Course Themes

The ascetic design, or “theme” of a course is the most prominent example of course consistency. For our purposes, a Course Theme is defined as: all ascetic and stylistic decisions that are made to standardize and shape the appearance and structure of content created for a course. These decisions can be made by a course lead, or delegated to a team member or members. Quality checks should include assessing if content adheres to the chosen Course Theme. Ideally, a Course Theme would be planned out at the start of content development for a course.

Elements of a Course Themes

These are all of the things that comprise a complete Course Theme.
Required/Strongly Suggested

  • Color Schemes
  • Fonts, Font Sizes and Weights
  • A PowerPoint template
  • Diagram Design
  • Table Design
  • Video Title Designs/Transitions/Animations
  • Lower Third Designs/Transitions/Animations

Course Lead Discretion/As Needed

  • Music
  • Editing Style
  • Color Grading Style
  • Delivery Methods/Formats
  • Content Structure
  • Special considerations for specific content or information
  • Any other elements you would like to standardize/direct

Making Design Decisions

Many of the elements of a Course Theme will be very intuitive choices, or simply carried over from other courses or will be informed directly by how the program as a whole has been designed. We are not saying that each and every course needs to make unique decisions in every aspect of the Course Theme. In fact, most cases that is the opposite of what we want.

It is encouraged to make an effort to understand the course content, instructor personality, and audience when making decisions about the content.

Questions you can ask to inform your design decisions:

  • Do the themes presented lend themselves to specific imagery?
  • Is the instructor’s personality especially jovial and warm?
  • Can you incorporate that into the look and feel of the course?
  • Is the subject matter very serious and requires respectful measured design?
  • Does the audience expect the content to be presented with certain considerations for readability or clarity?
  • Does the industry or field the course serves have standards for information design or structure?

Creating the Course Theme Guide and Assets

There are two distinct parts of a Course Theme. The Course Theme Guide, and the assets and templates that will be directly utilized in creating the course content.

Course Theme Guide
The Course Theme Guide is the document that outlines all of the choices that have been made for a Course Theme that are not represented directly by assets or template files. You can think of it like a style guide, and reference document. Where appropriate it should not only list out specifications and examples, but also explain how certain decisions were informed. This is mostly important when it comes to special considerations or things breaking consistency with the rest of the program or how things are done CEOEL wide.

  • Color Schemes (Swatches, Hex Codes)
  • Fonts, Font Sizes and Weights (Recommendations, Example Usage)
  • Video Title Transitions/Animations (Specifications)
  • Lower Third Transitions/Animations (Specifications)
  • Editing Style (Specifications, Pointers to examples)
  • Color Grading Style (Specifications, Examples)
  • Delivery Methods/Formats (Specifications, Instructions)
  • Content Structure (Specifications, Examples)
  • Special considerations for specific content or information (Specifications, Recommendations, Guidance)
  • Any other elements you would like to direct

The Course Theme Guide can be created as a Word document that is then stored in the course assets directory along side the other Assets and Templates. Word is recommend just for the fact that it can be easily updated.

Assets and Templates
All of the files that will be copied into a project for direct use comprise the assets and templates of the Course Theme. It is your discretion to decide what file type best serves your projects. Note that this does not include standard fonts, logos or other standard elements that are used program or CEOEL wide. These will be noted in the Course Guide, and are expected to come from their Marketing Drive or Media Drive storage locations.

  • A PowerPoint template (.thmx)
  • Diagram Design (.ai/.psd/.thmx)
  • Table Design (.ai/.psd/.thmx)
  • Video Title Designs (.ai/.psd)
  • Lower Third Designs (.ai/.psd)
  • Music (.wav)
  • Any other Assets/Templates you would like to standardize


All Course Theme files should be stored in the course assets folder in the root of the course folder on the file server.
Example Course Theme Storage Locations

  • [DataScience Drive]/ds775/ds775_assets/
  • [Sustainable Management Drive]/smgt115/smgt115_assets/
  • [Health and Wellness Management Drive]/hwm475/hwm475_assets/

Published on January 11, 2017 at 1:43:56 pm CDT. Last modified on May 04, 2018 at 1:28:15 pm CDT.