10 Ways to Design Tasks in CN
The CN Tasks tool is available to instructors and students in each course site. It is an essential teaching and learning tool in CN, helping instructors effectively build course structure and giving students step-by-step online learning instructions. The unique design of the Tasks tool provides instructors with great flexibility in designing learning tasks based on their instructional needs.
This file demonstrates 10 ways of designing the CN Tasks tool. Some of them follow common practices for organizing course content (Designs 1‐8), one follows specific instructional design/learning models (Design 9), and the last one demonstrates how to implement task tabs in more creative ways (Design 10).
The ways for designing Tasks in CN are not limited. We hope this file will give you some new ideas and assist you to successfully create tasks to achieve your teaching goals.
Design 1: Organizing tasks based on modules
If your course consists of well-distinguished modules, you can organize your task tabs based on modules. Organizing tasks based on modules will give students a clear idea of the structure and format of your course.
Please note: by default, only 3 tasks are displayed on the left task list. For example, if you select the first task (in this screenshot, it is “Welcome”) as the default display task, this task and two tasks (in this screenshot, they are Module1 and Module2) underneath it are displayed. To see all created tasks, you need to click the“…Show All” to expand the list. In order to better help you gain task design ideas, all the screenshots in this document are showing the whole list view of tasks.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Modules” to better represent this design.
If you prefer laying out task tabs horizontally, you can create each module as a subtask and name the main task to Modules. See screenshot below. The advantage of this horizontal layout design is that it displays all task tabs right in front of students. However, if you take this design, you will not be able to include second level tasks under each module.
Design 2: Organizing tasks based on lessons
If there are a series of lessons in your course, you can design tasks based on lessons.
Organizing course tasks based on lessons will provide a clear structure to the course. In addition, since many textbooks are outlined based on lessons, organizing tasks based on lessons will
keep the course structure consistent with the textbook layout.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Lessons” to better represent this design.
Design 3: Organizing tasks based on learning topics
If your course has well-defined learning topics, you can name task tabs after learning topics. Organizing tasks based on learning topics will allow students to track different learning content covered in the course.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Learning Topics” to better represent this design.
Design 4: Organizing tasks based on weeks
If you are teaching a course that lasts several weeks, and each week contains well-defined tasks for students to complete, you can structure your course by weeks. Organizing tasks based on weeks will help students keep up with course pace and learn in a continuous manner.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Weekly Plan” or “Class Weeks” to better represent this design.
Design 5: Organizing tasks based on class days
If you meet students in the classroom or online on a regular basis, and you plan to give them tasks before and/or after each class, you may consider creating task tabs based on class days. Organizing tasks based on class days will keep students on track with details of the course and be prepared for each class. If you want to try a flipped classroom1 approach, organizing tasks based on class days will be a good choice.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Class Days” or “Class Calendar” to better represent this design.
Flipped Classroom: students learn knowledge on their own before each class, and review the knowledge, ask instructors questions and practice to apply knowledge to solve real life problems in class.
Design 6: Organizing tasks based on due dates
If your course contains a series of assignments and you are strict about deadlines, you may consider having each due date as a task tab. Organizing task tabs based on due dates will prevent students from missing deadlines, and ensure the quality of deliverables with step‐by-step timelines.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Due Dates” to better represent this design.
Design 7: Organizing tasks based on learning objectives
If you have clearly identified learning objectives for students to accomplish, you may consider structuring your course based on achievement of these learning objectives. Organizing tasks based on learning objectives will make students aware of course expectations and systematically develop different levels of capabilities. The example presented below was created based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Learning Objectives” to better represent this design.
Design 8: Organizing tasks based on assignments
If you plan to give students several assignments and step-by-step guidelines for accomplishing these assignments, you may consider putting these assignments into task tabs. Organizing tasks based on assignments will keep students on track with what they are expected to deliver and ensure the quality of submissions.
You can rename the “Tasks” tab to “Assignments” to better represent this design.
Design 9: Organizing tasks based on specific learning models
If you designed your course based on a specific learning model, you may consider representing this model in tasks. Organizing tasks based on specific learning models is an advanced approach of applying the Tasks tool. It enables you to guide students in a more theoretical and systematic way. The example presented below was created based on Curtis J. Bonk’s R2D2 Model2. R2D2 represents Reading, Reflecting, Displaying and Doing. Instructors who are applying this model could put links of readings under the Reading tab, task items such as news critique and project reflections under the Reflecting tab, presentation and graphic design assignments under the Displaying tab, and production projects under the Doing tab.
Reference: Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (2008). Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Design 10: Using Tasks in more creative ways
Since CN Tasks tool enables instructors to build multiple types of links to internal and external resources, you can very creatively create task tabs for other purposes, for example:
- Hosting links to pre-class, midterm or end‐of-class course The task can be named “Evaluation” or “Survey”
- Presenting example posts/assignments from prior The task can be named “Example Works”
- Listing The task can be named “Readings”
- Storing course resources, such as archived video URLs and PowerPoint The task can be named “Resources” and it functions as a recourse repository.
The task tab colorization function allows you to highlight these specially created tabs, please see example of below (special tasks are highlighted in dark yellow):
To gain more help in designing CN Tasks, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org