Tag Archives: syllabus

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From the Archives: Creating Syllabi

We’ve written quite a lot at ProfHacker about syllabus and course design. Check out 2010’s Archives post or the many posts tagged with syllabus or syllabi. This roundup of posts focuses on the basics of syllabus creation.

What Do You Need to Do?

  • In a previous Archives post on Syllabi and Course Design, I said

    Keep in mind, the first rule of productivity is “don’t fix what’s already working.” If you’re satisfied with the assignments, policies, and course plans you’ve used before,…

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Weekend Reading: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend, ProfHackers! Before we launch into the Weekend Reading, we wanted to take a moment a remember those who have served our country both at home and abroad. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

Laura Miller, writer for Salon.com has broken up with Amazon. Citing the online everything seller’s increasingly monopolistic tactics, she points to the recent scuffle with Hachette books, reported by the New York Times, where Amazon has delayed shipment of certain Hache…

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Best Practices for Accessible Print Document Design

I suspect we’ve all been on the receiving end of poorly-designed documents: pages drowning in enormous gray oceans of text with no navigational cues whatsoever; emphasis indicated by text that is bold, all-caps, italicized, and underlined*; color choices that threaten to damage retinas (or that make text practically unreadable); text so small and margins so narrow that it’s obvious the desire to save paper has trumped the desire for clear communication.

As authors, when we create documents for …

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Why Use an Online Syllabus?

Online syllabusMost of us are now a few weeks into the new semester, and some among us may already be pointing students to our syllabus for answers to their questions about the course.

Syllabuses aren’t exactly a new topic of discussion. George has explained how to create a syllabus using a spreadsheet and a calendar app, and Jason’s taken up the topic of creative syllabuses on more than one occasion. And those are hardly our only posts on the subject.

For a few years now, I’ve been creating my syllabus entire…

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Accessibility Statements on Syllabuses

Accessibility LogoWe’ve discussed accessibility issues before on ProfHacker, including accessibility in the classroom. But as I was designing my syllabuses* for Fall 2013, I realized that we’ve never talked about accessibility statements on syllabuses, which more and more institutions are—happily—mandating.

Many campuses have boilerplate language for accessibility statements (which are, unfortunately, occasionally called “disability statements,” a phrase that itself emphasizes exclusion rather than inclusivity). …

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Time Travel to Plan Your Semester

push to travel Whether your institution requires early submission of your syllabus and course materials, or whether you just have to have to be ready for that first day of class, if you are teaching this fall, you will probably soon be spending some time creating syllabi, assignments, and course websites. Preparing your course outline is just one small part of the chaos of the first week of the fall term, which often brings excitement, pressure, or nervousness both for faculty and students. It’s easy to focus…

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Creative Syllabuses

MissalA couple of weeks ago, I asked for examples of creative or interesting syllabuses that readers wanted to share. “Creative or interesting” is a pretty broad remit: while some of these syllabuses are unlike anything students are used to, others take more conventional forms and tweak them in stylish, intelligent ways. This is turning into an annual thing: here are last year’s results. My own syllabuses are, um, still coming together, so I have nothing to show off, plus I’m not sure “coming up with …

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Git a Fork in My Syllabus, It’s Done

Beautiful Fork

Last month at the annual Computers and Writing Conference, I participated on a roundtable about the role of computational literacy in the field—and in the humanities more generally. One of the points I made during the wide-ranging discussion (and on the backchannel as well) is that world of software development can provide humanists with “actionable metaphors.” I had in mind the collaborative nature of open source code, as well as the necessary emphasis in programming on revision, both exem…

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Asking Students To Revise Your Syllabus

picture of a toy robot

About a month ago, Inside Higher Ed reported on a study (PDF) conducted at the University of Akron on automated essay scoring software. The researchers compared the performance of the software with that of trained human graders on a sample of 22,000 essays. Surprisingly (or not–it is, after all, the 21st century), the Akron team found the differences between computational and human scoring to be minimal. 

Of the many responses to this article, the ones that struck me most were the ones that cri…

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How to Fork a Syllabus on GitHub

A few weeks ago Brian wrote a great post on “Forking Your Syllabus.” Borrowing from discussions with Kathy Harris and Trevor Owen, Brian advanced the idea that

syllabi could learn a trick or two from GitHub. GitHub is a repository for open source code that supports version control . . . . What this means in plain terms is that developers can share code using GitHub and then other developers can add on to that code, with the repository tracking all the changes. If a developer wants to take a pie…