Chapter 5: Creating an Effective Online Syllabus somehow failed to ‘grab me’ . Unlike previous chapters, it failed to make much of an impression on me. I don’t think I can rightly say why that is either. Maybe it’s because I haven’t actually taught online (yet) and haven’t designed my course to a sufficient stage as to be thinking about the nuts and bolts of the syllabus. That’s not to say that the information wasn’t useful, it’s just that I don’t think I’m in a position to say exactly what information was most useful, or indeed what information might be considered ‘questionable’.
However, reading the chapter has caused me to ponder how I might best ensure and/or establish that learners have actually read the given texts within the course. In my experience discussions often fall flat because insufficient numbers have actually read the material. This is an aspect that I’m keen to make crystal clear within the syllabus. Does anyone have any advice on this?
You might have already guessed that I took away from the chapter the importance of being clear from the outset in your instructions and your expectations for the course. It can be said that the syllabus sets the tone for the course, and if it’s not well structured and the ‘geography’ of the online environment not clearly explained, a lot of precious time and energy will be wasted in the weeks to come. Here, I liked Ko and Rossen’s idea of producing a narrated guide to quickly help orientate the learners and to alleviate any anticipated difficulties (p.121).
The recording of The Interactive Syllabus highlighted the importance of taking account of the amount of clicking a learner will have to do in order to arrive at the required location and gave practical instruction on how how to design this in. It was very useful.
I’m interested to hear how others found this chapter and what they took away from it.