University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We are currently updating all of our degree and course descriptions to reflect our soon to be released catalog. We are being asked to include the syllabus for each course with its description. The problem is that at least a third of the syllabi are not available. Another problem is that they change frequently and, even though we use a CMS, very few of the changes to these syllabi are ever updated on the web, so they become outdated. I am wondering what value we provide by posting the syllabi. Do other college sites post syllabi? If so, how do you keep them current?
Thanks

Views: 91

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

We have a course resources page which lists all of the courses in our Faculty. For course titles that have a website and/or syllabus, there is a corresponding icon next to the title to indicate this. Every year, before the start of the term, we delete all of the syllabi and email the faculty to request new syllabi for their course listings.

I didn't personally see a value to posting syllabi when students would already be recieving them in class, until it was explained to me by a faculty member that some prospective students will look at the syllabus for the course to get a better idea of the course's curriculum (beyond the brief description in our course calendar) before they decide if they want to register for the course or not. For students that are already registered, it's just a convenient way for them to get another copy of the syllabus if they happen to lose theirs.
Several years ago our college had discussions about posting syllabi online. Some faculty wanted it and some faculty insisted that it was a violation of their copyright to make a syllabus of their's public. One faculty member reported that she had had her syllabus stolen and used by an instructor at another institution. I could never get a ruling on whether or not the college had rights to a faculty member's syllabus or not.

We had concerns about faculty making changes to their syllabus after it was posted and not updating the posted copy. That would cause confusion and possible conflicts over which copy was official. I recall buying books for a class off a posted syllabus and then discovering that the reading list had changed by the first day of class.

We made a ruling that we would post whatever a faculty member wanted, but include a disclaimer declaring that the official syllabus is the one handed out in class and that the one posted was subject to change without notice. It wasn't a great solution.

When we absorbed another college into ours, that college had posted all their syllabi and used them as historic documents the students could then send to other schools if they transferred and needed to prove they had met one requirement or another.

So now we have no policy. The University has a way of making syllabi public, but very few faculty take the time to update them. It's a shame, really.
We created an application that allows faculty to post their syllabi online. These are integrated with the online class schedule. The idea was that students could get a better idea of the course before registering for it.

Participation to date has been mediocre. The problem is that class registration begins several months before the semester actually starts and most faculty haven't created the syllabus yet. This isn't necessarily because the faculty don't see the benefit, or are lazy. When I teach, I am usually modifying my syllabus right up until the first day of classes because I want my students using the latest, most relevant materials.

I do think that there is great merit in having syllabi available during the registration process. The answer may be in posting something that isn't quite a full syllabus, but goes well beyond the standard course description.
The value of posting the syllabi is HUGE.

It lets prospective students (either matriculated and considering the course or high school) know what the structure of the course will be and what the readings will be.

The feedback that we get from our faculty is that they highly value it as well because they can share and compare with other folks in their field. They really like when faculty at other schools post theirs.

One professor even has that as a requirement of his grant - that he disseminate syllabi to the rest of the academic community by posting them.

Even if you don't get everyone on board, it is a very good thing, in my opinion.
I am currently a college student at Bentley University. As a college student, I saw the value and benefits for both students and professors that having a centralized database of course syllabi provides. I have taken this opportunity to create a website called SyllabusCentral.com. SyllabusCentral is a very unique service. It allows professors to use the website as a syllabus management system. Professors can easily upload (in any format including .doc, .docx, .rtf) and update their course syllabus on the website. Students can go on the website and view the syllabus or they can download the syllabus to their desktop. Students can also subscribe to a course and when a professor updates the syllabus they will get an email notification.

As previously mentioned there are many benefits to having a centralized syllabus management system for each school. Here is a summary...

1.) Prospective students can look at a course syllabus prior to registering for the course
2.) Students will have the opportunity to order textbooks online at discount prices compared to campus bookstores
3.) Students can easily view or download another copy of the syllabus without having to get a hard copy from the professor
4.) Professors can easily search the SyllabusCentral database and compare their courses to similar courses at other institutions
5.) Creates a paperless classroom perfect to "go green"
6.) Coaches of sports teams can stay on top of when their athletes have important exams
7.) Transfer students can easily get an electronic copy of the syllabus usually required to get course credit

SyllabusCentral also currently offers a course/professor rating system designed to ask similar questions as the student evaluations that institutions administer at the end of each semester. If we work directly with an institution we can work with them to create a custom evaluation system.

I thought that I would put my website out there for discussion. If you are interested in seeing what an established university looks like on SyllabusCentral you can view it for Bentley University at http://syllabuscentral.com/SearchState.php?state=22&college=213....

I would appreciation all feedback that anyone can provide.

Andrew
Andrew,
That looks great.
Your 7 points are spot-on.
The only drawback is the "rate a professor" feature.
I would be hard-pressed to think of a professor who would willingly contribute their syllabus to a system where they could be lambasted in public.
Also, the advertising support of a service like "College Paper Doctor" would be a no-no with any university with an honor code.
DNI,

Thanks for the feedback. Any input is appreciated. Right now I am trying to figure out what is the best way to go with the website. I am basically weighing two options and would like to get some advice.

Here are my options:

1.) Right now the site is setup to be more geared as a resource for students hence the reviews system and rating system. It is setup to give students the power to make an educated decision on a professor, but this setup might prevent professors from posting their syllabus and prevent universities from backing the website.

2.) The second option is to market directly as a syllabi management system for universities and professors. With this setup I would work directly with universities. I wouldn't have the ratings and reviews, but instead work directly with universities to create a custom Student Evaluation form that they could require their students to fill out. With this option I would also not display ad for services such as "College Paper Doctor".

I would appreciate everyone's opinion on which direction I should go with the website. Do you think a university would back a website like SyllabusCentral as described in option #2 above?

I appreciate any input,
Andrew

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Profile IconTracey Vellidis and Mikey Greenland joined University Web Developers
Jan 14
Sara Kisseberth posted a discussion

Archived magazine stories

Greetings,What are you all doing online with "old" magazine stories? Do you delete issues after so  many years? 5 years? 10? I'm torn between keeping all on for historical purposes or keeping just a few years online to simplify the site (ala Gerry McGovern.) Curious as to what you see best practices being.ThanksSara KisseberthBluffton Universitywww.bluffton.eduSee More
Jun 10, 2020
Erin Jorgensen posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit

The HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit is a one-day, online conference about digital accessibility in higher education happening June 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.Join in to learn best practices, share stories and connect with your higher ed peers on topics including social media accessibility, web development, user experience and more. Sessions are designed to boost knowledge at every level, from accessibility beginners to technical experts. Conference registration is $25, with…See More
May 29, 2020
Erin Jorgensen is now a member of University Web Developers
May 29, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference - ONLINE

October 19-20, 2020https://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us ONLINE for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. In 2020, the Conference will be held completely online, offering multiple tracks of streamed presentations, live…See More
May 3, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Throughout April, we're hosting webcasts exploring how colleges and universities across North America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Register for the series today! https://bit.ly/2xsXhK9"
Apr 13, 2020
Christelle Lachapelle is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 6, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Download our latest white paper to learn how the demographics of today’s higher ed learners are shifting, and how schools can adapt to meet the needs of these new learners. https://bit.ly/2wTKdgB"
Mar 31, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join our next webcast with Amrit Ahluwalia from The EvoLLLution to learn about the new "modern learner" in higher education. https://bit.ly/2UuDh2I"
Mar 30, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"As we ride out the latest developments and impact of the coronavirus, there's no better time than now to learn the three Bs of crisis planning. http://bit.ly/2ITVkc2"
Mar 16, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your college or university prepared to meet the challenges that come with disasters and emergencies like the coronavirus? Learn how your CMS can help. http://bit.ly/2TUZUM8"
Mar 12, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Can’t afford the time and money to launch a comprehensive guided pathways model? Register for our FREE webcast to learn tricks for simulating a digital guided pathways experience."
Feb 21, 2020
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"With college enrollment decreasing for the 8th year in a row, boosting your college or university marketing efforts is more important than ever. Here's how to get started. http://bit.ly/2vTQAzz"
Feb 20, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference

October 18-21, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USAhttps://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. With 100+ diverse sessions, an outstanding keynote presentation, intensive workshops, and engaging networking events,…See More
Feb 19, 2020
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Call for Proposals is Open!

The 2020 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb) will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, this October 18-21 — and the call for proposals is now open! As a digital professional in higher education, we know you have great ideas and experiences to share. From developers, marketers and programmers to managers, designers, writers and all team members in-between, HighEdWeb provides valuable professional development for all who want to explore the unique…See More
Feb 14, 2020
Christine Boehler shared Sara Clark's discussion on Facebook
Feb 14, 2020
Christine Boehler is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 14, 2020
Brian Bell joined Kevin Daum's group
Feb 14, 2020
Brian Bell joined Mark Greenfield's group
Feb 14, 2020
Kenneth George is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 13, 2020

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2021   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service