On Monday, January 5, 2015, several faculty participated in our Syllabus Starter and Makeover Challenge workshop where they:
- Accessed Curriculum Central to download their approved course outline.
- Created their visual course syllabus within the parameters of the approved course outline.
- Saved their syllabus as a PDF.
- Used the Laulima Syllabus tool to post their syllabus.
- Created a syllabus activity for their class(es).
Since then, three instructors – Cara Chang, Michael Cawdery, and Kale’a Silva – continued their efforts to successfully complete this workshop by making-over their syllabi into visual syllabi, creating and implementing a syllabus activity, and sharing it with us to share with the online community. They were awarded with the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge. (These digital badges contain detailed information and evidence that can be used in their contract renewal or tenure/promotion dossiers.)
Cara earned the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge.
In Cara’s made-over syllabus, she used different colors, pictures, and quotes to add meaning to her visual syllabus. She included photos and quotes taken from some of her course’s readings. Her syllabus also shows her personality and gives students a preview of her course. She even added a personal touch by including her own haiku to go along with a picture she took in her syllabus.
For Cara’s syllabus activity she divided students into groups and assigned each group a section on the syllabus to annotate and share back with the class. She also had her ENG 24 students take a syllabus quiz on the second day of class. She said that, “Students seemed to remember what was on the syllabus a little better and did better on the syllabus quiz than previous semesters. Students were also more engaged because they asked more questions about my syllabus. [They] seemed to like the different colors because some of them went on Laulima and printed out a color copy even though I had given them a black and white copy in class.”
This is Cara’s standard “before” syllabus for ENG 100 – Composition I.
And this is her made-over “visual” syllabus for ENG 100 using Michele Mahi’s visual syllabus document as a template.
Assistant Professor, Education
Michael earned the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge.
Michael condensed his 13-page standard syllabus into a 6-page visual syllabus that is more organized and meaningful. Information is “chunked” in parts for easier reading, colors are catchy, and relevant images and quotes add context.
For his syllabus activity, he did a scavenger hunt and exploration activity where he “jigsawed” the syllabus into parts and divided it up among small groups to review and then share back with the class.
This is Michael’s standard “before” syllabus for ED 285 – Introduction to Classroom Management.
And this is his made-over “visual” syllabus for ED 285 using Michele Mahi’s visual syllabus document as a template.
Kale’a earned the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge.
Kale’a made-over her syllabi by using colors and blocking of each section to make reading easier. She created hers in Google Slides to take advantage of easily creating and arranging blocks, textboxes, and inserting images with simple click-and-dragging.
For her syllabus activity, Kale’a did a syllabus hunt/group building activity where students were given five main questions regarding information in the syllabus, and answered questions in groups. She applied this to her course, teaching, by asking students to reflect on their schooling experiences and how teachers explain course requirements. They compared the activity they did in her class, to the traditional “read the entire document out loud” method. Students discussed the benefit of community building and cooperative learning to learn information. Kale’a commented that students liked the images, clip art, and quotes used in the new syllabus.
This is Kale’a’s standard “before” syllabus for ED 294 – Introduction to Multicultural Education.
And this is her made-over “visual” syllabus for ED 294.
Kale’a has graciously shared her Google Slides file for others to download as a template to modify for their own syllabus. To make a copy of Kale’a’s syllabus to use as a template for your own, follow these steps:
- Launch the Google Chrome Internet browser (because Chrome allows you to use a bunch of cool fonts in Google Slides) and log into your Google@UH account (Gmail or Drive).
- Click here to open Kale’a’s file in Google Slides and click on File > Make a copy.
- Name your file appropriately and edit in Google Slides as desired.
- When you’re done, to download it as a PDF file, click on File > Download as > PDF Document (.pdf).
To view all syllabus artifacts, click here.
All syllabus artifacts can be viewed and downloaded here, where there is also a basic template available for copying to create your own visual syllabus. If you do make-over your syllabus and found our resources helpful, please submit yours to share too. Or if you’re interested in attending our Syllabus Starter and Makeover Challenge workshop next semester, please look out for the registration information in your email or in the “Week of Welcome” flyer.