Course Guide

What Is a Course Guide?

Every TRU-OL course begins with a Course Guide that provides students with information about the course objectives, components, and requirements; and informs them of key responsibilities and resources.

In the past, this part of the course was called the Course Manual and less often a Course Overview. Since most of our courses today are offered online rather than in print, and manual refers to a book or handbook rather than an online format, we decided that guide would better reflect this new reality. As courses are revised or new ones created, guide can be used to describe this part of the course rather than manual or overview.

The standardized Course Guide template was created by the Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL) Course Guide Standardization Committee to provide information about Open Learning courses to students and to help them understand their course; its focus, activities, assessments and overall organization. The course guide also aims to inform students about what help and services are available to them during their studies.

If you would like a Word or PDF copy of the Course Guide Template to work from, please contact Dani Collins at dcollins@tru.ca. 

How to Use This Web Page

In this document, you will find standardized headings and terms, organizational guidelines, TRU-OL policies and information, and specific wording samples. We have included several options for wording, as follows:

  • Normal text: Standard text that must be included in all Course Guides.
  • Red text: Text that is optional. Choose the best option or fill-in the appropriate information.
  • Pink text: Text that is recommended for print courses.
  • Green text: Text that is recommended for MBA courses.

 

Introduction

Welcome to [insert course acronym and number: course title].

This Course Guide contains important information about the course structure, learning materials, and expectations for completing the course requirements. It also provides information about how and when to contact your Open Learning Faculty Member, an expert in the course content, who will guide you through the course. Take some time to read through the Course Guide to familiarize yourself with what you need to do to successfully complete your course.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Open Learning Faculty Member. We hope you enjoy the course.

Course Description

[Insert EPC-approved course description. RemindersRemove “This course contributes 3 (or ?) credits towards a TRU credential” and references to “Blackboard.” Always use the full term for “Open Learning Faculty Member”.]

Prerequisites

[Ensure this information is consistent with the EPC-approved wording in Curricunet.]

Recommended Requisites 

Co-Requisites 

Exclusions 

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Add EPC-approved learning outcomes.
  • Use a bulleted list.
  • Begin each item with a capitalized verb and end with a period.

Course Materials

This section describes the course materials that you will need for [course acronym and new code number].

Required Textbooks

The following [textbook is / textbooks are] required for this course:

[Insert the required textbook or textbooks information in APA style; include ISBN number]

[Add other additional information about acquiring textbooks if needed. For companion or program courses that share a textbook, see below.]  

[Insert textbook name] would have been purchased for [insert companion or related program course code]. If you did not take [insert companion or related program course code] and/or don’t already own the required textbook, please be aware that you will need to purchase it. To do so, please contact Enrolment Services at student@tru.ca or 1.800.663.9711 (toll-free in Canada), 250.852.7000 (Kamloops, BC), and 1.250.852.7000 (International).]

[Note: for courses that share a textbook requirement with companion or related program course, you would refer students to Enrolment Services. For all other courses, students are referred to OLMaterials (located under the Required Online Materials section below).]

Required Case Studies [from Case Centre]

  • <name of case>
  • <name of case>
  • <name of case>

We created a Case Study Course Pack (code C-#####-XXX) through the Case Centre for your convenience. The Course Pack contains all [number of case studies in course pack] required Case Studies for the course assignments.

Please note that the Case Centre is a third-party website. Thompson Rivers University is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of third-party websites; please read the terms of use of the Case Centre carefully prior to registering. You may choose to source your Case Studies from other providers.

[Production will also add reminder prompts in the Assignment areas when the first case study is mentioned.]

Online Materials (Optional; Subject to Availability from the Publisher)

Your textbook may contain an access code card for the textbook publisher’s website. While using the material on this website is optional, you may benefit from the study aids provided.  

Required Online Materials (Subject to Availability from the Publisher)

Your textbook contains an access code card for the textbook publisher’s website. To access the online materials, you will need to register following the instructions listed on the card and on the website. 

Thompson Rivers University is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of third-party websites. Please read the terms of use of third-party websites carefully. If you need help accessing the site, please contact the publisher directly.

Note: If you have questions about course textbooks or other materials, email OLMaterials.

Note: If you have questions about course textbooks or other materials, email olmaterials@tru.ca.

Required Hardware, Software, Computer Skills, and Other Resources

Technical Basics lists the hardware, software, and computer skills requirements for your course.


Print courses are delivered primarily through packages of printed materials that are sent out to students, which may include DVDs, USBs and textbooks. However, some print-based courses include resources that require Internet access. All mandatory resources will be accessible at dial-up modem speeds while any resources that require higher-speed Internet access will be optional unless otherwise noted. 

Check the Technical Basics web page for hardware, software, and computer skills requirements for your course at http://www.tru.ca/distance/services/student-orientation/technical-basics.html.

The other resources that you need for this course [is/are] the following:

  • A computer with Internet access 

Additional Resources

The other [resource/resources] that you need for this course [is/are] the following:

  • [add the required resources] 
  • [Print courses might include MA forms. Check with the CA to confirm.]

Course Topics

[course acronym and number: course title] includes the following [modules, lessons, or units]:

  • [add content specific to the course]

Learning Activities

[Choose the most appropriate description for the course.]

You will study independently at your own pace with the support of an Open Learning Faculty Member. Working through these ungraded activities will help you meet the course learning outcomes and successfully complete your assessments.

[course acronym and number] provides interactive and collaborative activities with other students and your Open Learning Faculty Member, as well as opportunities to apply your learning in relevant real-world contexts. Working through these activities will help you meet the course learning outcomes and successfully complete your assessments.

For this course, you may from time to time use a synchronous (that is, real time) online conferencing tool which will allow participants to gather in an online meeting room. Your Open Learning Faculty Member will provide you with more information about how and when to participate in these conferences, if needed.

[Enter information about the ungraded learning activities in the course; for example: 

Readings

The readings are the core resource for the course, so be sure to read carefully and take notes.

Case Studies

This type of learning, called case-based learning, is included in this course in order to link theory and practice through the use of a “case”. Cases are specific scenarios that resemble or are real-world examples. The case studies are intended to promote both the acquisition of content knowledge, as well as analytic and application skills.

Learning Journal 

You are asked to keep a journal of your experiences through the course to help you reflect on your feelings, thoughts, questions, actions, and lessons learned. These activities are ungraded; however, you may use your learning journal posts as a basis for assessments.

Self-Quiz (Ungraded)

To determine your level of understanding of the course concepts, principles, and practices, you will complete self-assessment quizzes. These quizzes are intended for you to check your understanding of key concepts. The quizzes are not graded and do not count towards your final grade.

Videos

The course includes links to online videos. You may find it valuable to take notes while watching the videos to refer to when completing assignments and when reviewing for the Final Exam.

Key Terminology Lists

Record and define key words and phrases used in this course in your learning journal. You might need to look up the terms in your textbook’s glossary or online.

Student Café

An informal discussion space called the Student Café has been set up for you to communicate easily with other learners in the course about matters of mutual interest regarding your studies and professional development. This is an informal gathering area to help build a learning community, and you will not be graded on these postings.

Read Online Discussions for information about discussion guidelines and etiquette.

[Editors: Student Cafe is only available to SW and Online students. Add a note to Production to set up this discussion space before the official course discussion topics.]

Assessments

[Option 1: standard passing grade text]

To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory [Final Exam or Final Project]. The following table shows how your final grade will be determined for this course.

[Option 2: specific programs grade requirements text]

To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of [??%] or higher on the overall course and [??%] or higher on the mandatory [Final Exam or Final Project]. The following table shows how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assessment Value
Assignment 1: Research Essay ? %
Assignment 2: Case Study ? %
Quiz 1 ? %
Quiz 2 ? %
Mandatory Final Exam/Final Project ? %
Total 100%

Assignments (??%)

Non-completion of an assignment will result in a mark of zero for that assignment.

[insert short description of each assignment]

As soon as you have completed an assignment, save your document and send it to your Open Learning Faculty Member for marking. Attach your assignment to an email which has your name, course, and assignment number in the subject line.

Alternatively, if you do not have access to email, you can mail a printed copy of your assignment to your Open Learning Faculty Member with a completed Marked Assignment (MA) form.

[Editors: Confirm with the CA if the print course materials include MA forms and list them in the CG if needed. Note: there is no “Major Final Project”, only “Final Project”  or “Mandatory Final Exam.”]

Note: Always keep a copy of each assignment you submit so that you have a copy to refer to in the event of a telephone or email conference with your Open Learning Faculty Member.

Quizzes (??%)

[Option 1: multiple quizzes]

To determine your level of understanding of the course concepts, principles, and practices, you will complete [insert appropriate number of quizzes and module numbers]. For each quiz, you are allowed [insert time] minutes to make one attempt at completion. [Option: If each quiz is a different length and time, describe the appropriate details.] Take time to prepare before starting, since you will not have time to look up your answers. Each quiz is worth [??%] of your total course grade. [Option: If each quiz has a different value, describe the appropriate details.]

 [Option 2: single quiz]

To determine your level of understanding of the course concepts, principles, and practices, you will complete a quiz at the end of module [insert number]. You are allowed [insert time] minutes to make [one] attempt at completion. Take time to prepare before starting, since you will not have time to look up your answers. This quiz is worth [??%] of your total course grade.

[insert short description of the quiz format]

[Print courses may require instructions to contact the OLFM to get the quiz form.]

Final Exam (??%)

Your mandatory, invigilated final exam is [insert number] hours in length. [Add details.]

You are responsible for ensuring that Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning receives your exam application by the deadline. Check the OL Exam Schedule to confirm exam dates and application deadlines. Choose a session that is prior to your course completion date, and apply prior to the exam application deadline. If you have questions, email the OL Exams Department.

Final Project (??%)

The final assessment in this course is a Final Project that you will complete and send to your Open Learning Faculty Member for grading after you complete your final assignment.

In [Unit/Module ??] you will submit a project proposal to your Open Learning Faculty Member, who will provide feedback.

Grading Scale

The official grading scales for all Open Learning courses are noted in TRU’s Grading Systems and Procedures.

For detailed information, go to http://www.tru.ca/distance/services/policies/newgrading.html.

Academic Integrity

Appropriate academic conduct requires that you complete your [assignments / assessments] independently, honestly, and without misrepresentation or plagiarism. Typically, plagiarism occurs in three forms: when a writer uses someone’s exact words or ideas as if they were her/his own, paraphrases someone’s ideas without acknowledgement or identifying the source, or simply does not include the proper citations.

Be sure to cite all sources of direct quotations and borrowed ideas. If you do not, you could fail your assignments and, potentially, the course.

Each [assignment / assessment] is viewed individually for academic integrity. Please be aware, should you choose to submit multiple [assignments / assessments] at the same time and if an academic integrity violation is discovered in more than one of those assignments, that each assignment submission will be viewed as a separate offence and sanctions will be applied accordingly.

Note: Citing facts, statistics, or other illustrative materials deemed to be common knowledge is not considered to be plagiarism.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully familiar with the “Forms of Academic Dishonesty” section of the TRU Student Academic Integrity Policy.

TRU Library also provides the valuable Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It resource.

Be sure to cite the sources you use in assessments and discussions. Check with your Open Learning Faculty Member to see which style to use. TRU Library’s Citation Style Guides is an excellent resource for writing academic citations.

Suggested Schedule 

You have 30 weeks to complete this course. The following schedule indicates how you can complete your course in [??] weeks, the time normally available for a traditional semester-long university class.

You may benefit from filling-in your intended completion dates and printing this schedule to post around your home or workplace. 

[insert as Word or Excel table or graphic]

Help Available

The following sections describe the support that is available to you throughout this course.

Open Learning Faculty Member

Your Open Learning Faculty Member will guide your learning in this course, mark and comment on your assignments, and provide you with whatever assistance you need with your coursework. You are encouraged to contact your Open Learning Faculty Member early and often; for example, when:

  • You wish to discuss any ideas about the course content.
  • You do not understand some aspect of the course instructions or assessments.
  • You have difficulty with any of the assigned readings.
  • You have a question or a problem arising from your Open Learning Faculty Member’s comments or grading of your assessments.

TRU Library

TRU Library provides you with access to online, print, and audiovisual resources to successfully complete your assignments and for further reading on any topic discussed in this course.

The Distance, Regional, and Open Learning (DROL) services include the direct delivery of library materials at no cost to you and one-on-one research assistance.

Use the Discover search box to search for the library’s resources. You will be prompted to log-in using your TRU network account. You may need to change the default password to your network account before you will be able to access the library’s resources. See Student Network Account for information.

You can request assistance by email or phone 250-852-6402 (Kamloops, BC) or 1-800-663-1699 (toll-free in Canada).

Thompson Rivers University Library provides you with access to online, print, and audiovisual resources to successfully complete your assignments and for further reading on any topic discussed in this course.

TRU Library’s Distance, Regional, and Open Learning (DROL) library services provide specialized services that you can use at a distance, including the direct delivery of library materials at no cost to you and one-on-one research assistance. You can request assistance and order library materials by online form, email, phone, or fax. For more information about TRU Library’s policies and services for TRU-OL students, visit the DROL website at http://www.tru.ca/library/services/distance.html.

To search the library’s resources, go to http://www.tru.ca/library.html. If you are looking for information on which subject-specific resources (e.g., databases) to use, check out the “Research Guides” tab on the library home page. For a general introduction on how to find and use library resources, visit the “Library Research 101: Doing Research at a Distance” guide at http://libguides.tru.ca/distance. When you are searching the library’s resources, you will be prompted to login to the library’s licensed databases using your TRU network account. You will need to change the default password to your network account before it will be able to access the library’s resources. For more information about changing your network password, go to: www.tru.ca/its/students/networkaccounts.html.

If you have any questions regarding the resources or DROL services, go to www.tru.ca/library/services/distance.html or contact the library by email at library@tru.ca or by phone at 1-800-663-1699 (toll free in Canada) or 250-852-6402 (Kamloops, BC).

Writing Centre 

The Writing Centre can help you with feedback on your writing. You can request help with any stage of the writing process, including: understanding assignment requirements; tips on brainstorming and idea generation; feedback on organization, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation; resources for academic citations and avoiding plagiarism; and strategies for effective revision. You may ask for help with a specific writing problem or for general feedback. Open Learning students can get support online or in person on TRU’s Kamloops campus.

[Print]

The Writing Centre can help you with feedback on your writing. You can request help with any stage of the writing process, including: understanding assignment requirements; tips on brainstorming and idea generation; feedback on organization, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation; resources for academic citations and avoiding plagiarism; and strategies for effective revision. You may ask for help with a specific writing problem or for general feedback.

Open Learning students can get support online at https://www.tru.ca/writingcentre/Open_Learning_Writing_Centre_Support.html or in-person on TRU’s Kamloops campus.

Math Help Centre

[FYI: Math Help Centre only supports courses from the Faculty of Science – Dani confirmed with Faculty of Science that Math Help Centre is open to all students – 12 Feb 2020.]

The Math Help Centre is a free service for TRU students. Face-to-face help is available on TRU’s Kamloops campus.

Note: Check the hours of operation before visiting.

[Print]

The Math Help Centre is a free service for TRU students. Face-to-face help is available on TRU’s Kamloops campus. Check the Math Centre’s website for more information at https://www.tru.ca/science/programs/math/math_help_centre.html.

Note: Check the hours of operation before visiting.

Technical Support

If you have problems using the tools or features of the course website, check the Technical Basics web page to see if you are using the correct hardware and software required for your course. If you still experience problems, go to the IT Service Desk.

For help, email the IT Service Desk or call 1-888-852-8533 (toll-free in Canada), 250-852-6800 (Kamloops, BC), and 1-250-852-6800 (International).

If you have problems accessing the optional, online course resources or have other related questions, phone the IT Service Desk at 1-888-852-8533 (toll-free in Canada), 250-852-6800 (Kamloops, BC), and 1-250-852-6800 (International), or email ITServiceDesk@tru.ca. 

Strategies for Success 

[This is optional content. ]

In many ways, taking a course through distance education is different from learning in a face-to-face classroom. For example, distance education often requires a high level of independent learning and uses of a variety of digital communication technologies. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the Open Learning student Orientation page, the following sections provide suggestions that can assist your progress through the course.

Preview the Course Materials and Resources

After you have read this Course Guide, review the other course materials so you know what is expected of you and can plan your coursework time effectively.

Review the Learning Outcomes

As you work through the course, review the learning outcomes to ensure that you have achieved them. If you feel unsure about your ability to meet any of these outcomes, review the relevant study material and consult your Open Learning Faculty Member.

Read, View, and Listen Actively and Critically

As you read, keep a pen or electronic note-taking device or software handy. If you make careful notes on key ideas and write down the page numbers of essential passages, you can save yourself hours of searching for references when you complete your assessments. Your notes will also be useful when you prepare for assessments.

While reading, develop your evaluation skills by asking yourself questions about the content. Are the author’s arguments logical? Is the evidence valid? Do you agree with an argument? What are the alternatives to the author’s point of view? Your answers to these questions will help you to develop informed opinions about your readings.

Complete All Learning Activities

Activities provide you with opportunities to explore topics related to your course materials. Although these activities are ungraded, they are designed to help you build the skills you need to successfully complete your assessments.

Appreciate the Diversity of Your Community of Learners

In an online learning environment, it should be assumed that other  learners are from a diverse range of ages, cultural backgrounds, and geographical home communities. Diversity and the variety of individual perspectives of other students can provide you with many valuable learning experiences. Since, by definition, diversity includes difference, it is important for all participants in learning communities to be open to considering others’ perspectives, values, and positions while maintaining courteous and respectful communication. This does not mean you must always agree, but part of academic discourse is considering and engaging with opposing viewpoints and perspectives. 

Situate the Learning in Your Life and Community

Find a time to work on the course that fits with your life. Don’t change your entire lifestyle or regular schedule for the course, as you are more likely to succeed if you find a time to work on the course that fits easily into your day-to-day life. It may be helpful to share what you are learning with others, and consider how your learning complements your life, work, community, and culture.

Set Goals and Follow a Schedule

Complete the learning activities and assessments in a structured, timely manner. Leaving too much time between study sessions can slow your learning, as you may not remember the details of the previous sections and will need to go back and relearn key concepts and details.

Alternatively, don’t try to do too much at once. You will retain more information if you do the work steadily. Set goals and follow a schedule; post your schedule somewhere in your home or work space so you will be reminded of important deadlines.

Check the Grading Criteria

Most assignments provide rubrics or grading criteria. Review this criteria while completing your assessments so you can better understand how your work will be evaluated.  

Curriculum Developer

[optional: insert pic]

[insert short bio]

[Update credentials using tru.ca or LinkedIn. List degree acronyms without periods. List degrees from most recent to oldest. We include only the terminal degree in the list of course developers, but can list everything in the bio if desired or needed.]

Curriculum Consultant

[optional: insert pic]

 [insert short bio]

[Update credentials using tru.ca or LinkedIn. List degree acronyms without periods. List degrees from most recent to oldest. See also the Copyright Page tab.]

Copyright & Credits

Copyright © 2017 (Revised), 2008 (Revised), 2003 Thompson Rivers University. All rights reserved.  [Use for maintenance revisions.]

Copyright © 2017, 2008 (Revised), 2003 Thompson Rivers University. All rights reserved.  [Use for ID-led major revisions.]

The content of this course material is the property of Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and is protected by copyright law worldwide. This material may be used by students enrolled at TRU for personal study purposes only. No part of this work may be forwarded or reproduced in any form by any means without permission in writing from the Intellectual Property Office, Thompson Rivers University, copyright@tru.ca.

TRU seeks to ensure that any course content that is owned by others has been appropriately cleared for use in this course. Anyone wishing to make additional use of such third party material must obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

[Include specific copyright credits here, if applicable; e.g., permission from textbook publisher to use instructor guide questions.]

Note: the course development team style has changed (May 2018):

  • You may need to verify the academic credentials using tru.ca or LinkedIn. On this site, see Course Developer Credentials for a list accurate to May 2018. This list is constantly being updated, and it will be maintained in the future by Danielle Collins at her page on one.tru.ca.
  • List the people as first name and last name, academic degree.
  • Do not use periods between letters in degree acronyms.
  • Include the person’s terminal or highest credential only. 
  • Group the list by years of editions and revisions. Include the year in the heading.
  • Order the groups in reverse chronological order; i.e., most recent is at the top and earliest is at the bottom of the page.

Course Development Team 2018
Course Writer: Name, PhD
Instructional Designer: Name, MA
Editor: Name, BA
Associate Dean, […]Name, PhD
Program Coordinator, […]: Name, MA

Course Revision Team 2014
Course Reviser: Name, PhD
Course Editor: Name, MA
Associate Dean, […]Name, PhD  [include only if different from who is listed above]

Course Development Team 2010
Course Writer: Name, PhD
Instructional Designer: Name, MA
Course Editor: Name, BA

[Check to make sure the course has the new address.]

Thompson Rivers University
805 TRU Way
Kamloops, BC V2C 0C8

Standard Headings

Introduction [h1]

Course Description [h2]

Prerequisites

Recommended Requisites 

Co-Requisites 

Exclusion Requisites 

Learning Outcomes 

[Should match information in Curricunet: knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be gained from the course]

Course Materials

Required Textbooks [or study guide/companion website for text/cases/simulations]

Required Hardware, Software, Computer Skills, and Other Resources

Additional Resources

Course Topics

[organized by weeks, topics, modules, or units]

Learning Activities

[Ungraded course activities, i.e., students do not submit this work to an Open Learning Faculty Member for marking.]

Student Café

Assessments

[Graded assignments, quizzes, examinations/final project, online discussions]

Grading Scale

Academic Integrity

Help Available

Open Learning Faculty Member 

TRU Library 

Writing Centre

Math & Stats Help Centre

Technical Support

Curriculum Developer

Curriculum Consultant

Copyright & Credits

[For the Print option, locate the copyright page at front of document; for Standard Web and Online, locate the copyright page at end of document.]

[This is the end of standard text and sections to be included in the Course Guide. Following are optional sections that can be included in the Course Guide if needed.]

Suggested Schedule  [Put after Assessments]

Strategies for Success [Optional; Put after Help Available]

Preview the Course Materials and Resources

Review the Learning Outcomes 

Read, View, and Listen Actively and Critically

Complete all Learning Activities 

Appreciate the Diversity of Your Community of Learners

Situate the Learning in Your Life and Community

Set Goals and Follow a Schedule

Check the Grading Criteria

What Is a Journal? [Optional; Put with Learning Activities]