Writing a Syllabus for a Distance Learning Class
October 3, 2005
You've probably written several syllabi in your academic career, but you may have only written a couple syllabi for distance learning classes. Why should a syllabus for a distance learning class be any different than a syllabus for a campus-based class? All syllabi should be very detailed, but this is especially important in a distance learning class because distance learning students treat the syllabus as their primary source of information about the class. In a distance learning class, students are not able to ask questions about the class, policies, and assignments and get immediate clarification from the instructor. Distance learning students often do class work during weekends and they are very likely to have questions at that time. Those questions often go unanswered if the instructor is not available to answer e-mail and discussion board questions on the weekends. A detailed syllabus can eliminate many of these problems. Some of the details you include will differ from what you include in a syllabus for a campus-based class. For example, your distance learning syllabus will include information on the technology that is being used, tools you are using in myWPI, etc.
A well designed and detailed syllabus can have the following benefits for instructors and students in distance learning classes:
- Students need less clarification on class details, saving time for both instructors and students.
- A syllabus helps students who join a class determine if it is the right class for them, allowing them to drop out if necessary.
- Students have all the details about the class in one document, making it easier for them to find your requirements, policies, etc.
- A detailed syllabus can serve as a contract between students and faculty.
Last modified: Sep 27, 2005, 17:43 EDT