36 Content

Content comes in many formats. While many classes use textbooks provided by academic publishers, you should not feel constrained by a particular text or even group of texts. The content that you select should be aligned with your course goals, your activities, and your assessments. 

Consider drawing from multiple formats and including multiple forms for representing content that you want to cover.  When you consider resources for teaching, you should also consider active learning content, including activities. Sometimes textbooks come with websites full of interactive activities and opportunities for feedback. 

Type of Content Features, Benefits, and Additional Resources
Publisher textbook
  • Offers comprehensive content prepared by subject matter experts and usually designed for university teaching
  • Check what additional resources come with your book!
OER (Open Education Resource)
  • Offers free, peer reviewed resources (including textbooks) that often include licenses allowing you to remix or adapt content for your needs and context
  • Consider developing your own OER textbook
  • Start your search or ask for help by visiting the excellent OER resources offered by the MSVU Library
Instructor-created textbook 
  • Write custom guides or content for your course yourself
  • Present material in a variety of formats and incorporate multimedia of your choosing (e.g. chunked lessons, Notebooks, handouts, etc)
Scholarly articles
  • Demonstrate the current research practices and problems in your discipline


Primary sources 
  • Provide artifacts for students to explore from your discipline
  • Consider virtual tours or simulations if originals are difficult to obtain
Websites and Blogs
  • Offers an opportunity to explore industry, public perception, government, or other stakeholders in your discipline


  • Don’t forget to include access to both captions and transcripts when you select existing video footage
  • Start with the excellent video streaming services offered through the Mount
Instructor-created videos 
  • Demonstrate the exact principle or concept you want by designing videos unique to your course; don’t forget to include access to captions and transcripts
  • Partner with the Digital Media Zone to increase your video quality and variety
  • Ask the TLCOL for help embedding videos in your Moodle site
  • Create your own podcast or consider streaming existing audio so that students can engage with your material on the go; don’t forget to include transcripts


  • Show the relationship between parts or other organizational features in a stimulating format 
  • Make your content interactive to help students practice or try out what they know in a particular context
  • Build your own activities within Moodle using the H5P suite of interactive modules


Images & Music 
  • Add richness and variety to flesh out the experiential nature of your course but be aware of copyright guidelines and don’t forget to include information about or links to sources.
  • The MSVU Library can help with copyright information.




Download the Content Resources Template and write out the content sources you plan to draw from in this course. Be sure you have additional supports or multiple modes of representation for your tricky topics!

Guiding Questions

  • What material will primarily guide your students’ learning?
  • What, if any, supplements will you provide for students who are struggling?
  • Are there any copyright issues to consider?
  • Can the material be provided in an accessible format?
  • Can the material be provided in an electronic format through the Mount?


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