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Course lessons (asynchronous content)
Course lessons (asynchronous content)

A guide to writing great lessons and how to leverage the syllabus to share excellent course content

Chelsea Wilson avatar
Written by Chelsea Wilson
Updated over a week ago


  • Lessons are the asynchronous materials you provide to your students

  • They are completed outside of live sessions.

  • Lessons can be articles, frameworks, case studies, templates, resource links, or videos.

  • If your cohort has more live sessions ( ≥ 2 per week), you might provide fewer asynchronous lessons.

  • If your cohort is a hybrid-style cohort (≤1 live session per week), you will provide more asynchronous lessons and projects.

Course lessons

To get started creating your lessons, visit your course Syllabus. Once you add a lesson, you'll see an editable page where you can add text, videos, links, and images.

How many lessons should I provide?

Add lessons in your course Syllabus. First, create a module (modules are collections of lessons, projects, and resources organized by topic or course outcome) and add as many lessons as you'd like. Customize the lesson title and use emojis to grab students' attention.

The number of lessons you include will likely depend on your course's topic, outcomes, and style. Here's some general guidance to help you think about how many lessons to include:

Mostly live course

Hybrid course

If you plan to host multiple live sessions (≥ 2 per week), most of the learning may happen during those workshops, so you may not provide as much asynchronous content.

If you plan to host fewer live sessions (≤1 live session per week), most of the learning will happen outside of the live sessions. In a hybrid course, you will provide more asynchronous lessons and projects.

Aim to include at least 1 lesson per module.

Aim to include at least 5 lessons per module.

Lessons are supplementary to live sessions. They might be pre-readings or additional resources for students to continue their learning.

Lessons replace traditional "lectures" and are one of your students' main sources of learning. They should be dense and rigorous; students should walk away with new insights.

Example course: Design System Bootcamp

The number of lessons in your course will be displayed in the section "This course includes" on your course landing page. Here's an example:

What should I include in my lessons?

Lessons can be articles, frameworks, case studies, templates, resource links, or videos.

Course style: mostly live

If you're hosting a mostly live-style course, lessons will likely supplement the insights you share during live sessions. They might be pre-readings so you can dive deeper into concepts in class or address questions. Lessons might contain additional resources for students to continue their learning.

Here's an example of lesson titles and organization in a mostly live-style course:

Course style: hybrid

If you're hosting a hybrid-style course, the lessons will provide immense learning value. In this style of course, lessons replace traditional "lectures" and are one of the main sources of learning for your students. They should be dense and rigorous; students should walk away with new insights.

Here's an example of lesson titles and organization in a hybrid-style course:

How should I structure my lessons?

Lessons in Maven are very similar to Notion pages or Google Docs. You can type directly on them, add headings and subheadings (pro tip: to create a heading type "# [space] text"; to create a subheading type "## [space] text"), insert images and videos, and link to additional content or back to other lessons/projects in your course.

Here's some general guidance for what content to include and how to structure your course lessons.

✅ Do

🚫 Don't

Provide introduction text if you're linking to additional resources or templates. Explain why you're sharing the resource or template, and consider providing some guiding questions for students as they read or engage with the resource.

Drop a standalone link in the lesson without providing context to the students.

Transfer as much of your content into Maven as a native document (i.e. avoid linking out when possible) so students can use the course syllabus as a central resource without having to open new tabs.

Use the lesson to outline what's covered in the live session.

You can use the lesson to preview a concept in the live session with a short resource or a few paragraphs of introductory information. Avoid sharing only an outline or restatement of the live session objectives.

Add images when possible, especially if you're sharing a framework. Visuals help students comprehend and retain information.

Share only full-length recordings of previous live sessions. Students learn best when videos are bite-sized and actionable.

Note: you can share a full-length webinar or podcast as *bonus* material.

Add short videos (many instructors use Loom, and you can upload up to 2GB MP4 videos). Consider including an introduction or guiding questions with the video to help students focus on key parts and retain content through active listening.

Provide blank lessons!

Always check your student view before opening for enrollment to make sure you've added all the content you intended to share.

Should I add due dates?

We encourage you to add due dates to lessons to help keep students on track to complete your coursework. Due dates are also a great way to help students complete pre-work before your live sessions.

Maven will email a reminder to students 24 hours before a lesson is due if they have not yet completed it. To read more about these notifications, check out this guide.

To add a due date, click on the calendar icon next to the lesson. Remember to click "save changes."

What do students see?

You can always check out your own "Student View" by clicking "View as student" in the top right of your Syllabus or by clicking the Student View button near the bottom of the black navigation bar.

Your students will see the lesson content after the module is released (if you have a module release date added). The lesson will open in students' Maven Home. Students can mark the lesson as complete and see their course progress on the right-hand side of their screen.

Here's a short video showing you a sample student view:


  1. Are lessons required?

    1. You must have a syllabus added to publish your course landing page. We strongly encourage you to add lessons and projects before you publish the landing page. When browsing your course landing page, students will see if a module has 0 lessons and/or projects. Having 0 lessons will likely negatively impact your course's conversion.

  2. Can students see the lesson content before they enroll?

    1. No, they can only see the lesson title. Unless you offer the lesson as a free preview, they cannot read the content.

  3. Can students download the lesson materials or videos?

    1. No, we don't allow students to download lesson materials, including videos. Your content will remain secure in the student Home portal, only visible to enrolled students.

  4. Can I upload a PDF to my lessons?

    1. Not yet! We plan to offer this feature in the future. For now, if you need to share a PDF, you can link to one hosted externally (i.e., Google Drive, Dropbox) or turn each page of the PDF into a JPEG and add those images to your lessons.

  5. Can I see students' progress on lessons?

    1. Coming soon! We'll likely be releasing analytics so you can see student engagement, including the number of modules and lessons completed.

If you have further questions about adding course lessons, please reach out to [email protected].

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