Designing a syllabus can be intimidating and overwhelming for some professors. How do they know that the syllabus is conveying clear objectives and goals? What if students misinterpret the assignments and class policies? Through extensive research, CETL offers KSU professors the opportunity to participate in a syllabus research study that guides professors to design a comprehensive learning-focused syllabus. These methods of syllabus review are based on previous learning-focused design research.
Dr. Michael Palmer, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at University of Virginia, teamed up with Dr. Dorothe Bach and Dr. Adriana Streifer to conduct research on syllabus design that was guided by learning-focused course design, student motivation, and teaching. The article, Measuring the Promise: A Valid and Reliable Syllabus Rubric, highlighted the four focal points of syllabus design: learning goals and objectives, assessment activities, schedule, and overall learning environment. Palmer, Bach and Streifer developed a rubric for scoring learning-focused components of a syllabus.
The syllabus research study conducted by CETL is using Palmer, Bach and Streifers' Learning-Focused Syllabus Rubric to inform the study. During the syllabus reviews, the CETL team will interview, consult, and provide resources for faculty to use in development of their syllabus. The intent of the research is to identify and improve faculty course syllabi by creating a more learning-focused syllabus and raise awareness about learning-centered teaching.
About 50 faculty members are involved in the have study at this point. The study includes an initial consultation and syllabus review as well as reflection and revision followed by a post-review. The study is flexible in time and follows the rhythm of the participants' teaching so that they can time the post-review around the time they will be preparing to teach the course again.
Every semester participants who have completed the entire research study are entered in a raffle for the chance to receive a new iPad Mini. Those interested in receiving a syllabus review and consultation from CETL, can email SyllabusResearch@kennesaw.edu.