Have you ever wondered why San Jacinto College creates a standard syllabus for each of its courses to be used by the faculty? We asked Dr. Catherine O’Brien, Associate Vice Chancellor for Learning, to help answer that question.
“Legislation requires all colleges to post the course syllabus online for students. San Jacinto developed a single, district-wide syllabus template and a process whereby changes made in a single location can be pushed out in multiple formats. That means that the course syllabus in SOS, as well as on the college website, reflects the most recent curriculum revisions. The beauty of the system is that it also allows us to make a single revision to the honesty statement, emergency notification, the disability statement and other pertinent information, and it will be reflected in the next version of the course syllabus. Each time a course section is created for fall, spring or summer, a new syllabus is simultaneously developed. To this end, it is important for faculty to check their courses in SOS prior to each semester.”
Detailed instructions on the process is available via this link: Accessing Your Course Syllabus in SOS.
These instructions are also available within the basic template provided for each course in Blackboard. For additional assistance, contact your campus Instructional Designer.
The best part about the ACAdemic training I received at the end of last semester was the confidence it gave me to go out and try new approaches for how to bring the information and ideas I convey to my students. In a very non-threatening environment with responsive assistance, I was tasked with creating new communication forums, different lesson approaches, and just an overall creative vision of how I interact with my students in both online classes and in my face-to-face sessions.
One significant take-away I had was that the changes don’t have to drastic to be effective; sometimes just giving students some options will help them think different and try harder. Students learn in a variety of ways and appreciate when we make an effort to reach them in innovative ways. My experience with ACAdemic was so positive, I’ve incorporated many ideas already this summer, and I’m eager to introduce some new perspectives for the new semester. Several students wrote to tell me that they enjoyed the new, creative activities I incorporated as a direct result of ACAdemic.
Part of what we did to introduce ourselves in ACAdemic was to create a 30-second film clip using a very user-freindly website called Animoto. This summer I had my online literature students analyze a poem using images and music on this site for a daily grade. Almost all of the students turned in the assignment much earlier than the deadline (that doesn’t happen very often!) and several students mentioned how much they liked the project despite initial misgivings about understanding the technology. Here’s a sample with a representative student comment:
I really like this assignment a lot! My video is over Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” Here is the link to it: http://animoto.com/play/VWgrQNLVe0Pr1ykZ42iqjw
Today the EdTech department launched a new professional development series for SJC – ACAdemic Learning. This training provides faculty a basic background in educational design principles and teaching methods. Content will focus around keeping learning active, collaborative and authentic. ACAdemic Learning is now the required standard for online and hybrid faculty certification.
ACAdemic Learning is an 8-week course taught through a hybrid format. All sections will take place online, however, there is a synchronous discussion that is occurs during the second-week of the course. This discussion will be scheduled face-to-face, with the potential to use ITV or video chat tools as necessary, to meet the needs of participants.
It is important to point out, that because ACAdemic Learning does not focus on the technical aspects of using the Blackboard LMS, but on effective design and teaching principles, it is a more time-intensive course. This means that faculty teaching online in the Summer or Fall, who still need certification, are encouraged to enroll and participate in an ACAdemic Learning section starting as soon as possible. All interested faculty are encouraged to sign up and complete the course but the current requirement is only for faculty teaching hybrid or online courses for the first time.