Earlier today, I was reflecting on the shift from PBS Capstone program to the Online LOTI Lead Teacher program for a technology lead educator. As I reflected on the reasons for the switch from one to another, I really appreciated the fact that the PBS course had outlined so many essential elements for me.
One of the key ones is the syllabus, something that quite a few years ago, I had little problem designing. But in the fast and furious realm of professional development workshops I’ve designed over the last 12 years, somehow, I lost sight of the syllabus and its power over a course. I asked myself, what exactly should be in a syllabus, anyways?
And, the power of the network comes through again. . .in the form of a blog entry from the Ed Tech Lady, where she shares the Basic Elements of an Online Course Syllabus. She shares the following as being essential at the minimum level:
- title page
- introduction to the course
- course schedule, and a list of objectives and requirements
- course content arranged into modules
- Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) file
- glossary of terms used in the course
- table of contents, a search engine, and/or index with a roadmap to the course
- resources page with links to useful external course related information
- credits page listing the sponsors and the people who have developed the course along with copyright statement
The course objectives should be explicitly outlined on a separate course objectives page. Make the link between the assignments and the course materials clear. Let students know what is expected of them for each individual assignment or test, and for the entire course and examinations. Clearly describe the resources that will be needed and the learning activities that will be undertaken. In that the way, both the instructors and the learners can be confidently aware of the requirements of the course.
The syllabus should show at least the following:
- number and title of the course,
- instructor’s name and e-mail address,
- instructor’s office and (if available) home page location,
- instructor’s in-person office hours and phone number,
- course start date, length of the course, and expected time involvement of students,
- textbook(s) and other materials needed for the course,
- an outline of the course format and a clear description or exercise in the use of navigational aids used in the course,
- a concise description of the course content,
- an evaluation plan and exam and project schedule,
- an explanation of the forms of student participation and instructor expectations regarding participation, and
- a list of all students in the class and a description of means for students to communicate online with both the entire class and with individual classmates.
When I read this list of requirements for a syllabus, I’m even more appreciative of the hard work that goes into any online course PRIOR to the course being offered to participants. It’s a standard I wonder if many school districts meet, caught up in the fast-paced life of a school district. Regardless…thanks to Gayla Keese (EdTechLady) for sharing a post I’m going to refer back to again and again.
I don’t suppose you’d have an ideal syllabus to share with us, now, would you, Gayla?
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