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  • Lessons - Ideas on Organizing a Course
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The Lessons tool allows users to create a sequence of course content and materials using top-level pages linked to sub-pages. Top-level pages appear as buttons (links) on the left hand menu in Sakai. Pages can contain text, images, video, links and can link directly to other Sakai tools including Assessments, Assignments, Resources and Forums. Different people have designed courses using Lessons in different ways.

The purpose of this page is to share different ideas or organizing course materials for faculty, instructional designers and others to browse and perhaps to adopt. Feel free to add your organizational scheme, or to embellish an existing idea.


  1. Course content can be organized at the top level by weeks, units, topics.
  2. The first Lessons item is the course syllabus with details of assignments, etc. Students can return to this to make sure they are keeping up and meeting deadlines, which could be especially useful for online courses.
  3. A checklist is provided at the bottom of the page that students need to complete to indicate that they have done the required work..
  4. Students are required to add a Comment at the bottom of a page to indicate they have done the required work.
Wish list for Lessons
  1. Templates that allow for various layouts of content, including columns
  2. Methods of tracking student progress

1 Comment

  1. Unknown User (davideveland)

    So based on Salwa's initiative, here's how we organize our lessons at Johnson University.  The structure for us can vary depending on how the course is offered (hybrid, face to face or fully online).  In most cases however we basically come up with a lesson page (left hand column) for each learning unit.  Some of our face to face courses come up with a lesson page for every time the class meets (a bit overkill I think).  And there are some face to face courses that use a single lesson page for the whole course with subpages to represent each learning unit (even if that means weekly content).

    A standard 16 week face to face course that meets twice a week would make at least 30 lesson instances in a course - which I think is too many.

    A standard 16 week face to face course that provides a single lesson page with multiple subpages would seem far less unwieldy.

    Our hybrid and online courses - which typically last a total of 7 weeks (we offer 6 different sessions of 7 week online/hybrid courses during the year - allowing for a week break between each successive 7 weeks) structure the content into learning units (typically representative of course content chunked into logical weeks) and use 7 lessons pages with minimal subpages on each. Most of the online courses attempt to follow the same pattern of layout - though designers are not restricted to this.  We really try to target our course build process around the objectives of the course - and let the objectives of the course drive the course build, though with online courses (and students taking them) there's something to be said for consistency and continuity.  The less students struggle with the technology the more they can 'struggle' with the content it presents.

    I've provided some links to some courses below so you can see what I mean:

    The English course is a fully online 7 week course. The course to the right is an Educational Technology course taught as a fully face to face 16 week course.

    The next image shows a fully online course, but shows the Lesson layout for a fully online 7 week (5 learning unit) COMM3900 course.  The next image shows our use of the lessons area to create a 'sample unit' for faculty and/or course designers to use as a guide.


    Hope this helps.  Our instance of Sakai is hosted by Longsight with the LAMP Consortium. Our faculty and students login here.

    We have a single course designer that works closely with all of our online course instructors to put approved courses online (at Johnson University - we have a prescriptive process by which courses are vetted and allowed to be offered online).  We have online PHD, Masters, Undergraduate and Associate courses and programs. 

    Something I think that should be considered as part of the build question is the ability to reuse the course build term over term (or every time it's offered).  Prepping a pre-built course for a second, third or successive offering can be tedious depending upon how the Lesson content is structured and laid out.

    I'd be willing to share more screenshots of lessons if it seems helpful.