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CU Online Course Template

Template Information for Instructors

The CU Course Template was developed by the Learning Technology Center (LTC) to assist faculty in developing a quality online or on-campus course site in D2L. Based on nationally recognized quality standards, the template is designed to meet Quality Matters (QM) and web page accessibility standards. It also provides PennWest Clarion students with an easily navigable, student-friendly structure, and does not limit your content or how you choose to deliver it.

CU Online Template Request Form

Why Use a Template?

The course template in D2L provides students with a standardized experience about where to easily find information from course to course. It doesn't mean that every course is identical, but that key features are consistently used. Consistency is a crucial characteristic of effective online course design.

Template Features

Many features have been built-in to the template. Time-saving features such as:

  • Consistent, logical course structure to facilitate navigation for the student
  • Web accessibility standards, including:
    • Consistent formatting for headings (H3, H2, H1)
    • Consistent accessible font - Arial, Size 3 (12 point)
    • Web accessible colors - Accent blue (#006fbf)
    • Tables with column and row headers for screen readers
  • Customizable, pre-formatted "Welcome" announcement
  • Replacement  strings where applicable (identifies the student by name)
  • Standard university syllabus template (pdf and html versions)
  • Incorporates or provides placeholders to meet many of the QM standards


The following modules (in bold) are included in the CU Course Template:

  • START HERE with important student information including:
    • Introduction to the course structure
    • Important links to university resources such as student support services, as well as accessibility statements and privacy policies for course technologies
    • Tips for Online Learning
    • Etiquette for online communication
    • Activities to guide students through important aspects of the Learning Environment and tasks such as: setting up course notifications, updating their personal settings, reading the syllabus and getting to know their instructor, finding the class progress tool and posting to the meet your classmates discussion forum. 
  • Faculty Information
    • Meet Your Instructor page (customizable)
    • Contact Information and Virtual Office hours (customizable)
  • Course Information
    • Syllabus (customizable)
    • Schedule and Assignments (customizable)
  • Course Communication
    • Course communication protocol, discussions, course notifications, assignment and quiz grading expectations, link to faculty contact information (customizable areas)
    • Link to Course Questions discussion area
  • Weeks 1-15 (set to draft)
    • A customizable weekly course structure based upon the Quality Matters Rubric. Within each of the pages is a description and an example of how  each module may be constructed. Each consists of the following editable components (Watch 'Using the D2L HTML Editor': Video, 4 min.)
      • Overview (customizable) - provide students with an introduction to the weekly topics, related learning outcomes, questions to ponder. In addition, a table that highlights the relationship between course-level and module-level outcomes, instructional activities, and assignments/assessments.
      • Learning Materials (customizable) - contains all the learning resources and non-graded activities
      • Assignments (customizable) - Details and/or listing of all the graded assignments due that week

How to use this template

  • Begin by familiarizing yourself with the various modules and pre-populated information.
  • Note areas in Brackets. Anything in brackets needs deleted and customized with YOUR course content and information. Be sure to update the green text to black.
  • Use the drop-down arrow associated with each page and select 'Edit HTML' to customize.
  • Additional pages can easily be created using the pre-made 'CU_template_blank' file to keep content design consistent and accessible. See (directions)

Copying and Importing Previous course content

Although not recommended, you can still copy your previous course content into the new template design. However, the D2L course site will have both the new template modules AND your previous course structure. IMPORTANT: If any of the files are named identical, there is a chance of overwriting files. Keep in mind that your original will still be in the previous course site if this does happen.

It is highly recommended that instructors review any previous course content and manually move it into the new template format.

Have questions or need assistance?

Contact the Learning Technology Center (G13 Still Hall) at x1848.

Last Updated 8/19/22