Primer for Teaching Online
4. “Chunk” Your Content
Placing content onto a web page requires more thought than a simple cut and paste from a word processor. Effective use of webpage space requires that you divide your content into logical units, or chunks, based on your established course goals. You may want to break down your content into weekly , chapter , or unit chunks. It may assist you by thinking of how a textbook is divided into chapters, with summary activities and review questions at the end of each chapter.
Subdivide the Material
The next step is to subdivide your unit content into smaller chunks of material that will fit onto a single course page. It is important to subdivide your content into manageable chunks for several reasons:
- Subdivided content pages load more quickly than a single massive page of content, particularly if your content pages includes graphics or media.
- Subdivided content pages are much easier to read. Students find it easier to review previously read material when they can navigate by page rather than scrolling through one large document.
- Subdivided content pages are easier to edit for the instructor. Instead of scrolling through one, long document, it is easier to track and review smaller content pages.
Additional Resources: Chunking
- 10 Tips on Writing for the Living Web
- Chunking Information
- How Much Content: Are We Asking the Wrong Question?
How Much is Too Much?
The amount of material placed onto a single page will vary, but typically speaking you want no more that three to four paragraphs . Each page should include at least one learning point, and may include more or less depending on the size and significance of the learning points and the amount of supplemental information.
Make It Interactive
Utilize the benefits of HTML to add interactive and graphical elements to your pages. You can add a dynamic element to your course by incorporating website links that take students to ancillary materials. This is an excellent way of keeping your material fresh and your students aware of current developments. Sites that you can link to would depend on your discipline but may include online journals, news sites, virtual museums, and online labs.