Design with constraints
Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem — the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible — his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints.

—Charles Eames[1]

Open learning design is the art of creating meaningful learning opportunities within the constraints of the reusability paradox and the technologies we use. Successful design in this environment requires preknowledge of the practical constraints of the environment.

In this section we provide a few guidelines you should keep in mind when developing the outline in the wiki for the learning pathways you are designing for this course. Adhering to these guidelines will improve the navigation and user experience of your target website.



You should familiarise yourself with a wiki course outline and how this relates to the resultant website produced from harvesting the collection of wiki pages.

  1. Open a copy of the wiki outline which was used to publish this course website.
  2. Note:

Guidelines for developing your course outline

  1. The first bullet in the outline list is reserved for the course homepage and must be an internal wiki link.
  2. The navigation structure of the target website is restricted to three hierarchical levels:
    • Level 1 is used for the global navigation of the course web site—implemented as a single bullet in the course outline.
    • Level 2 is used for the drop-down options from the global navigation of the course web site—implemented as a single indented sub-bullet in the course outline.
    • Level 3 is used for in-page navigation of third level items—implemented as a double indented sub-bullet in the course outline.
  3. The course website uses the display text for the wiki link as the label of the navigation item. Avoid using long titles, as they do not display well as menu options. We recommend that you:
    • Keep level 1 navigation labels under 20 characters and spaces.
    • Keep level 2 and level 3 navigation labels under 35 characters and spaces.
  4. With the exception of the first bullet used for the landing page any bullet which is followed by a sub-bullet in the outline sequence cannot be a wiki link. (That is, if a parent bullet has any children, it must not be a wiki link. This relates to the behaviour of a level 2 navigation item which cannot be a link under the implementation model we are using.)
  5. We recommend that you do not exceed six level 1 navigation options as this will generate navigation challenges on lower screen resolutions. And you may need to reduce this number if you are using unusually long titles for your global navigation.

We offer these general guidelines to help you get started. Feel free to experiment—there is no risk of “breaking” the technology. Using a wiki model makes it very easy to change and adapt your design because you will get visual feedback when you publish your own course website. If something goes wrong, you will be able to fix it.