While a syllabus represents a ‘formal academic agreement’ between an instructor and students, many students don’t read or keep track of the course syllabus. Rather than a schedule of events, a syllabus serves to define how students can successfully meet the objectives of the course. How many times have you and your TAs answered repetitive questions about course policies, due dates, and expectations that could be answered by reading the syllabus? Embedding a ‘living syllabus’ (content, supported by links, built into an online Learning Management System) into the course Blackboard site provides students with 24-7 access to an ‘official document of record’ regarding all course activities and policies. Without such a record, misunderstandings between students and faculty can occur. If you’re ready to take your Blackboard course to a new level, consider building an interactive syllabus for your students. Be sure to include:
- Important course contacts and how to reach them, including office hours
- Text book and course materials including course technology instructions for things such as i>clickers, etc
- A welcome statement that includes your teaching philosophy
- The usual important dates, times, and topics to be discussed
- Rubric or grading schema
- Course Policies
- Academic Integrity Requirements and,
- If available, include links to folders containing your course slides, assignments, or pre-lecture requirements.
Full instructions for building a living syllabus in Blackboard are here.