Update March 19, 2019: This post is now part of the Open Pedagogy Notebook.
“Democratically co-creating learning outcomes with students, based on their goals for the class, situates them at the center of your pedagogy.” – Christina Katapodis
I have been meaning to write about collaborative syllabus design for ages. This week’s workshop on learner-centered syllabi in GEDI / Grad 5114 combined with a very cool article by Christina Katopodis on Writing Learning Outcomes with Your Students finally got me going. (Thanks to Meg Mulrooney for sending Christina’s article across the Twitterverse a couple days ago.)
We are used to thinking about the syllabus as a kind of “contract” that explains what the course is about, specifies what the requirements are, lists what kind of assessments will be used, and sets out a schedule of activities, lectures and assignments. While these documents serve a purpose, they are often formidable and make for dry reading. And they can marginalize students from courses they should be co-creating rather than taking.
In keeping with a broader shift that I made several years ago to build more collaboration and interaction into the classes I teach, I now think about syllabi as “invitations” to join a learning community. I use the first person plural to indicate that we are all in this together. I set “priorities” for the semester but indicate that the group will have a say in determining how we achieve those goals and that we may identify other topics or issues that warrant exploration along the way. Continue reading “Collaborative Syllabus Design – Students at the Center”