Tips for planning your course
Before you start creating your Course content, you should have a solid grasp of the following concepts so you are able to build up courses in a reliable fashion.
Plan your Course
Before you start writing actual content it is well worth planning the scope of your Course.
- A Course is a collection of Modules
- A Module is a collection of Units
- A Unit is a Codio project
The first thing to think about is the size of your Unit. It does not make too much sense to make a Unit too small with just 1 or 2 sections. On the other hand, having a Unit with 40 or 50 sections could be large and unwieldy. Think about your audience when determining this. If it is aimed at beginners or kids, then you should think of a Unit as something that can be completed in a single lesson or two, or maybe an hour or two. For more advanced students a Unit can happily cover a complete logical topic.
Course & Module Planning
We recommend creating a document that clearly breaks down the Modules and each Module’s Units. This gives you a nice framework to begin with. Once you start, you may well find you want to change your mind, but having a framework as a reference really helps.
As you progress with your Units, keep the document up to date as you make changes. If you are collaborating with others on the content creation process you will find this document is a useful focal point for the team.
Don’t make sections too long
Again, this depends on your intended audience but try to keep each section reasonably brief. If the topic is a long one, you may want to break it up into several sections. This prevents lots of scrolling and allows students to digest information in manageable chunks.
Think about Chapters
We strongly recommend you take advantage of this feature. Chapters serve two purposes …
- They break the content down visually in the section list (table of contents)
- They allow to students to reset their content to its original state if they have mangled the code through experimentation and want to restore it. Click here for details.
Use the Hidden Folder feature
Your content will often want to show code samples. Codio’s recommended approach is to put each set of code samples into a dedicated folder. Then, using the page settings, you can specify this folder with the consequence that all non-specified folders are hidden from view in the file tree (if you choose to show it).
The benefit of hiding folders is that the student is not distracted by folders and files that are not relevant to the topic you are explaining.
Click here for more details on folder hiding.
Codio offers a range of assessment types that let you create tests in one of two ways
- Woven into your tutorial content at strategic points.
- Create a Unit with a lot of assessments that can be used as end of topic or term/semester exams, especially useful in class scnearios.
When used as a part of tutorial content, assessments are a very important way of giving students challenges and excercises that help internalize what they have been learning. We recommend that you make heavy use of assessments.
When used in a class situation, assessments are extremely helpful to the teacher as all assessment results are fed automatically through to the teacher class dashboard, allowing them to monitor students’ progress across a Course.
Many of Codio’s assessment types (code tests, multiple choice questions, text, fill in the blank and list-based) are auto marked, saving teachers considerable amounts of time and also giving students instant feedback on the correct answers.
Click here for more on creating assessments.
The Guide editor lets you create different panel layouts for your tutorial content and the layout can change from section to section.
Click here for more information on panel layouts.
There are some things that are a bit tricky when writing your content. Being aware of these will help avoid frustration and speed up productivity.
Authoring with the filetreee
In the early stages of development, show the filetree in your layout settings even if you don’t want to have it in your final version. If you don’t you will find that the switching between edit and play mode causes the panels to shift and you will need to reset manually when resuming editing, which can be frustrating. The best thing is to use the filetree until you are close to publishing your content, then remove the filetree.
Use the Previous panel layout setting
As mentioned above, when authoring content it makes sense to always leave the file tree visible until you are ready to test the final layout. The easiest approach is to only set the panel layout setting on the first page (or as few pages as strictly needed). The ‘Previous’ layout setting simple uses the layout setting that was used on the previous page, so you only need to make this change once rather than on all pages.
Testing Restore current files
The Restore current files feature is a great way for students to reset any section to its initial state after hacking sample code around. Currently, it is not possible for the author to use this feature as it only works when it is used by a Student within a Class.