In addition to setting the stage at the beginning of a course with a hearty welcome and robust getting started package, you should also provide students with a detailed syllabus.
The Open SUNY COTE Quality Review rubric recommends sharing the syllabus in two ways:
- The course includes a Course Information area that deconstructs the syllabus for learners in a clear and navigable way.
- A printable syllabus is available to learners (PDF, HTML).
A properly written syllabus helps learners understand what must be accomplished, how it is being measured, and why it matters. It is your contract with students. As a result, great care should be taken to write your syllabus. Here are some different perspectives regarding writing syllabi:
- Syllabus as Manifesto: A Critical Approach to Classroom Culture
- Tonic for the Boring Syllabus
- A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning
- Making the Most of the Syllabus
A successful syllabus has many different sections to adequately steer a learner in the right direction. As noted above, you should present your syllabus in an online course in two different ways.
According to the OSCQR rubric, you should “have a syllabus in an easily printable format such as PDF or HTML, not Word.” Not everyone has a copy of Word on their home computer. Personally, I do not.
As the OSCQR rubric continues, many people like to print the syllabus for easy reference. A single document is easier to print than multi-section documents.
This article provides the steps for uploading your syllabus to Blackboard.
In addition to a single document syllabus, you should also break up your syllabus into logical sections.
“Deconstruction of the syllabus enables learners to find varied, discrete course information quickly with one or two clicks, rather than reading through the entire syllabus document. The preferred format for this section is short documents (one or two screens for easy scrolling) with narrow focus and clear titles.” OSCQR Annotations
Creating separate sections can form the getting started section mentioned in the OSCQR Tips #1 post. The OSCQR Annotations recommends the following categories:
- Contact Information
- Course Schedule
- Course Objectives
- Textbook Information
- Learning Activities
- How You Will Be Evaluated
- Grading Policies
- My Expectations
- Campus Policies and Resources
- Strategies for Success
- Ask a Question (discussion forum)
However, you can add or delete sections to suit your course needs. In the JCC Blackboard course template, we have created a Course Information Documents module, where a number of these sections are already created. They simply need to be localized with your content.
This second OSCQR item focuses on including a syllabus for your course. Not only should you provide a printable syllabus, but you should also break they syllabus down into logical sections to help learners quickly access the content they need.
If you have questions, please stop by and visit the TEI Team.
- ‘I Urge You to Drop E67-02’: Course Syllabi by Famous Authors
- Emerging Learning Technologies (formerly “World is Open with Web Technology”)
- Shadow Syllabus
- OSCQR Tip #1: Welcoming Students and Getting Them Started
- #SUNYCIT Session: The OSCQR Rubric from the Ground Up
- How the JCC Online Course Quality Review Functions