principles pages for Presentation and Usability.


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Nancy O'Laughlin

Nancy O'Laughlin is LMS Support Manager in the IT Academic Technology Services organization at the University of Delaware. She has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Educational Technology. Nancy works with faculty to promote effective uses of technology in education. She has a strong interest in guiding faculty in their use of instructional design strategies in their courses. Some areas of interest include: hybrid or blended learning, distance learning, e-portfolios, clickers and learning analytics.