Discussion of best practices in syllabus development and implementation
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Discussion of Best Practices in Syllabus Development and Implementation . Paul Wietig, EdD ptwietig @buffalo.edu Dale R Fish, PT, PhD dfish@buffalo.edu School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP). Focusing the Discussion (getting to know each other). INTRODUCTIONS Name

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Discussion of Best Practices in Syllabus Development and Implementation

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Discussion of Best Practices in Syllabus Development and Implementation

Paul Wietig, EdDptwietig@buffalo.edu

Dale R Fish, PT, PhD dfish@buffalo.edu

School of Public Health and Health Professions


Focusing the Discussion (getting to know each other)


    • Name

    • Department

    • Faculty? Graduate Student?

    • What you hope to learn

Background and Motivation for the ‘Syllabus Project’

  • Public Health Accreditation of our School

    • We’re a little ‘different’

  • Making SPHHP Better

    • Enhancing Instructional Quality

    • Syllabus review showed room for improvement

    • Syllabus is just one piece (but a good place to start)

  • More motivation – other accreditations

    • OT, PT, Dietetics Internship

    • UB – Middle States

The need to prepare a good syllabus can inspire instructors to…

  • Engage in greater depth of planning

  • Gain skill in writing learning objectives

  • Communicate more clearly and openly with students

    increase quality of teaching

A Good Syllabus is…

  • A ‘contract’ with students that reveals:

    • what students are expected to learn

    • resources available to help them learn

    • how learning will be measured

    • policies and procedures for implementing the course

  • A promise by the instructor to the institution that certain curricular expectations will be met

Syllabus Check-Lists

  • Which elements are:

    • Optional?

    • Recommended?

    • Required?

  • See sample check-list

Sample Syllabus Developed from the SPHHP Template

  • CHB605

    • Research Methods for Community Health and Health Behavior

    • Gregory Homish

    • See handout

Aligning Objectives with Program Competencies, Instructional Methods, and Assessment Methods…

and the SPHHP Core Curriculum

Boilerplate in the Online Template

  • Updated annually or as needed

  • Assures certain required passages are current and complete

  • Includes:

    • Academic Integrity

    • Disability Access

    • Student Code of Ethics

    • Sexual Harassment Policy

Background Resources Embedded in the Online Template

  • pdf’s or Links to online information:

    • University policies related to syllabi

    • Guide for writing learning objectives

    • Strategies for improving student response rates to course/instructor surveys

    • Samples of well-developed syllabi

    • Annotated bibliography of teaching resources

Improving CoursEval Response Rates

  • SPHHP now requires at least a 70% response rate for course and instructor evaluations by students

  • Some response rates fall below that standard

  • SPHHP provides guidance on strategies for meeting the standard

    • Syllabus ‘enhancements’

      • Learning Objective – student responsibility for quality of learning experiences

      • Grading incentive if class response rate exceeds…

      • Grading incentive for individual students who submit evaluations

Improving CoursEval Response Rates

  • Language from ANA407, Gross Human Anatomy:

  • Learning Objective:

    • Students will: ‘…take personal responsibility for the quality of their professional education (e.g., evaluating student presentations, preparing written challenges of selected examination items, completing course/instructor evaluations).’

Improving CoursEval Response Rates

  • Grading: 1% for participation in Course & Instructor Eval

  • Grading Note:

    • ‘Each student who submits a completed online evaluation as reported to the Course Coordinator by the SPHHP CoursEval Administrator will be awarded 1% toward his/her overall course average. CourseEval procedures protect the anonymity of student respondents – the Course Coordinator will receive a list of names of students who have submitted evaluations, but no faculty member receives evaluation reports (ratings and comments) before grades are submitted, and student names are not included on evaluation reports.’

  • In 2008, pleading with students  67%

  • In 2010, 1% applied to course average (not bonus)  99%

Sample of a Syllabus Rubric

  • Handout from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

  • Used by that School’s Curriculum Committee to assess the quality of syllabi presented as a part of new course proposals

  • Also provides guidance for identifying areas for possible improvement of existing syllabi

Good syllabi enable evaluation of curriculum and instruction

  • Mapping of objectives to Program competencies, educational methods, and methods for assessing learning

    • Reveals instructional exemplars

    • Reveals curricular deficiencies

    • Reveals curricular redundancies

  • Syllabi are key ‘data’ in curriculum evaluation

Questions? Comments?

  • Please evaluate this session

  • Thanks very much

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