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The structured online syllabus

September 23, 2010

In today's session, three faculty members showcased course sites they have created using Blackboard (Hunter's course management system). Courses shown ranged from face-to-face courses to hybrid courses to fully online courses. While each presenter had a different approach to course design, the courses had several qualities in common:

  • Clear instructions and objectives
  • Weekly folders mirroring the structure of the syllabus
  • Customized navigation menus
  • Frequent, short assignments for students
  • Frequent opportunities for students to give and receive feedback.

Elaine Gale demonstrated how she structured her course site around the idea of "explore, wrestle, produce." Each learning module in the course contains materials such as readings and YouTube videos (explore), activities that ask students to reflect on the course materials (wrestle), and short assignments to demonstrate what they have learned (produce).

Jeanne Weiler discussed how her thinking about course design has changed over time. While her early courses used the default Blackboard template, her courses evolved to be structured around course topics, and more recently, by weeks of the semester.

Angelo Angelis emphasized the importance of including a consistent sequence of items in weekly folders, adding a variety of activities and course materials, and revisiting links to external sites before making them available to the students. 


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