Content Delivery - Articles/Papers

Overview | Instructional Use | Tips | Shortcomings | Technology required | Resources

Providing reading materials are an important aspects of teaching an online course. It is helpful to present these readings to your students in the most organized and least overwhelming manner.

There are few ways to make articles and papers available to your students on an online course:

  • Providing the bibliography for the article/paper so that the students could search themselves and find the articles via the library and various journals.
  • Attaining the articles yourself and providing them online as an attachment for your student to download via Oncourse Resources.
  • Making sure to organize the articles in a manner that is simple and makes sense to the students by labeling your articles appropriately and categorizing them using a consistent method.



There are several resources available to instructors that simplify making articles/papers accessible to students. Oncourse’s Resources section allows instructors to create various folders and upload multiple files into these folders easily.

We also recommend that you provide links to databases such as EBSCO, ERIC, JSTOR, and etc. through the IU library site:

Indiana University has agreements with many databases and journals that allow students, faculty, and IU affiliates to access articles free of charge.

  • Be careful of the number of articles you provide to the students. When there are too many reading, students often become overwhelmed and will either not finish the readings or skip them altogether. Planning reasonable amount of readings will encourage students to finish the readings and ensures richer discussion.

  • Make sure the readings you select are directly relevant to the course and not based on your interest. You can provide articles you find interesting in a separate folder as optional or further readings.
  • Try to integrate readings with media. For instance, include a related video lecture or clip as part of the readings to engage students in various information forums.
  • Save the articles in an accessible spot so that if students are having trouble attaining a copy, you could make it available to them.
  • PDF reader, ability to highlight text.
  • Encourage students to store and organize readings not only for your class but all classes using a citation manager system such as Mandalay or End Note
  • Encourage critique of the papers read


There are some of the shortcomings of online delivery of articles/papers when it comes to online courses. Some of these include:

  • Lack of interactivity
  • Abundance of static text as reading requirement




Most digital papers are in PDF format, thus having a PDF reader is essential.

IU students can download Adobe Acrobat Pro from iuware for free. This program allows students to add notes, comments and highlighting to papers.