Adventures of a Technology Challenged Online Instructor

My (somewhat) Interactive Syllabus – Week 5
My (somewhat) Interactive Syllabus – Week 5 avatar

When starting this week’s assignment, I thought I was going to be ashamed of the fact that my online syllabus is actually a pdf file posted in Blackboard under the “Syllabus” tab.  However, I learned from Lisa’s Elluminate Recording is that my course design does reflect many aspects of an interactive syllabus.

As stated before, I use the Blackboard CMS for my online courses and my content is delivered in a “weekly” format.  Everything that’s due during that specific week is all located in a folder, labeled by Chapter title and due date.  When I was reading Ko & Rosen’s Chapter 5, I related to the highlighted tab that said, “In an online environment, redundancy is often better than elegant succinctness.”   I try to be succinct in my delivery of the material, yet at the same time, I am providing course links throughout the material I provide.  Yes, everything for the week can be found in a single folder, but I do include other content tabs such as “Projects” and “Discussion Board” where students can also find the material they need for the week.  Everything is linked and I have few questions from students asking “where” things are located.

Where I can use some work is in the syllabus itself.  Maybe just uploading a pdf file of the syllabus isn’t enough.  Are students really reading it?  I don’t know.  I like the idea that Lisa used in the Elluminate Recording of actually copying and pasting the text of the syllabus inside the content box instead as well as uploading a separate file.

I also think I’m going to include a low stakes “quiz” of the syllabus during the first few days of class.  Something that’s been difficult for me to manage is student enrollment/drops during the first couple of weeks because students don’t necessarily have to log in right away.  However, if I created a short multiple choice quiz on the syllabus itself and require that students take it within the first few days or get dropped from the class, that may help with me being able to manage my roster more effectively as well.

All in all, I think I’m much better off than I thought I was in this area.  I think with a few minor changes, I can create a more effective syllabus that I know students are reading.




3 Responses to “My (somewhat) Interactive Syllabus – Week 5
My (somewhat) Interactive Syllabus – Week 5 avatar

  1. Norm Wright says:

    I started out using a downloadable syllabus for my face to face classes and eventually moved it to a format that could be viewed right on the web page. I tried providing both forms for a while but the problem for me was that I would forget to include corrections and updates in both places, and that led to problems.

  2. M. Conrey says:

    Yes, I could see where that would lead to problems. I think sometimes when we’re trying to make it easier for the students, we’re making it much more difficult for ourselves!

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