What Goes Into an Exemplary Course

Here are five elements that make up exemplary courses at Ball State.


Objectives are the heart of the online course, and all course elements are designed to help students achieve the objectives.

  • Include course-level and module-level objectives.
  • Objectives are measurable, precise, and clear.
  • Objectives are connected to materials, activities, and assessments.


Effective online courses give students opportunities to actively engage with the content, with each other, and with the instructor.

  • Build community of learners and foster collaboration.
  • Schedule frequent opportunities for interaction.
  • Use active learning tools, such as discussion boards and groups.


The teacher is an integral part of making an online course come to life. They’re available to their students and facilitate communication.

  • Welcome students to the course.
  • Facilitate and participate in discussion boards.
  • Hold student hours.
  • Provide timely and meaningful feedback.


Online courses are designed with student success at the foundation of the course.

  • Point students to resources that support them.
  • Communicate with students who need help.
  • Design flexible and inclusive course policies that promote student success.


Online courses offer an opportunity for all learners to engage on their own terms, and exemplary online courses are designed to be accessible and usable by all.

  • Create predictable, stable structures that are easy to navigate.
  • Organize course content logically and consistently.
  • Provide instructions for students on how to navigate the course.
  • Include accessible design elements, such as alt text and OCR.
  • Eva Grouling Snider

    Eva joined the Division of Online and Strategic Learning in 2021. Previously, she taught professional writing courses in the English Department, including graphic design and web development. She launched Jacket Copy Creative (now known as Compass Creative), an immersive learning course in which students helped market the English Department (and now the entire College of Sciences and Humanities). She also served as a director of advertising at a social media advertising agency in Muncie. Her interests include UDL, digital accessibility, and design. She’s often busy “hacking” Canvas to do cool things.