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A Presentation by: Marj Ashcraft, Towson University Dr. Joan McMahon, Towson University PowerPoint Presentation
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A Presentation by: Marj Ashcraft, Towson University Dr. Joan McMahon, Towson University

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  1. Creating an Effective Online Syllabus An Overview of Basic Content A Presentation by: Marj Ashcraft, Towson University Dr. Joan McMahon, Towson University An Overview of Basic Content

  2. This presentation is designed to provide you with an overviewof the basiccomponentsof the course syllabuscontent. Specifically, we will take a look at: • The purposeof the syllabus • The primary elementsof the syllabusalong with what constitutes a Generic syllabus and a Syllabus and Schedule • Itemsyou might include in anonlinesyllabus * * Issues of formatting your online syllabus – design/layout – are notaddressed in this slide show for Part I of Station A.10: Creating an Effective Online Syllabus. Rather, they are presented in Part II of the station. An Overview of Basic Content

  3. The Purpose of the Syllabus An Overview of Basic Content

  4. “A good syllabus serves as a scaffold for the course…” Simon, 2000, p. 83. An Overview of Basic Content

  5. Syllabus ===== == ========== == ============== The purpose of any course syllabus is to provide…  the basic information and guidelines of the course  the expectations of the instructor as well as the department  the foundation for measuring the learning experience These aims are underscored by the elements contained in the syllabus. Fullmer-Umari, 2000. An Overview of Basic Content

  6. The Primary Elements of the Syllabus An Overview of Basic Content

  7. TheFour Primary Elementsof any syllabus are: TheFour Primary Elementsof any syllabus are: It is from these basic blocks that you build your syllabus. I. Objectives The LearningOBJECTIVES The learning objectives you wrote in Station A.4. This part of the syllabus tells what the student is expected to do, learn, know, perform, etc. in the course. (i.e., “Upon completing the course, students will be able to…”) It is not what the instructor wants to do, such as “Teach the basics of… “ or “Sensitize the student to…” The learning objectives you wrote in Station A.4. This part of the syllabus tells what the student is expected to do, learn, know, perform, etc. in the course. (i.e., “Upon completing the course, students will be able to…”) It is not what the instructor wants to do, such as “Teach the basics of… “ or “Sensitize the student to…” II. Content The LearningCONTENT Your course content. This tells students what information/ subject matter they can expect to cover in the course. Your course content. This tells students what information/ subject matter they can expect to cover in the course. III. Activities The learning activities you wrote in Station A.5 as well as any specific technologies (identified in Station A.7) that you plan to use in support of these learning activities. This tells students what they can expect to be doing in the course (i.e., reading assignments, online discussions, scavenger hunts, lab work…). The learning activities you wrote in Station A.5as well as any specific technologies (identified in Station A.7) that you plan to use in support of these learning activities. This tells students what they can expect to be doing in the course (i.e., reading assignments, online discussions, scavenger hunts, lab work…). The LearningACTIVITIES IV. Assessments PROOFS of the Learning The assessments you wrote in Station A.6as well as any specific technologies (identified in Station A.7) that you plan to use in support of these assessments. This tells students how they are expected to demonstrate their learning in the course (i.e., tests, projects, portfolios…) These mirror the learning objectives above. An Overview of Basic Content

  8. The Generic Course Syllabusis usually the one approved by the department and/or the campus curriculum committee. Notice that it includes: Syllabus The 4 Primary Elements Cell Structures & FunctionBIOL325.101 AS WELL AS common sense itemssuch as… Course Description The official course description listed in the school catalog. This is important for advising and for acceptance of transfer credits. Objectives The learning objectives approved by the department Content A simple 10 item outline of the major concepts to be learned. Activities A list of possible activities acceptable for the course, from which an instructor can choose. A Assessments A list of possible assessments acceptable for the course, from which an instructor can choose. A Objectives Course Title & Number Content A Brief Course Description Activities Make sure this matches the official one in the school catalog. Assessments Common Institutional Policies • the institution’s policy onplagiarism An Overview of Basic Content

  9. ThisGeneric Course Syllabuscould be an overlay for your own course and wouldn’t have to be re-written each semester. It communicates to the student that you are teaching to department/campus expectations. Common Syllabus Cell Structures & Function BIOL325.101 Course Description The official course description listed in the school catalog. This is important for advising and for acceptance of transfer credits. Objectives The learning objectives approved by the department Content A simple 10 item outline of the major concepts to be learned. Activities A list of possible activities acceptable for the course, from which an instructor can choose. Assessments A list of possible assessments acceptable for the course, from which an instructor can choose. Campus/Department Policies Those items such as class attendance, plagiarism, etc. Why is this important? Consider… • What would happen if 5 faculty wrote a completely different syllabus for this same course? ? • What message would that send to students? • Have you asked for the approved syllabus as a place to start your own interpretation? An Overview of Basic Content

  10. The CourseSyllabus and Schedule allows a faculty member tocustomize his/her interpretationof the Generic Course Syllabus by both retainingand elaboratingon the approved document. customize his/her interpretationof the GenericCourse Syllabus by bothretainingandelaboratingonthe approved document. retaining The course title and # Syllabus and Schedule Cell Structures & Function (BIOL325.101) “Retained” items would be… Instructor: Dr. Lerna Lott The Course Description Email: www.URweb.eduPhone:123-456-7890 FAX:123-456-1111 Office Hours: MWF afternoons from 12:30 - 2 and 3:15 - 4:30 “Interpretations/Elaborations” would include such items as… Course Description This should be a replica of what is printed in the course catalog and not new information. Objectives Your interpretation of the common (generic) syllabus objectives. They should be closely aligned, if not identical. Content The approved course content embellished with your style & schedule. Activities The approved learning activities imprinted with your style AND maintaining the intent of the approved activities—clearly supporting the established learning objectives. Assessments The approved learning assessments imprinted with your style AND maintaining the intent of the approved assessments—clearly supporting established learning objectives and your learning activities. Instructor’s Name Contact Information Your customized interpretation of the course An Overview of Basic Content

  11. Other additional customized components include… Your philosophy about teaching and learning • a brief overview of your online teaching philosophy • how you view the student’s online role • a brief overview of your online teaching philosophy • how you view the student’s online role • how you will be grading students’ work • how late assignments will be handled • how you will be grading students’ work • how late assignments will be handled Your Class Policies • Examples include: • how you prefer students to submit their work • (i.e., as email attachments? using the courseware tools?) • how you prefer students to format their work and files Your Special Preferences Training Track B.5: Course Management Strategies contains further practical suggestions you might wish to consider regarding how you may prefer to manage your online course. Fullmer-Umari, 2000; Simon, 2000. An Overview of Basic Content

  12. Making sure you remember to include the components is the point here! How you arrange the components in your syllabus is not important at this step. Syllabus Cell Structures & Function BIOL325.101 Course Title & Number Dr. Lerna Lott www.webU.eduPhone:123-456-7890 FAX:123-456-1111 A Brief Course Description Course Description Objectives Instructor’s Name Class Policies ContentActivitiesDue Your Special Preferences Contact Information Class Policies We will be showing you syllabus design/layout options under Part II: Adapting Your Syllabus for Effective Use Online of this training station. An Overview of Basic Content

  13. Items You Might Include in an Online Syllabus An Overview of Basic Content

  14. Consider that… In the onlineclassroom… In the on-ground classroom… The tone of the course is established by your physical presence in the first class meeting. Your Syllabus establishes that crucial first contact… Your appearance, voice and body language convey/model the tone. Thus, it is the syllabus which sets the tone of the online course. Fullmer-Umari, 2000, p. 96. An Overview of Basic Content

  15. To put your personal stamp on the course from the outset, consider adding the following elements to your syllabus: A biographical sketch This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to students online, much as you might do in any “first class” meeting. You could include: A brief overviewofyour professional experience and education relative to the course A brief descriptionof your teaching philosophy,particularly as it relates to online learning Any hobbies or special interests A clear, up-to-date photo of you. Fullmer-Umari, 2000, p. 96. An Overview of Basic Content

  16. Injecting humor is another way of setting the tone and putting your personal stamp on the course. IF this is part of your teaching style and the kind of tone you want to set for your online class, you might want to include : Some clipart graphics to lighten the mood Assignments An Overview of Basic Content

  17. Links to helpful websites Many online instructors also like to include: • These can include: • sites offering students useful tips for improving their basic study/writing skills. http://www.ohiou.edu/esl/help/index.html Ohio University site with tutorials on technology (web pages, email, etc.) as well as how to find/ evaluate/cite research on the web http://www.ohiou.edu/esl/help/index.html Ohio University site with tutorials on technology (web pages, email, etc.) as well as how to find/ evaluate/cite research on the web • sites related to the specific course subject/discipline http://vlib.org/Science/Cell_Biology/ The WWW Virtual Library of Cell Biology, with myriad links to databases & informational sites relating to all aspects of cell biology from apoptosis (programmed cell death) to signal transduction in cell growth. An Overview of Basic Content

  18. Many online instructors also like to include: FAQ pages for students These can include Frequently Asked Questions about the courseware and support technology as well as common questions about the course itself. FAQ about the technology FAQ about this course An Overview of Basic Content

  19. As your experience with online instruction increases, so, too, will your… ! ! • knowledge of… • effectiveness in… • confidence in… …determining exactly what items to include in youronline syllabi. An Overview of Basic Content

  20. To sum up… An Overview of Basic Content

  21. Summary The purpose of the syllabus is to provide: • the basic information and guidelines of the course • the expectationsof the instructor as well as department • the foundation for measuring the learning experience • the basic information and guidelines of the course • the expectations of the instructor as well as department • the foundation for measuring the learning experience These aims are underscored by the elements contained in the syllabus. These aims are underscored by the elements contained in the syllabus. The 4 primary elements of the syllabus are: The LearningOBJECTIVES + The LearningCONTENTS + The LearningACTIVITIES + PROOFS of the Learning An Overview of Basic Content

  22. Summary TheGeneric Syllabus… • is usually the one approvedby the department and/or campus curriculum committee • includes the 4 primary elements-- the learning objectives… the learning content… the learning activities… proofs of the learning • includes common sense items such as…  the course title & number  a BRIEF description matching the catalog  common institutional policies (such as plagiarism) • communicates to students that you are teaching to the expectations of both the • department and campus. An Overview of Basic Content

  23. allows a faculty member tocustomize his/her interpretationof theGeneric Course Syllabusby retaining & elaborating on the approved document. Summary TheCourseSyllabus and Schedule… Generic Syllabus Cell Structures & Function BIOL325.101 Course Description The official course description listed in the school catalog. This is important for advising and for acceptance of transfer credits. Objectives The learning objectives approved by the department Content A simple 10 item outline of the major concepts to be learned. Activities A list of possible activities acceptable for the course, from which an instructor can choose. Assessments A list of possible assessments acceptable for the course, from which an instructor can choose. Campus/Department Policies Those items such as class attendance, plagiarism, etc. • “Retained Items” include … •  the course name and number • the course description • “Retained Items” include … •  the course name and number • the course description Instructor: Dr. Lerna Lott Email: www.URweb.eduPhone:123-456-7890 FAX:123-456-1111 Office Hours: MWF 12:30 - 2 and 3:15 - 4:30 “Interpretations/Elaborations” include such items as…  your (the instructor’s) name and contact information Objectives Your interpretation of the learning objectives approved by the department/campus. They should be aligned with if not identical to the approved (Generic) syllabus.  yourcustomized interpretation of the course, including: Content The approved embellished course content and schedule that flows with your style. • the learning objectives • the content An Overview of Basic Content

  24. Summary Other additional customized components include… Your philosophy about teaching and learning i.e., your online teaching philosophy….how you view the student’s role online i.e., your online teaching philosophy….how you view the student’s role online Your Class Policies i.e., how you grade…how you handle late assignments, etc. i.e., how you grade…how you handle late assignments, etc. Your Special Preferences i.e., how you prefer students to submit their work, save their work and files, etc. An Overview of Basic Content

  25. Summary And… Because the onlinesyllabus: You might also include: Establishes the first crucial contact with your online students Abiographical sketchof yourself with an up-to-date photo Some graphicsto lighten the mood Thereby… Setting the toneof your online course… Links to helpful sites FAQsre the technology as well as the course itself. An Overview of Basic Content

  26. Conclusion And remember: As your experience with online instruction increases, so, too, will your knowledge, confidence and effectiveness at determining the items to include in your online syllabi. An Overview of Basic Content