How do I use prerequisites and checklists for self-regulated online learning?

Self-regulated learning in online courses

Student’s ability to self-regulate their learning is an important determinant of success in online courses. Student satisfaction with online courses is improved when they are able to self-regulate their learning experience. There are several tools in OWL that can assist you in setting up a well-organized course that allows for significant student self-regulation.


For each lesson, you can can insert a checklist with class tasks, which allows students to independently track their progress. Instructors can also track whether or not students checked items off their list. If you intend to track students progress through the use of checklists, be sure to let students know so that they are aware that they need to keep their checklist updated.

To add a checklist to your lesson page in OWL:

1. Select "Add Content"
2. Select "Add Checklist"

Screenshot of the checklist in OWL


OWL provides instructors with the option to set prerequisites that students must complete prior to gaining access to certain components of course content. For example, you might require students to read the syllabus prior to gaining access to course content. Students might also take a pre-assessment quiz or vote in a poll prior to gaining access to weekly course notes.

Prerequisites are built in the lessons tool. Instructors can set more than one prerequisite per page. For example, if the culminating activity on a page is to submit a quiz, the instructor can restrict access to the quiz until the student has completed a reading and/or watched a video. This is done by selecting a "required" designation for all elements that must be completed before taking the quiz.

Prerequisites can be completion-based, i.e., the student must submit the assignment/take the quiz/read the module prior to release of other course materials AND/OR prerequisites can be competency-based, i.e., the student must achieve a certain grade on an assignment/quiz prior to release of other course materials.

To set a prerequisite, you must first require an item to act as the prerequisite (e.g., readings, quiz, assignment, other course content, - see this article for detailed instructions for building lesson page content.). Choose the item, then select "Edit Item" to set this content as a prerequisite. At this point, you can also add a minimal assessment score for the item, if you wish to do so.

Screenshot of "how to set up prerequisites" in OWL

This is the sudent view of a lesson requiring a prerequisite – note the prerequisite task is marked with an asterisk. Once students have completed this task, the rest of the content will be displayed.

Screenshot of the student view of a lesson requiring a prerequisite

Resources and References

The following documentation for Sakai 11 may provide more insight into setting up prerequisites in your online course.

Cho & Shen: Self-regulation in online learning


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