Option 1: Other Items to Consider In Your Syllabus
Outside of the required components that are defined by the Assessment of Student Learning Policy and Procedures, there are a number of items that are well worth considering including. These items include the following:
The University of Lethbridge has a long standing relationship with the Blackfoot Confederacy. The formation of the Iikaisskini (ee-GUS-ganee) Gathering Place on campus is meant to be a gathering place for all on campus to share stories, teachings and wisdom. The name Iikaisskini means “low horn” and is named in honor of Leroy Little Bear (BA, JD, HON. DAS, HON. LL.D) and his tireless service to the University. To help acknowledge and welcome our Indigenous students into our classrooms, a territorial acknowledgement statement has been written for both our main campus in Lethbridge, as well as a dedicated version for our Calgary campus. This statement highlights our ties to the Indigenous peoples and land that our campuses inhabit, and their inclusion helps to remind all of our students of this connection. A short form of the statement that would be appropriate (for the main campus) for inclusion might be:
A version for our Calgary campus might be:
The most current acknowledgement statements can be located here – https://www.uleth.ca/sites/default/files/2019/08/final_territorial_statements_june_2019.pdf
The University of Lethbridge was founded on the principles of Liberal Education. With the recent revitalization of this foundation and the formation of the School of Liberal Education (2017), inclusion of a Liberal Education statement might be helpful for your students. Here is a sample (written by the School of Liberal Education) of a statement that you might want to consider including:
Liberal education has been a community tradition at the University of Lethbridge since its founding. Our principle of Liberal Education is based on four pillars:
- Encouraging breadth of knowledge
- Facilitating connections across disciplines
- Developing critical thinking skills so that our graduates can adapt to ever-changing employment and social conditions
- Emphasizing engaged citizenship in our communities at all levels from the local to the global
More information about our School of Liberal Education can be found here – https://www.uleth.ca/liberal-education
The University of Lethbridge has a very clear policy on Academic Accommodations of Learning for Students with Disabilities. In addition, the Accommodated Learning Centre has a wealth of information (for both Faculty and Students). Including a brief statement acknowledging that your classroom is an accommodating environment will also help those students who require accommodation feel more welcome and included. This statement might look something like this:
In addition to the needs of students who have an identified disability, paying attention to when designing your course material and activities can be very beneficial to ALL of your students. We will spend more time discussing Universal Design for Learning in Option 3: Designing for Online Delivery.
Normally, students require little beyond the required textbook and the ability to make their way to class regularly in order to participate in a face-to-face class. Moving to online delivery brings with it other requirements that should be clearly communicated in the course outline for students. This means thinking about the types of activities you intend to engage the students in (and what is going to be required to participate in those activities). Some questions to consider include the following:
- Will you be holding synchronous (real-time) lectures?
- What platform will you be utilizing to conduct these lectures?
- Will that platform work on a cell phone, a tablet, older computers?
- How fast of an internet connection will be required in order to participate in this type of lecture?
- What types of activities will you be asking the students to engage in?
- Will additional software be required in order to engage in these activities?
- Will students require library access to complete activities/assignments?
A sample technical requirements statement could look something like the following:
Communication in an online course is absolutely vital to ensure student engagement and ultimately success. Creating clear lines of communication are very important, but just as important are the guidelines and expectations for those lines of communication. Creating multiple pathways for communication to take place (both between student and instructor as well as student to student) encourages students to engage in the course and material. The use of email, discussion forums, and online office hours are all methods to help make yourself more accessible to students.
Something to consider though are the expectations associated with each of these forms of communication. For example, if you are encouraging use of email, you may consider the following:
- How long should they expect to wait for a response?
- Do you have times of the day that you dedicate to checking and responding to emails?
- What information do you need in an email to ensure that you are able to quickly answer the question (course title, section, assignment)?
If you are utilizing discussion forums, here are some additional considerations:
- What is the etiquette that you want them to observe in discussions with each other?
- What is an appropriate question for this forum and what should be handled in a more personal and direct manner?
- How often should students be checking a forum like this to address questions?
- Is participation in this type of forum tied to marks in the course?
A great infographic to help outline 15 Rules of Netiquette for Online Discussion Boards can be found here. (Online Education for Higher Ed – Touro College).
If you are going to make use of online office hours, consider the following:
- How will you manage multiple students who want to meet with you at the same time?
- What platform are you going to use for this?
- Will that platform be a barrier for your students?
If you would like feedback from peers and/or facilitators on any aspect of your syllabus or course outcomes, please feel free to share it in the Module Discussion Forum.
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Rooted in Universal Design (UD), UDL expands efforts that guarantee access rights to people with physical challenges to also include ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and ability-based diversity in the design of educational environments, resources and interactions. (Tobin & Behling, 2018)