Writing a good module description for the University website

Updated on 2 April 2024

This guide details best practice in producing content for the University module pages

On this page

There is a webpage for each module that we offer as a University. Front End Website Development module (CS11001) is an example of one of our fully-populated pages. These module pages will appear as a feed on our course pages, under the Teaching and Assessment tab of their respective course.

To ensure that our prospective and current students have all the information they require to make an informed decision, these module pages should contain a module description.

These descriptions should all follow the same structure.

The examples given on this page are taken from a fictitious Introduction to Weaving Techniques module. This module does not exist.

Main description

The main description of the module page should cover an introduction to the topic. It should also place the module in a real-life context.

A well-written module page should answer, in plain English, a number of questions that prospective students will have:

  • What is the topic of the module?
  • Why should I learn this topic?
  • How will I learn this topic?

The main description should consist of content answering the 'What' and 'Why' questions. Assessment and Teaching Methods will answer the 'How' question.

The main description should consist of a minimum of 160 words, with an absolute maximum of 350.

If you use any uncommon acronyms or technical terms in this section, these should be explained in plain English.


The introduction should describe the topic as if the prospective student has no prior knowledge of it. This should be the case regardless of the level of the module.

As part of this you should try to include background information of the topic. Ideally answering at least one of the following questions

  • What is basket weaving?
  • What can I do with a basket weaving degree?
  • What is the difference between basket plaiting and basket twining?


This should be a plain English description of what the student will learn.

It should detail the things that the prospective student will achieve by completing the module. This should be written in a positive tone where it is expected that the prospective student will choose the module, will manage the workload and will pass the module successfully. 

This part will contain the same information as the Intended Learning Outcomes and Aims, however it should be written in normal sentences, rather than the bullets and language used for QA paperwork.

The information should be presented as such:

'Why' example

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn this concept
  • learn this next concept
  • develop an understanding of this other concept

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand how this concept works
  • engage in this concept using this approach
  • show your ability to apply this particular knowledge or principle

Assignments / assessments

You can display the module assessments in two ways.

Simple way

  • database design coursework (13%)
  • database implementation coursework (37%)
  • class tests and formal examination (50%)

Detailed way

2,000 word essay (30%)

  • Given in week 2
  • Due in week 3
  • 10 hours effort expected

Group project (40%)

  • Given in week 9
  • Due in week 11
  • 38 hours effort expected

Exam (30%)

  • During exam period
  • Exam lasts 1 hour

Do not use tables to display assessments

In the detailed way, the title and percentage should be a H3 heading

Additional information about the module assessment may be given at the end of the assessment text box

If a module does not have a final exam, add the following at the end of the assessment text box:

“This module does not have a final exam.”

Teaching methods / timetable

Outline the teaching methods and learning materials for the module. For example, Computer Science usually uses the following wording:

“You will learn by taking a hands-on approach. This will involve taking part in tutorials and practical sessions.

Learning material is provided through videos, review notes, examples, and tutorial questions.”

If a timetable or weekly schedule for the module is available, you can include it using a table like this:

Week Topics covered
1 Introduction to weaving techniques
2 Benefits of wicker 
... ...

Meta description

The meta description should be a short phrase to highlight the main topic(s) of the module. Consider it an extension of the module’s title.

It should expand broadly on the premise of the module but does not need to go into too much detail.

The meta description has a character limit of 160 characters. This is to ensure that it displays in search results in full.

In the following examples, the meta description is the words: "Learn the history of basketweaving and the ancient techniques used"

Example showing the placement of the meta description on the module page

The module description will display under the course title on the module page.

Example showing a module amongst the University of Dundee's website search results page

It will also appear in both internal search and Google results.

Accordion on course page

The accordion on course page does not appear on the module page.

This information will appear in the module dropdown toggle, which appears on course pages. These appear on a course's Teaching and Assessment page.

This allows prospective students, upon seeing a module's title, to read a short description of the module prior to clicking through to the full module page.

As the course page overview will never appear alongside any of the module page content, it would be acceptable to recycle the meta description and main body content.

The course page overview has a word limit of 50 words.

In the following example, the course page overview is the words:

"Explore modern methods and ancient techniques in the field of basketweaving. These techniques are also used in other aspects of the weaving industry.

Learn about the historical and social aspects of the basket, as well as the core techniques that make them possible."


General notes

This document is only a guide – if you feel like it doesn’t work for your module, change it up or talk to Pete if you are unsure!

Avoid passive language, talk to the applicant/student directly

“You will learn X” instead of “X will be taught”

Do not overuse phrases like “In this module…” (aim for at most once every 3 modules)

Do not go into too much detail about the specific module content in the introduction, as it will already be mentioned in the bullet lists

Bullet points in the main body and assessments lists will usually start lowercase (refer to style guide if you’re not sure)

Content Workflow

You will have been asked to use Content Workflow to create content. When you first log in, using your University username and password, you will see a blank screen. A member of Web Services will need to activate your account.

Guide category Creating web pages