This make involves changing the presentation of your syllabus (not so much the content). It’s easy to forget that your syllabus is usually a student’s first impression of your class. That “first impression” is even more important in an online environment. It’s important to be neat and clear but the syllabus can also embody both your personality and the essential elements of the course.
Take a look at some examples of creative syllabi used by instructors:
- David Carr has a syllabus for his communications course, Press Play, that is casual, yet substantive, and the format packs a punch, reflecting the subject matter of the course.
- In her post, The Liquid Syllabus, Michelle Pacansky-Brock has a discussion of how online syllabi today should be fluid (to be easily viewed on smartphones and tablets) rather than print-based (as with PDF files).
- Historian Tona Hangen documents how she gave her syllabus an extreme makeover, creating a more magazine-like format for an otherwise fairly traditional print syllabus. (Here’s a literature course with a similar magazine approach.)
- One high school teacher uses online tools to create syllabi that mimic the comic books and fashion magazines she is teaching about. And University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Lynda Barry uses her skills as a cartoonist to create one-of-a-kind syllabi.
- Some syllabi incorporate visual representations of the relationships between course elements to tell a visual story of the course.
- Try your hand at remaking at least a part of your syllabus–or go for the whole thing! Remember that in an online course, the syllabus can incorporate images, audio, video, gifs, and anything else you think might be helpful to build student interest and communicate your intent.
- Share your tentative syllabus remake in a blog post and explain what you’ve done and why. Is there something you’d like to do but didn’t know how? Note that too.
To get your responses to the right place make sure you’ve tagged your blog post- HackYourSyllabus (Notice it’s a tag, not a category).