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Teaching Online
Home » Faculty/Staff » Teaching Online » Organization



  • Group by whatever makes sense for your material: by week, by topic unit, by module - most teachers choose weekly modules
  • Separate and group assignments, assessments, activities, etc. into small chunks
  • Shorter chunks work better than longer chunks (breaking longer assignments into shorter chunks helps students with time-management)
  • Account for the difficulty of the material and length of assignments
  • Some prefer giving the same type of assignments each week (discussion, paper, test), while others like a greater variation in types of assignments each week


  • Create a calendar with dates for each chunk and due dates for all assignments -  this can be done within the Canvas calendar
  • Don't forget to account for holidays and Spring break
  • Progression 1:
    • some prefer that all content in the entire course be available at the start so students can plan ahead
    • some prefer making only current material available to make the workload seem less overwhelming
  • Progression 2:
    • some prefer a system where assignments within each chunk can be completed in any order
    • some prefer "adaptive release" where certain assignments must be completed before the next
  • Progression 3:
    • few have tried a "non-building" approach where any work in the course can be completed in any order (but this would depend on the course content and purpose - and see difficulties below)
  • All due dates should be finalized and posted in your course syllabus on the first day of class (any late changes should have an accompanying announcement)


  • Specify exact due dates/deadlines
  • Make assignments unavailable after the deadline (unless you allow for late work)
  • Include multiple midweek/mid-module deadlines (or reminders) to help with students' time-management
  • Remind students to work regularly in your announcements - not only about weekly assignment deadlines, but also non-assignment tasks like reading, working on longer projects, studying for exams, etc.
  • Some have included no deadlines and have allowed students to work through the entire course without any date constraints (except for the end of the course) - this is a self-paced approach (but here the class is out-of-synch with each other, especially in discussions, and this makes it difficult for the instructor to track and grade students)
  • Establish clear policies and penalties for late work



Last Updated: 01/25/2019
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District