Course design and syllabus construction


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Anne Marchant
Course Design and Syllabus Construction

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Course design and syllabus construction

  1. 1. Course Design and Syllabus Construction Dr. Anne Marchant, Director Center for Teaching and Learning
  2. 2. Learning Objectives for this Module Students completing this lesson will be able to: • Articulate the qualities of a well designed course • Create a well balanced syllabus consistent with best practices • Plan lessons from a student centered perspective.
  3. 3. Warm-up Exercise Think about courses you have taken.  What was the best course you ever had?  What was the worst course you ever took?  What made those experiences really good or bad?
  4. 4. Warm-up Exercise As you go through this presentation, imagine topic you’d like to teach. Think about how it might be broken down into modules. This will help you to internalize the concepts presented here.
  5. 5. Content Learning Outcomes Scaffolding Delivery Mode (e.g. flipped, hybrid) Technology and Media Pedagogy/Andragogy Learning Activities (e.g. individual or collaborative, passive or experiential) Assessment Considerations for Syllabus Construction Course design must be considered at different levels to create the richest possible learning environment.
  6. 6. Curriculum oversight occurs at different levels Departmental Chair and Curriculum Committee University Curriculum Committee and Deans Provost/Office of Academic Affairs Institution Degree Programs Course Non-Degree Programs Course
  7. 7. Course Goals and Learning Objectives Begin planning your course by writing your course goals and learning objectives. • Goals are usually more generalized. (e.g. Students will become experienced practitioners.) • Learning objectives are more specific and should be measureable. (e.g. Students will be able to identify different classes of medications.) Note that you don’t need to specify an objective for everything you teach. Just include enough objectives so that you can measure student achievement as well as assess the effectiveness of your teaching.
  8. 8. One way to do this is in a chart format Objective Measure(s) Direct/indirect Target Articulate fundamental concepts Midterm Final Direct 75% Write about current policy issues using peer reviewed sources Paper Direct 75% Display ability to analyze cases critically Class Discussion Indirect 80% Present effectively iMovie Direct 75%
  9. 9. Teaching Mode What teaching mode will best serve your students?  Think of some considerations. Should your class be face to face or distance? Should it be flipped or hybrid?  What kinds of classes are best done in each mode? Jot down a few ideas.
  10. 10. Flipping Classes are said to be “flipped” when the instructor spends more time as coach and mentor and less time lecturing. Watch Harvard Professor Eric Mazur give a physics lesson (8 minutes).  What makes him a master teacher?
  11. 11. Media and Technology What is the best way to deliver content? Mobile device? Video? Prezi? Google?  Think about the ways you like to get content.
  12. 12. Content: Scaffolding of Knowledge
  13. 13. Content: Be Prepared to Pivot! Students may not learn in the way you planned. While testing is one way to discover this, a polling tool, like Socrative or PollEveryWhere, can help you discover this before a test. So it’s wise to include optional activities in a syllabus to give you some extra time if needed.
  14. 14. Learning Activities Consider what learning is best done individually and what is best done collaboratively.  What are the advantages of collaborative learning?  Consider what type of learning is best done through each of the following: • A passive activity such as reading or reviewing content • An experiential activity (such as lab or demonstration) • A composition activity (such as a paper, website, or presentation) • A reflective activity (such as a blog or journal) • A creative activity (such as creating a model, diagram, or video)
  15. 15. Learning Community Creating an environment in which students have opportunities to teach each other as well as learn from each other, rather than compete, results in the best learning.  What are some ways you have experienced a learning community in your classes?  How can instructors/preceptors help to build a learning community environment?
  16. 16. New Ways to Assess Student Learning • Concept Maps Example: • Competency • e-Portfolio Reeves, Alternative Assessment Approaches for Online Learning. Journal Education Computing Research, 2000.
  17. 17. Syllabus Construction The syllabus is a tool to communicate to students what you will expect of them, but it also lets them know what they can expect of you. What are some strategies you might employ to make your syllabus seem welcoming and pleasant to read?
  18. 18. Syllabus Construction • Have a look at the checklist that accompanies today’s lesson, entitled “Is Your Class High Class?” This checklist, modeled after the “Quality Matters” rubric, is a way to check to see that your syllabus contains everything it should.
  19. 19. Contact Hours • A 3 credit course should have the equivalent of 3 hours of instruction per week for 15 weeks (45 hours total). "Carnegie unit:" 1 credit=15 hours of instruction. • A 3 credit course should require 6 hours of outside activity (sometimes called "proxy hours") per week in a 15 week term (reading, papers, projects, etc.)
  20. 20. Content+Activity=Learning As you lay out a schedule for the course material, think about what activity will best support the learning at each stage. What learning activities are best done at the beginning of a course? Does it make sense to assign most of the reading at the beginning of a course? Why?
  21. 21. Academic Integrity The more isolated a student feels, the more likely cheating is to occur. Using more, lower stakes assignments, open book tests, and group work will discourage cheating. Giving students access to practice tests will help alleviate test anxiety and build confidence. Having a frank discussion about cheating may help too. For discussion: Did you know that in non-credit MOOCS, cheating still occurs. Why is that? What do you think about that?
  22. 22. Selected Resources Flipped Classroom Network Hybrid teaching Distance Education
  23. 23. Practice Take a few minutes and draft your own syllabus for the course or topic you plan to teach. This will help you to remember the concepts we have talked about today and identify any questions you might have.
  24. 24. Questions? • Feel free to email me at