A. Designing Instruction 1. Developing a syllabus Purpose First point of interaction between instructor and student Comprehensive communication to students regarding class expectations Demonstration of the instructor's understanding of students' needs and interests Goals Define students' responsibilities Define instructor's role and responsibility to students Provide a clear statement of intended goals and student outcomes Establish standards and procedures for evaluation Acquaint students with course logistics (especially important for group work and out of class experiences) Establish a pattern of communication between instructor and students Include
difficult to obtain materials such as readings, complex charts, and graphs Getting started Plan your course with process, content, and product goals in mind Define and delimit course content Look over syllabi of other faculty members Think about general questions regarding your course that students may have Keep the syllabus somewhat flexible (different classes may move at a different pace), that is, you may indicate material to be covered weekly rather than per session, or you may provide a revised syllabus midway through the semester Include more rather than less material –
a detailed syllabus is a valuable learning tool for students and lessens their initial anxieties about the course Distribute the syllabus the first day of class Bring extra copies the first few weeks of
class As class progresses, note changes on the syllabus you would make in the future (e.g. topics
that could not be addressed, new topics that came up during class) Syllabus content 2
Basic information–course title, number, meeting time and location, your office location and office hours, your contact information (e-mail, phone number), teaching assistant contact information Overview of course purpose – introduction to subject matter, and its importance to students Learning goals or objectives Course format and activities Course materials
Course assignments, term papers, exams Method of evaluation and grade assignment Course policies – e.g. attendance, late assignments, cheating Course schedule Important dates – e.g. drop
dates for course, exams, assignment due dates Estimate student workload – how much time they
should anticipate spending on various course activities Supplementary material – e.g. how to study
for the class, campus resources for tutoring and academic support, references on topics covered in the course Resources Contributed syllabi for Social and Administrative Science Courses - developed by the Pharmacy Education Resource Network,
Overview Group discussion is an exchange between instructor and students and/or among students on the current topic of concern in the course. It is an excellent alternative to the lecture, especially
when higher order cognitive processes are desired, or when the students have some familiarity
with the topic being discussed. The instructor's and/or student's questions should elicit student interpretations, opinions, and additional questions. Preparation and organization The instructor
must develop questions to clarify the issues to be discussed; organize (e.g., randomly, by similar interest, skill level, etc.) groups to facilitate group discussion; assist with monitoring and facilitating group discussion, as well as summarizing the key issues. Tips for enhancing
a. Be clear what the objectives of holding the discussion are and how it fits into the overall course.
b. If possible, rearrange the seating to allow students to face one another and not make the
instructor the focus of the group. c. If students need to prepare beforehand, provide them with appropriate materials and thought questions to guide their preparation. d. Ask open ended questions such as "why" or questions which have no one right answer. e. Avoid the temptation to
answer your own questions if the students don't respond immediately. Give them time to think. f. Encourage students to speak by the way you respond when they do. Listen carefully and respond
thoughtfully with praise and/or respect for their attempts. g. When the discussion strays or is
being diverted, acts as a process consultant who describes what is happening and brings the group
pack to the central issue. h. At the conclusion of major topics or the end of the session,
summarize what has gone on to bring the group to closure.
III. Other Issues Related to Teaching A. Classroom Policies/Etiquette/Decorum In order to foster a rich and productive learning environment, it is important to establish rules regarding classroom decorum. This will vary based on each instructors' preferences and teaching styles. 1. Discuss pros and cons of various aspects of classroom decorum. The following are examples of areas to cover.
a. Attendance i. Describe the pros and cons of class attendance. Some instructors feel that
attendance is necessary for the student to get the most out of class. Some courses rely heavily on
lecture information, which is provided only in the classroom, and not in textbooks or other
reference materials. In this case, it may be vital that a student attend class. Other instructors feel that attendance is at the discretion of the student. ii. Discuss methods for improving class
attendance. Some instructors "reward" class attendance with pop-quizzes and extra credit points. iii. Describe various methods for taking class attendance. Make it clear in both the syllabus and in
class your position on classroom attendance. If attendance is mandatory, have some objective method for taking attendance (e.g., roll-call, attendance sheet, etc.). Make sure to have a clear definition of attendance. For example, if a student arrives 15 minutes late or leaves 15 minutes early, does that count as "in attendance " Make sure to inform the student of the consequences of
not attending class. iv. Discuss how to incorporate class attendance into the final grade. b.
Behavior Make it clear in both the syllabus and in class (preferably the first class) what your
expectations are regarding late arrivals, early departures, sleeping, reading the newspaper,
studying for other classes, talking, writing notes. Establishing guidelines and providing them upfront can help avoid embarrassing confrontations between students and faculty. i. Describe various aspects of student behavior and how they affect the learning environment. ii. Describe
ways to establish a good learning environment. iii. Describe ways to modify student behavior in the classroom.
d. Define plagiarism