Course Outline Speed Dating

Submitted by: Mel Young, Cambrian College,

Name of Recipe: Course Outline Speed Dating; (some institutions call them a syllabus)

Ingredients: Bring a course outline for each participant at your session. I usually print off from our previously published course outlines, but I do create 3-4 really, really bad course outlines (leaving out important information, having poorly written course outcomes, etc.) to make things interesting during the session.

Method: Have participants get into two lines facing each other, face-to-face. Give each participant a course outline. Tell them that they are going to “Speed Date” a course outline. Essentially, the participant is going to become the course outline. When the host reads the questions to the participants, the participants will answer in first person. For example, if the question is, “What pre-requisites do students need to take your course?” the participant would answer, “The student needs to have Intro Psych in order to take me.” This is quite a chaotic and loud exercise since everyone is talking at once, but it is so much fun! After 3 questions, one of the lines moves right while the other line stays put. Everyone should have a new partner. The host asks another 3 questions, having each pair answer the questions, then the same line moves one spot again. This activity can continue until the questions run out or times up!

Course Outline Speed Dating Questions:

  1. What pre-reqs/co-reqs/equiv. are required to take your course?
  2. Is your course a General Education course?
  3. Is your course eligible for PLAR?
  4. Using the course description, identify 3 key learnings that the course covers.
  5. Which delivery method will your course be presented to students in?
  6. What types of services are offered to students with disabilities? Where should they go/Who should they contact for assistance?
  7. What types of learning experiences should students expect to encounter in this course?
  8. Employers expect our students to have good soft skills. What soft skills are taught in your course?
  9. What textbook(s) are required for your course? Are there any additional resources required?
  10. Look at the weighting of your evaluations. What do the weights communicate to the students?
  11. Do your chosen Vocation Learning Outcomes (VLOs) feed into your Learning Outcomes? Do your Learning Outcomes list relevant Objectives?
  12. Do the assessments adequately evaluate each Learning Outcome to the level of learning indicated in the outcome?
  13. Do the topics outline the major focus(es) of your course?
  14. Look at the verbs used in each learning outcome. What level of learning do they indicate?
  15. Look at the number of Learning Outcomes and Objectives – can a teacher realistically cover all Learning Outcomes and Objectives in your 15 week course?

Special Notes: This game is meant to allow faculty to see the course outlines from the students’ perspective. It may highlight important information that students want to know but may not be there. It may highlight the importance of explaining evaluation criteria and learning outcomes properly. I’ve used this with new faculty that are unfamiliar with our course outlines. We have a standard course outline engine online that is quality checked by the Planning & Research department, so it is important that new faculty understand how course outlines are set up and quality measures are being checked before they begin creating them for their courses.

Acknowledgements: My friend went to a speed dating night and explained the process to me; a colleague explained that faculty in orientation need to see things from the students’ perspective, and a light bulb struck.

References: None

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