Introduction to TEL Library Courses

Lesson Content

Inquire: Welcome to Your TEL Course


Our goal at TEL Library is to design courses that help you understand and master the concepts and information covered. We do this through media, readings, reflection polls, Web research and exploration, rubric-based assignments, and quizzes and exams.

Of course, the most important ingredient in the learning process is YOU. And, to get the most out of your experience, it’s important to know what’s in a course as well as the different kinds of content and activities that you’ll be asked to complete.

As you go through this lesson and the rest of your course, keep in mind that we want to help you master the information you are studying so you can actually apply it in your personal learning journey.

Big Question

How can I get the most out of my learning experience in this course?

Watch: Getting Started with TEL Courses

Read: What’s in a Course?


So, you’re taking a TEL course as part of your college education. What should you expect? Equally important, what do you need to know to be successful and make the most of your experience?

At TEL Library, we design our courses to help you become an engaged learner. That design process involves things like our course structure, lesson content, and assignments and assessments. Knowing how these elements are put together and how you can access and navigate through them will make your learning experience much smoother.

Course Structure

All TEL courses have the same structure. They consist of a collection of lessons organized into modules, with each module containing approximately the same number of lessons. For example, a course with 60 lessons might be organized into 12 modules, each containing five lessons.

Each lesson focuses on a specific concept. An example would be our lesson on Public Relations in our Introduction to Communication course. This lesson is grouped with related lessons to provide an in-depth view of a larger topic. In this example, “Public Relations” is in a module titled “The Evolution and Impact of Mass Communication.” Here is the complete list of lessons for that module.

  • Module 2: The Evolution and Impact of Mass Communication
    • What is Mass Communication
    • Traditional Media
    • Public Relations
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Ethics and Mass Communication

Each module features an evidence assignment that is designed to help you synthesize and apply what you’ve been studying in the different lessons for that module. Modules also have a quiz that assesses your understanding of the content being studied.

Your path through this course structure is straightforward. You will work through each lesson in a module and then complete an evidence assignment and a quiz. Once you have finished one module, you can move onto the next one.

TEL Library courses also feature two exams, one at the halfway point and the other at the end of the course.

The Course Page

Each course has a “home” page or Course Page. This page provides an introduction to the course and also features helpful information and a number of important documents. These documents include a “Course Syllabus” or schedule, and a set of “Course Requirements.” The “Course Requirements” document tells you everything you must do to earn credit for a course. The Course Page also provides information related to “Learning Outcomes” and “Technology Requirements.”

If you would like to print out your course materials or download them for easy offline access, the Course Page also has a link to downloadable versions on the course lessons.

Finally, the Course Page has direct links to all of the course modules for easy navigation.

Course Modules

Each module consists of (1) a Module Home Page, (2) a set of content lessons, (3) an Evidence assignment, and (4) a Module Quiz.

The Module Home Page provides an introduction to the module topic, as well as a module-level view of learning outcomes, glossary items (terms), and links to external resources for further study of module concepts. The Module Home Page also provides a list of links to the individual lessons for the module.

Each module in a TEL course contains approximately 4-6 lessons. These lessons are designed as self-contained, stand-alone learning pages for each concept covered in the module.

Once you have worked through the lessons in a module, you will be ready to complete the module Evidence assignment and the module Quiz.

The Evidence assignment is designed to help you apply what you have been learning in a writing or research/writing activity. The module Quiz is a longer quiz, with 25-35 items, that tests your knowledge of the information covered in the different module lessons.

Course Exams

Each TEL course features two summative exams. These exams cover all of the new information studied up to the time of the exam. For example, in the Introduction to Communication course, the first exam occurs after Module 7. This means that the exam will cover all the information in the course from Module 1-Module 7. The final exam for that course occurs after Module 12. That exam will cover all course information presented in Module 8-Module 12. Course exams generally take between 60-75 minutes to complete.

Course exams are also proctored by a third party. This means that you will be monitored by remote observers while you take your exam. The third party service uses the camera and microphone on your computer to record your activity while taking the exam.

Before taking your first exam, you will be asked to complete a system check to ensure that your computer meets the required technical specifications.

Reflect: Reflection Poll


What type of content or approach works best for you when learning new information?

Expand: Getting the Most Out of TEL Lessons


TEL Library lessons are designed as stand-alone, self-contained units that provide the information you need to understand and begin applying a specific course concept. All TEL lessons are designed using a common learning progression model to help you absorb and master the information being presented.

This model emphasizes the need to contextualize information and ideas before presenting them in depth. Having provided this context, we can then “elaborate” lesson information through in-depth presentation and explanation. In order to help students retain the information being presented, we must also help show how the information is relevant to their lives and immediate worldviews. Once students see the relevance of the information, it is then easier to develop agency and apply the information in ways that are personally meaningful. That personal application, in turn, is the key to eventual, demonstrable mastery.

Lesson Structure and Features

TEL lessons employ a common template that is designed to reinforce our learning progression model.

This means that each course lesson features the same content and activity sections.

Each lesson in a course features the following sections and content.

  • Inquire — A brief overview of the lesson concept and topics, along with a statement of inquiry or relevance to prepare students for the information being presented.
  • Watch — A video overview of the lesson designed to provide further contextualization and multi-modal presentations of key ideas. Videos feature images, a voiceover, and text callouts, and are accompanied by accessible, downloadable transcripts. This allows you great flexibility with regards to how you process the information presented.
  • Read — A primary reading section that covers the major topics identified for the lesson. Reading sections are generally segmented by topic and feature both decorative and instructional images.
  • Reflect — A user poll designed to help students think about the relevance and impact of the material they are studying.
  • Expand — A secondary reading section that explores, at a deeper level one or more topics from the lesson.
  • Check Your Knowledge — A short, low-stakes formative quiz designed to help students check their comprehension of the information presented in the lesson.
  • Toolbox — A set of optional, external resources that provide additional explanation or more in-depth information related to the lesson concept and topics.

Tips for Success with TEL Lessons

As you work through each lesson, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the information.

  1. Read both the Overview and Big Question in the Inquire section. The Overview will give you some context for what you’ll be learning. The Big Question provides a way to focus on what’s important in the lesson and how it might apply to you.
  2. Use the Watch section as an outline to guide your learning. The Watch section provides a structured introduction to the lesson and offers a brief dive into each of the topics discussed. Paying close attention to the Watch section will tell you exactly what you need to focus on in the readings. This section also provides good practice for taking notes. Finally, take advantage of the printable transcript, which allows you to study the content from the Watch section without having to view the video.
  3. Work through the Read section one content chunk at a time. As you move through the Read section, you’ll notice that it is divided into short sections, each one focused on one of the major topics mentioned in the Watch section. You’ll also see that the information is tied back to the Big Question. This structure is intentional, designed to let you maximize your time and to study more efficiently. In addition, when you’re working on your assignments, this structure makes it easier to find the information you need.
  4. Use the Reflect section to pause and think about what you’ve been reading. After each Read section in a lesson, there is a single-question poll designed to help you reflect on the information you have reviewed up to that point. The purpose of this poll is to help you examine what you have been learning in the lesson as it applies to your own life and interests.
  5. Take a deeper, more applied look in the Expand section. The Expand section provides a “deeper dive” into the lesson’s topics and provides more context for how the lesson applies in today’s world.
  6. Continue your exploration of the lesson concept with Lesson Toolbox resources. The Lesson Toolbox offers additional resources for studying and exploring the lesson concept. Some of these resources may repeat information in the lesson, but from a different perspective. Others are provided so that you can do further research on topics that interest you.

Check Your Knowledge

Use the quiz below to check your understanding of this lesson’s content. You can take this quiz as many times as you like. Once you are finished taking the quiz, click on the “View questions” button to review the correct answers.

Lesson Resources

Lesson Toolbox

Additional Resources and Readings

Recording and Uploading Your Video

This lesson is to help you understand how to record and upload videos for assignments in this course.

Lesson Glossary


AJAX progress indicator
  • asynchronous learning
    Asynchronous learning is the idea that students learn the same material at different times and locations

License and Citations

Content License

Lesson Content:

Authored and curated by Rob Reynolds Ph.D for The TEL Library. CC BY NC SA 4.0

Media Sources

Books Student StudyingWokandapixPixabayCC 0
Figure 6TEL LibraryTEL LibraryCC BY NC SA
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