A syllabus is something that people are familiar with from their educational or professional settings. It is a document that provides an outline of the elements covered in a course or seminar. A syllabus is a kind of table of contents for the material to be relayed and traditionally is very static.
You may recall a professor handing out a photocopy of a course syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Its use is often restricted to a reference you visit a handful of times throughout the year.
However, in the digital age, information can be conveyed in non-linear paths. A flexible syllabus can offer a more engaging experience if it uses interactive elements to boost learning.
What Is Interactive Syllabi?
Interactive syllabi resemble a website’s homepage. They give users the ability to click through to the different content elements for easy and immediate access. In making a syllabus interactive, you can also leverage multimedia to boost engagement and pique interest.
For example, a small icon next to each item may cause a short video to play upon clicking. These accompanying videos can introduce each topic and describe why they’re important to the viewer. Other digital media can be used to point to the tools the student will need to complete each unit.
Why Create Interactive Syllabi
Making a syllabus interactive can save time. When you have interactive elements answering basic questions regarding the syllabus, the instructor can focus on the material rather than the logistics of the course. Furthermore, digital audiovisual aids can further increase engagement, conveying the message with optimal effectiveness.
How to Build Interactive Syllabi
There are a couple of different ways to make your syllabus interactive. With an intermediate level of knowledge of Microsoft Word, you can add active links to your syllabus. This can give an otherwise rigid syllabus a slight bit of flexibility.
You can take your interactive syllabus to the next level using Adobe Education Exchange. The platform allows for the intuitive use of audio, video, photos and illustrations to build the ideal syllabus. Adobe’s know-how translates to a resource that allows you to build an appealing and effective course syllabus without the need for programming or graphic design experience.
Imagine a syllabus where each major item is accompanied by a short video explaining key points. Also, a link to a messaging app or an e-mail address can allow students to instantly communicate with you.
If you want to get even craftier, you can update the syllabus to account for changes. A law professor can add a new chapter regarding a new legal precedent that was set, a medical school course can be updated with a chapter concerning newly-discovered therapeutics and a small business owner can add a case study for their prospective clients.
In the digital age of social media, video websites and instant messaging, it seems anticlimactic to serve up photocopied syllabi. Make your syllabi interactive to better serve your students and to make your teaching experience more efficient.