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The Syllabus 3 Ways

headphones, color wheel, and mouse that symbolize the three ways you can create a syllabus: video/audio, graphic, and website

When it comes to creating our syllabus, we talk about it as a way to welcome our students to our course, orient them to our course, and serve as a resource throughout the course. But how do we make our syllabus versatile enough to meet these three goals? Let's talk about three ways to design a dynamic syllabus that will take you from the first day to final grades!


Syllabus Overview Video

A syllabus overview video can help you to emphasize your vision for the course and bring your syllabus to life. If you’re having a synchronous first day of class, students will get a “sneak preview” of you and the course and come to class that first day excited and ready to learn more. If you’re having an asynchronous first day, students will be able to use the overview video to ground them in the course and prepare them for the first week.

Want to get started?

  1. Review an example syllabus overview video to get some ideas.

  2. Identify elements from your syllabus that you will want to include in an overview.

  3. Consider using Easter Eggs in your syllabus overview video as a way to engage your students.


(Info)Graphic Syllabus

A graphic syllabus is a syllabus that uses visual elements to communicate important course information to students. It uses visual storytelling to organize course information in a way that is both engaging and intuitive for students. Depending on how it's designed, a graphic syllabus can also be reused throughout the course. Your course information, for example, can be saved separately and attached to an announcement, discussion board, email, or any other student-facing communication as a reminder for students. Not ready for a full graphic experience? Consider creating a 1-page infographic with "must-know" information!

Want to get started?

  1. Review different approaches, including Give Your Syllabus an Extreme Redesign for the New Year, How to Turn Your Syllabus into an Infographic, Graphic Display of Student Learning Objectives.

  2. Create a storyboard/outline of what items you need to include, where it makes them, and how you can visually represent them.

  3. Consider looking into some design training and development, like the Canva design tutorials and the basics of graphic design.

  4. Check out different programs, such as Piktochart and Canva to see what may be the best fit for you. The example in this lesson was created using Canva.

  5. Learn more about making multimedia artifacts accessible with alt-text and tagging.


Liquid Syllabus

If you're looking for a more holistically transformative experience, you may want to try a liquid syllabus created by Michelle Pacansky-Brock with the intent to humanize the pre-course experience for students. The liquid in liquid syllabus refers to web content that is highly shared or must-read content. The liquid syllabus lives outside of the learning management system and is created using web tools that allow learners to quickly access this resource from any device. Thinking of liquid this way, the liquid syllabus transforms to meet the needs of learners.

Want to get started?

  1. Check out Google Sites for Higher Education webpage filled with example sites to get some inspiration.

  2. Review this dashboard that walks you through the process of creating a liquid syllabus.

  3. Play around with different tools (Google Sites, Sway, Adobe Spark, Canva) to find out which one may work best for you.


Want to explore more ways to transform your teaching? Join us in the OLT Community of Practice!

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