This week reading on creating an effective online syllabus and the ideal of making our syllabus interactive; to come alive by use of hyper-links, images, multimedia vignettes and cues, I thought was very innovative and a natural progression with using technology to enhance the online class experience, but this can also have great advantages for face-to-face course as well.
The workshops showed how you could virtually teach right from your syllabus; someone in Lisa’s workshop commented that an interactive syllabus would get students to engage your syllabus throughout the duration of the class, I agree.
Lisa’s instruction on layout and formatting of an online syllabus was vary helpfully and important; the experience of reading online content of any kind is enhanced by good presentation, layout and design, the ease of finding what you need when you need it is critical when using web resources. Lisa is providing us with so much good information.
For the overachiever for lest that a $100.00 a year you can setup our own website to deliver an interactive syllabus to your students if your institution does not provide proper tools. Lisa’s stated “your syllabus becomes a living document”; student will give us constant fee-back for continued improvement of an interactive syllabus.
Ko and Rossen, Chapter 5: Creating an Effective Online Syllabus
I thought this chapter discussed and outlined efficiently information about developing an effective syllabus for any course format; starting from syllabus as a contract.
Syllabus Contract Statement: Statement that express the relationship Between students and instructor, laying out the terms of the class interaction – the expected responsibilities and duties, the grading criteria, the musts and don’ts of behavior.
I see the interactive syllabus as a matrix or a schema; a framework representing a system of organizing for receiving new information, providing the basis by which someone relates to the events he or she experiences.
Creating an Effective Online Syllabus: Acute develop details of course requirements are even more important for an online class syllabus:
- Expected outcomes
Managing Students Expectations: As Ko and Rossen states you should be clear about the expectations of your student, correct any false impressions students may have, we should express to students upfront what will be the framework (schema) that you as the instructor will be working by, your rules of engagement as instructor, prepare them to prepare for your course journey.
The Map: Allow you syllabus to be the road map as to how your course will unfold guiding students by tasks, activities, course work; indexed along a chronological timeline. Incorporating instructional and informational landmarks; pointing out various sections of the syllabus to alert important exams, test or projects, providing checks to prompt for help, for guidance if needed.
- ULRs of your homepage, websites and other online resources.
- Identifying where to locate tools that will be used in class
- How assignments will be delivered to instructor
- Any special instruction on file formats, software
- Technical support contact information.
Schedules: I like the idea of laying out the the course by weeks, this gives students a sense of anticipation of what is to follow and stretches out the week proving some flexibility of online activities, which helps students participating in different times zones. Also provides consideration for students using public facilities for internet and computer access.
A Checklist for Online Syllabus: Ko and Rossen
- Course Information: Title, Books and Authors, instructor’s names, course number, courser meeting times, term info, syllabus last revised date.
- Instructors contact info: office hours online and on the ground, private communication contact info, tech support info.
- Detailed course description: prerequisite list or any special requirements for course.
- Course objects or expected outcomes: what students can expect to learn by completion of course.
- Required texts or materials: any books or material, software needed, defined what is provide by course and what will have to be obtain by student.
- Detailed explanation of grading criteria: components of total grade, a list of all exams, major graded assignments, how or if class participation will be graded, define grade percentages or points, criteria for a passing grade, policies on late assignments.
- Participation standards: statements that defined participation expectations and grading (rubric could be used).
- Procedure processes of the class: organization of the class, instruction on how students should proceed with progression of class activities so they can stay organized, instruction for formatting and processing any material to be turned-in.
- Schedules weekly, by-weekly: topics, assignments, reading activities, resources.
- Relevant institutional policies: any relevant information about how institution operates, like enrollment process, last day for dropping or adding a class, class attendance policies.
I know this POT is for developing online instructional skills, but the more I think about what we’re doing here, could bring so much to a face-to-face teaching experience as well, a lot of the information I have been exposed to in this POT I would try to incorporate even if I was only teaching a face -to-face course.
Ko and Rossen; “Redundancy is often better than elegant succinctness”