Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Teaching Online (Part V) - Syllabus

     Does online = more work? Well that depends on your definition of more work (sounds like a politician I know). The truth is online courses are very work intensive upfront, including the creation of your syllabus. Everything has to be laid out and instructions pre-developed either in video or written form. If you make a habit of going over your syllabus in a traditional face to face course you might be surprised how much you ad-lib. In an online course you have to be very detailed for your requirements & expectations. It even helps to give extra explanations especially if you know there are frequently asked questions about certain items.

     Compare it to making an announcement to your class or leaving a note for someone else to make an announcement. For yourself, you probably do not write it down word for word, in fact you may not write anything down at all. For someone else, you think it out and write it down word for word, just the way you want it announced. More work on the front end, but then again you do not have to be there when the announcement is taking place. In the same way, your syllabus for an online course may be a bit longer as they will be solely reading it and not going over it with you (the exception would be if you wanted to go over your syllabus in video form or live via Adobe Connect at the beginning of the course).

     That said, keep these points in mind, along side any school/university guidelines, as you create your syllabus for an online course. Oh...and don't forget to wear the T-shirt!

  • more detailed information
  • online office hours (specific times students can expect you to answer questions online, interact on discussion boards, or grade submitted work)
  • well written directions for course requirements
  • more detailed information
  • clear expectations & explanations for faq's
  • address honor code/cheating...make them aware you are aware (Cheating will be discussed in a later post)
  • other pertinent info & links to resources
  • did I mention more detailed information
Next blog post we will discuss the importance of contacting your students early or as I like to say, "Getting some Folgers in their cup".