Creating Amazing Online Courses (with Google Sites)

Author(s): Brandy Perkl, Ph.D.

Originally posted: July 24, 2016
Tech Recommendations Disclaimer: The tools the University pays for change periodically so this advice may go out of date easily or not apply other places than the University of Arizona or my lab specifically, I always recommend using the tech your school supports so you can call them for help and so it's free to you.
2020 Updates & Notes: In this case, I believe Google Sites will be free for a LONG time, but they have already changed platforms to NEW Google Sites and all these tutorials use the OLD Google Sites. We still have all of our courses in the new platform and love the integration. You can always check out a little tour of how I am handling this on my YouTube page: Fair warning, Google has been known to discontinue services randomly as well, but typically give you years of notice prior to fully disabling things as well as provide options for finding alternative options, so for me they're a safe bet for now.

I've been completely in love with Google Sites for online course design for a while now. Not only is it an extremely simple interface to learn, but the sites look great, work well, and are more accessible than most to both students and professors. For example, did you know you can update your Google course site easily from any device? Google sites integrate seamlessly with D2L, and have the added benefit of existing after D2L clears out course content from its servers - so you can keep your course looking and working the same every semester!

The incomparable Romi Wittman made a series of tutorials to share based on our work on this project together, so you can take advantage of this (free!) method to improve your course design. And the final video makes it very clear how to ensure we are compliant with UA and FERPA when using this method - a major boon when you want to stay in step with the U.

Why To Use Google Sites (And How)

Google Sites + D2L

Creating Your Course Site

Accommodating ADA & ABOR

Now take up thy mouse, go forth, and actually spend your time teaching (vs. managing your LMS) like you thought you would when you started this whole teaching career thing. Let me know how it goes for you, I'd love to have a tribe of Google-rs to compare notes and tips with.

Happy Google-ing,

Brandy & Romi