Digital Learning & Design

Build your course using the PRE-COLLEGE course template provided within Canvas Commons. 

To import the template, go to Canvas Commons (located on the main left-hand navigation bar of Canvas). Search for “PRE-COLLEGE TEMPLATE.” Once you have located the template, select “Import/Download,” and then find your course and select “Import into Course.” For more information on how to download from Canvas Commons, please see: How to Import a Template from Canvas Commons?

Other resources are available to assist you. Use the Helpful Links resource as you design, build, and facilitate your online course. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].

Pre-College Course Design Worksheet

Putting Together Your Course

Your pre-college course will consist of modules in Canvas. Each module typically represents a week of course time in which students can complete the work within that time frame. This approach does not require anyone to meet at a specific date or time.

Be aware that you should write a general Course Welcome page. This page should consist of a general overview of the course topics, course outcomes, and any pertinent course resources. 

Each module should consist of:

  • An overview that includes learning objectives
  • Pre-recorded asynchronous short lectures (fewer than 10 minutes)
  • Readings
  • One substantial assignment
  • 1-2 Discussions
  • Content pages that address new topics with a module

The module format and content can vary depending on your course content. The template contains 6 modules. Publish only those modules your course requires.

Make sure each module is consistent and predictable, and includes clearly stated deadlines and expectations; there should not be a large increase in work or dramatic change in type of assignment without advance warning. Keep your course simple and predictable to facilitate student learning. 

Readings, assessments, and other activities should add up to 15 hours of work a week.

To create the following items within a module, please see: Creating Items from Modules.



Overview/Welcome: The overview should give students a good idea about what they will learn by the end of the module. It can consist of a paragraph-length explanation, or a series of bullet points listing outcomes and objectives.

Asynchronous Short Lecture: You can use Zoom or Panopto to record short lectures that can be embedded within each module. These lectures can be used to offer an overview of module content or explain a difficult concept. This approach is optimal if you have not arranged with our digital media team to create lectures.

Readings: Each module should contain easily accessible readings (articles, case studies, etc.); pre-college students do not have access to OCRA, nor should they be required to purchase textbooks if the material is otherwise freely available. The amount assigned will depend on the difficulty of the readings. Feel free to also consider using videos, podcasts, or other materials

Assignments: Depending on course content, one substantial assignment should be required for each module. This can be a case study, short paper, group project, exam or some other assessment. Or the assignment can be a component of a larger final project. Assignments should be due at the end of the module week.

Discussions: Each module should contain one to two discussions that connect to the assignments and readings. One discussion should be a place where students share experiences, ask questions, or respond to questions posed by the professor. This discussion should be due toward the end of the week. The other discussion should be tied to the content and/or the major assignments and should be due mid-week.

Content Pages: Content pages should contain the necessary information for students to be able to complete the next activity, whether that is a discussion, assignment, or quiz. You should also create a content page should you take up a new topic within a module. Such pages should offer students the necessary context to understand the material and activities that follow.


Have a question? Please see our Online Course Design Helpful Links.

Still need help? Email [email protected].

Looking for more? Visit our Resources page for additional guides, events, and trainings.