Does syllabus = document in the online world?

Aug 20, 2007 by

My online calculus course just went through “evaluation” today and I was a bit worried about one of my interpretations of the evaluation checklist … a place to report on the evaluation the orientation document and the syllabus.

In the online world, information is always right at your fingertips (a few keystrokes or mouse clicks away). Documents now seem (to me) outdated and inefficient. For example, if all you want to see is the grading policy, then why should you have to read through the whole syllabus to find it?

So I didn’t use documents in my course design… at all. I wasn’t quite sure how this would go over to anyone else, but it made sense to me.

Here’s what I did… I created a folder called “Orientation” with all the startup information in it, organized into another set of folders.

The first folder under “Orientation” was a “Syllabus” folder, organized with another set of subfolders for the specific pieces of the syllabus.

I will have to eventually (not this week) compile this information into a single “document” to give our Instructional Affairs office for their records (which is understandable, for now). But I think that the ability to find exactly the information that is needed… when it is needed… will be a benefit not only to the students, but to me too.

BTW the evaluation turned out fine… orientation and startup done… rest of the semester’s learning activities to go! Setting up a good online class is not for the faint of resolve. I’ve got at least 40 hours of work into the startup alone.

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1 Comment

  1. Mighty Meg

    I think that’s a good idea. Being (at least partially) from the point and click generation, I know that the two or three page syllabi that profs. often give out is a stretch for my attention span. And since syllabi are generally similar, I just skim anyway. One link I might like to see if I were in the class is a “what is different about this class” type link (not pedagogicly [no spelling skills at 6am] speaking, but if you have some funny grading policy or want all tests to be completed while standing on your head or something… like the “nitty gritty, if you read nothing else, read this section” section). Otherwise, I think it’s great! And it certainly will cut down on students having to ask for new copies because they lost theirs. =)

    P.S. I need to make some sort of website to house my contact info, syllabus and course materials… any hints?

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