Welcome to Redesigning the Syllabus for Digital Environments

This collaborative learning event will help you write a structurally and discursively appropriate online syllabus.

As part of a five week course called The Art and Science of Teaching Online, this two-hour learning event invites you to conceptualize, collaborate, critique and create an online syllabus for a course you are designing, or preparing to teach online.

As students, we have either carefully read, skimmed or ignored dozens of syllabi. As instructors, our syllabi design may be too comprehensive and elastic, or not enough. What components are necessary to design more than just a document, but a living, breathing online text that engages learners throughout a course, and communicates expectations clearly and concisely?

Adding the words “this course is delivered fully online” does not transform a paper-based syllabus for use in an online course. The online syllabus is a relatively new genre in higher education, and requires close attention to how the document changes and evolves when it lives online. The web mediated syllabus serves many other functions beyond its inherent ones, and becomes more than just a printed text, but a powerful hyperlinked medium to enhance and improve its use as a communication and planning tool to support different methods of online content delivery and online student engagement.

By the end of this two hour learning event, you will walk away:

  • Understanding how and why the genre of the online syllabus differs from the on-campus course syllabus
  • Understanding the specific components that should be included in a syllabus for an online course

You will also take with you:

  • A syllabus template and checklist specifically for online courses
  • Suggested guidelines for writing key components for an online syllabus
  • A repository of resources about online syllabus design

Together, we will:

  • Discuss the implications of the structure and language of a syllabus (Knowledge & Comprehension)
  • Analyze and evaluate syllabi using a rubric to determine their effectiveness for an online
    course (Analysis & Evaluation)
  • Generate a syllabus with the essential components for an online learning environment (Application & Synthesis)

Things to do in this learning event:

  1. Click on the discussion tab above, say hello and let us know you're here by telling us a bit about your experiences reading, or creating syllabi. Tell us what you know, and what question(s) you have about online syllabus design.
  2. Learn about the history of the syllabus.
  3. Explore the components of an online syllabus.
  4. Add your criticism and redesign a syllabus on our Google Docs using the rubric provided.
  5. Design your own online syllabus and share it with the group for a critique.