Become an Innovative Online Nurse Educator

Orienting Students to Your Online Course - 3 Part Series - Part 2: Creating a Syllabus Overview

Dec 17, 2019

Last week we began discussing some ways to help our students be successful in our online courses by making them an orientation video. This week we will continue our discussion of orienting students to your online course by discussing a Syllabus Overview. 

When I think about the first day of class, I always think about my course instructor giving a fairly detailed overview of the course Syllabus. This usually entailed a brief overview of assignments and course expectations. I think this is an important part of acclimating students to a new course and I believe we would be remiss if we did not have a similar activity in our online courses.

Options for creating a syllabus overview:

  • Create a slideshow presentation using screenshots from the syllabus or bullet points to highlight key areas. Options to create a slideshow presentation include:
  • Create a video overview walking through key parts of the Syllabus (see video and audio considerations discussed in Part 1 of this series)
  • A synchronous meeting / office hours session that can be recorded and shared with students who are unable to attend live. Most learning management systems have options for synchronous meeting tools such as Collaborate in Blackboard or Conference in Canvas, but here are a couple of standalone options:

What to include in a syllabus overview

  • Your contact information - Email or other preferred form of contact
    • Also explain how often you will be checking email if possible
  • Office Hours information
  • The course description / objectives and overview
  • Course Textbook
  • Evaluation criteria (percentages of exams and assignments)
  • Overview of assignments which can include
    • Papers
    • Exams
    • Discussion Board assignments
    • Quizzes
  • Question and Answer period

To make this more interactive, I often include polling questions throughout the presentation such as "Which day of the week will I hold Online Office Hours?" This can be included even if the presentation is not done synchronously. 

Are you thinking of creating a Syllabus Overview presentation? Have you ever made one before? Share your thoughts in The Online Educator Facebook group.

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