Evaluation Criteria for Online Course Design

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CDL Course Evaluation Tool

Aesthetic Design

  1. Color and texture do not overpower the course information.
  2. Sufficient contrast between text and background makes information easy to read.
  3. Images are used in course design to support content.
  4. Typeface is easy to read.
  5. Universal accessibility for disabled students.
    1. Images are accompanied by text descriptions
    2. Videos and screencasts are closed-captioned.
    3. Audio materials (mp3, wav, etc.) are accompanied by a transcript.


  1. Syllabus is easily located and viewable within the LMS.
  2. Instructor contact information is available.
  3. Course is well-organized and easy to navigate.
    1. Course materials are set in organized modules with lessons explicitly identified.
  4. Directions are clear and easy to understand for tasks/assignments.
  5. Assignments are clearly stated and accessible.

Effective use of Technology

  1. Course makes sufficient use of some of the following online instructional tools*:
    1. Announcements
    2. Email
    3. Calendar
    4. Gradebook
    5. Quiz tool
    6. Graphics/Images
    7. Social media tools (such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr)
    8. Blogs
    9. Chat
    10. Journals
    11. Wikis
  2. Course materials are presented using appropriate formats compatible across computer platforms.
  3. Presentations are accessible within the LMS.
  4. Appropriate tools to facilitate communication and interaction are used, such as Discussion Boards, etc.

*IMPORTANT – Online course syllabi need to reflect a course requirement for some form of student-student, student-faculty, and faculty-student interaction throughout the semester.  Specifically, it should support regular and substantive interaction between the students and instructor where the instructors initiate discussions with students.  This requirement normally will take the form of weekly discussion board forums, but can be replaced by another asynchronous and synchronous tool.