Did you read the syllabus?
Often the syllabus for courses is an exercise in formality of creating a document that we are required to make and ensure students are aware of its existence. Very rarely do the students actually read the document until they find a motivation to go back and look at it.
I switched to an electronic only syllabus years ago to avoid printing so much paper. This year I decided something new and posted my syllabuses (we call them “Page One” at the Tecnológico de Monterrey) as Google documents (the blurred image in the post is an example). This helps in a few ways or at least I think it will since this is an experiment:
- I am training my students to submit written material as a google document so I can give feedback during their writing process. Using it myself for my shared documents makes sense.
- Documents usually have lives spanning days, weeks, months or more and go through edits. I want to show that to my students as well.
- I am able to request my students to “sign” the document to acknowledge that they have “read” the document at the beginning of the semester. Of course they could just sign it without reading (like many people do with real paper contracts) but perhaps this step will convince them to actually read some of the document.
How do you get students to read your syllabus?
Let me know if this interests you or if you have another process in place.