Online Course Guides

(such as SubjectsPlus and LibGuides)

Why should you create one?

Online Course Guides are an excellent way to make information available to students after you have taught a session or in place of in-person instruction.

They allow you to:

  • Eliminate paper handouts
  • Create online finding aids or pathfinders (often in the form of screenshots) for a particular topic.
  • Link to resources so that students can work on online activities during the session.
  • Provide links to other pages and resources that students might find useful, such as other guides or databases.
  • Create information which can be easily repurposed in future scenarios.

What are some design tips?

  • Be as succinct as possible when writing for the Web.
  • Do not create “link farms”, i.e. pages that consist of long lists of links. Thoughtfully select and highlight only resources that your audience will find most helpful for the assignment they are engaged with currently. You may update the page when they have moved onto a new assignment. Long lists of links are overwhelming and will not be used by students.  
  • Create screenshots. The purpose of creating screencasts and screenshots is to walk your audience through a difficult to navigate tool. Screencasts can be created using Screenjelly, Camtasia or Adobe Captivate and screenshots can be created with Jing or SnagIt.
  • When listing resources, do not list by format (i.e. dictionaries, article databases), rather, organize your resources by information need (i.e. company profiles, scholarly journal articles)
  • When possible, rely on electronic resources rather than print sources since students will be looking for links rather than physical book locations
  • List resources by importance, not alphabetically