How to formalize the course description?
"Formalizing" design choices is fundamental to share your ideas with the teachers of your course and to monitor the effectiveness of your work. In order to support this delicate task, the ENhANCE project delivered a specific TEMPLATE named “COURSE SYLLABUS”: it is a template for a textual document supporting the formalization and the sharing of the main design choices concerning the DEFINITION OF MODULES and TEACHINGS of a COURSE IMPLEMENTING A LOCALIZED CURRICULUM.
A MODULE is defined as:
“one of the parts that a course of study is divided into, which covers a particular subject and often has its own examination”;
In the context of ENhANCE project, modules are defined at the LOCALIZED CURRICULUM level, i.e. in the FLEXIBILITY TOOL; they may usually correspond to one or more Units of Learning Outcomes identified in the EU Curriculum, but they can also be defined crosswise to them (see “Understand how to define the MODULES of your future courses”); modules are characterized by a group of Learning Outcomes which are targeted through specific strategies.
Then the project conventionally adopted the term “TEACHING” to identify:
a specific part of a Module, addressing one or more Learning Outcomes, referring to a specific discipline sector or branch of knowledge and associated to “reference Teacher”; a teaching is also characterized by specific contents, methods and educational materials; assessment methods and tools can also complete a description of a teaching.
The Course Syllabus template includes 4 main sections:
- General Information: this section is aimed to provide an introduction to the main characteristics of the course and a sort of “identity card” of it; an introductive section provides information such as the title, the conferred qualification, the number of awarded ECTS, the total student workload duty, the level of qualification, etc.; then a short course description is provided; a table points out the overall credits distribution and the workload with respect to the main methods adopted in the course; finally some attendance policies are described.
- Modules plans: this section is aimed at linking the teachings to the related modules; a specific table associates each teaching to a progressive code and to the Learning Outcomes addressed by the module.
- Teaching Plans: this section is aimed at detailing the main characteristics of a teaching.
- Course Schedule: this section is aimed at providing a detailed course schedule.
While the descriptions of Section 1, 2 and 4 typically fall under the responsibility of an institution and is carried out by the ‘designers’ (that might or might not be ‘teachers’), Section 3 is definitely responsibility of the single teacher in charge of the specific teaching subject.
In particular, in Section 3, each teaching, associated to a code and to a Reference Teacher, is described in terms of:
- a list of the contents;
- the implemented methods: a first introductive description is required and then, for each method envisaged by the FLEXIBILITY TOOL a specific strategy should be selected and (if possible) explained; in case of online activities, teachers are also invited to detail the main functionalities of the Open Online Tool they are going to use;
- a list of the reference materials of the teaching, such as books, papers, links, etc.
- a general description of the way the assessment is implemented;
- a list of the assessment tools that the teacher is going to use: the list should correspond to the Assessment Matrix .