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Monday, October 27, 2008

Basic Elements of an Online Course/Syllabus

Based on my research, I think an online course shell should at a minimum have these basic features:
  • title page
  • introduction to the course
  • course schedule, and a list of objectives and requirements
  • course content arranged into modules
  • Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) file
  • glossary of terms used in the course
  • table of contents, a search engine, and/or index with a roadmap to the course
  • resources page with links to useful external course related information
  • credits page listing the sponsors and the people who have developed the course along with copyright statement

The course objectives should be explicitly outlined on a separate course objectives page. Make the link between the assignments and the course materials clear. Let students know what is expected of them for each individual assignment or test, and for the entire course and examinations. Clearly describe the resources that will be needed and the learning activities that will be undertaken. In that the way, both the instructors and the learners can be confidently aware of the requirements of the course.

The syllabus should show at least the following:
  • number and title of the course,
  • instructor's name and e-mail address,
  • instructor's office and (if available) home page location,
  • instructor's in-person office hours and phone number,
  • course start date, length of the course, and expected time involvement of students,
  • textbook(s) and other materials needed for the course,
  • an outline of the course format and a clear description or exercise in the use of navigational aids used in the course,
  • a concise description of the course content,
  • an evaluation plan and exam and project schedule,
  • an explanation of the forms of student participation and instructor expectations regarding participation, and
  • a list of all students in the class and a description of means for students to communicate online with both the entire class and with individual classmates.