Module organization and due dates

module workflow and organization

Online education offers learners unprecedented flexibility and accessibility, and educators face the challenge of optimizing the learning experience for their students. Aspects that positively impact the effectiveness of online courses are module organization and regular activities with due dates. Carefully structured courses contribute to engaging and successful learning environments for students.

Missouri online recommends

Missouri Online recommends that each module/unit contain activities with due dates (see item #45 in the 5 Pillars Quality Course Review form).

How and why to organize modules

Modules should be organized by units that include all the course components students need, including content and activities such as discussions, quizzes, and assignments (Berlin & Weavera, 2022). The structure of an online course must be easy to navigate and effective in helping students stay engaged and persistent in their learning.

Think about the goals of your course and how that might affect its structure. Modules should have learning objectives that align with the course-level learning outcomes, as online course offerings should be comparable in rigor to on-ground campus traditional formats. Missouri Online offers guidance for structuring courses with example module layouts, recommendations for organizing the course navigation menu, and the self-paced mini-course Sprint 1.A: Information Architecture: Using Canvas Effectively is a Course to guide instructors through the nuances of Canvas's structural design.

Well-organized modules provide a clear and logical structure to the course by breaking down the content into manageable units. Modules serve as building blocks that guide students through the learning journey. This clarity aids students in understanding the progression of the course. Each module can represent a specific topic or learning objective, allowing learners to focus on mastering one concept before moving on to the next. This sequential progression enhances comprehension and retention, fostering a more effective learning experience (Fischer et al., 2022).

Canvas tutorial: How to create and manage modules

How and why to create due dates

Due dates serve as communication tools for instructors to inform students about upcoming deadlines. Having a calendar of activities each week clarifies expectations and creates a sense of accountability for students. Regular and consistent due dates help students manage their time effectively and provide frequent opportunities for instructors to assess student learning and provide feedback. Students are more likely to prioritize their work each week when they have regular deadlines to meet. Consistency ensures students can plan their study routines and stay organized in their online courses (Martin, 2022). These practices also help to deter procrastination from students.

In Canvas, due dates can be created for all assignments to help keep students on track. Instructors can conveniently bulk update due dates in one place and set up availability dates as well as due dates. Due dates can also be differentiated for individual students, sections, or groups. A course summary at the bottom of the syllabus page is automatically generated based on assignment due dates and other events that instructors add directly to the course calendar. Students can view and access assignments through the calendar for all of their courses, providing students with a way to allocate time for multiple courses.


The organization of modules and due dates in online courses influences the overall success of the learning experience. A well-structured course with clearly defined expectations provides a roadmap for learners, enhances engagement, facilitates effective time management, and supports continuous improvement through assessment and feedback. As the landscape of online education continues to evolve, carefully designed modules and regular due dates will remain fundamental to delivering quality online learning experiences.


Berlin, K., & Weavera, K. V. (2022). Teaching Strategies Students Find Helpful in Online Learning Courses. College Teaching, 70(3), 319–327.

Fischer, C., McPartlan, P., Orona, G. A., Yu, R., Xu, D., & Warschauer, M. (2022). Salient syllabi: Examining design characteristics of science online courses in higher education. PLoS ONE, 17(11), 1–20.

Martin, F. (2022). Systemic implications for research and practice in online education: A focus on learner, course and instructor, and organizational levels.Distance Education, 43(2), 325–332.

Created on: March 19, 2024