uoSyllabus: An Innovative Tool in the Service of University Teaching
The Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS), working in collaboration with Information Technology and with the financial support of the Government of Ontario (Ontario’s Productivity and Innovation Fund), is offering professors an innovative tool for designing and managing course syllabi. This tool is called uoSyllabus.
- To access the tool click on the following link: uoSyllabus
- To register to a workshop to learn how to use uoSyllabus: uoSyllabus workshops...
- To download the complete guide: uoSyllabus User Guide - Updated on 12/01/2016
Attention! uoSyllabus works correctly only with the following browsers : Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.
A tool for professors and students
We created the uoSyllabus tool with the needs of both professors and students in mind. In fact, the TLSS already offers new professors as well as regular faculty members training on course design and the creation of syllabi with the goal of generating the most comprehensive documents possible. The uoSyllabus tool uses a simple and user-friendly interface and brings together the best practices in course design currently available in university teaching. It allows professors to manage and archive their syllabi, allowing former students to obtain a copy even several years after graduating.
uoSyllabus is linked to the University of Ottawa’s Student Information system (SIS), meaning that professors will automatically find a list of their courses and the syllabi to be created once they log into the module. uoSyllabus automatically includes the following information:
- Course-related information: the faculty, program, complete course schedule and description, which can be found in the calendar;
- Information relating to the professors(s) for the course: name, email address, telephone number, office hours.
It is also possible to add teaching assistants or laboratory assistants, as well as to provide details regarding their availability and ways of getting in touch with them.
Lastly, uoSyllabus was designed with the utmost respect for the academic freedom of faculty members. There is no compulsory information to be entered and the use of this tool depends upon the requirements of each user.
A tool contributing to the student experience
uoSyllabus is available to all professors at the University of Ottawa. A general adoption by these programs will provide course syllabi of greater consistency with the same quality and quantity of information, thereby allowing students to quickly find the information they require at a specific time.
Moreover, it offers a range of teaching strategies and evaluation methods that may encourage some professors to examine the learning activities best suited to the learning outcomes for their courses. The TLSS team of educational developers is available to support professors in these ongoing improvements of courses. Ultimately, students could benefit from the potential diversification of educational approaches achieved through reflection on these issues during the course design process in uoSyllabus.
Facilitating the accreditation process for professional programs
The module will be able to support the efforts of program committees in writing accreditation reports by including academic program certification or accreditation standards.
The program evaluation specialists at the Centre for Innovative Pedagogies and Digital Learning (CIPDL) understand how complex this evaluation exercise can be. uoSyllabus was also designed to aid academic programs in transforming an accountability exercise into a meaningful ongoing process for improvement.
uoSyllabus allows programs that are accountable to accreditation bodies to specify which courses cover the various standards, the manner in which these standards are taught and evaluated, the kinds of evaluations used, and the teaching strategies adopted.
Special access is available to program directors giving them the ability to retrieve a range of information on the ways in which certification or accreditation standards are being incorporated. The educational developers at the Centre for Innovative Pedagogies and Digital Learning (CIPDL) are also available to facilitate discussions on this data.
Support for programs being evaluated
Similarly, uoSyllabus can also include learning outcomes for programs to facilitate curriculum coherence analyses undertaken as part of a program self-evaluation.
The information generated by uoSyllabus in these cases is essentially the same as for professional programs. This includes which courses cover the various program learning outcomes, how these learning outcomes are taught and evaluated, the kinds of evaluations used, the teaching strategies adopted, and course learning outcomes in conjunction with the program learning outcomes.
A tool being continuously improved, thanks to you!
While uoSyllabus is still in its infancy, it has already garnered praise from its first users. An ongoing improvement process has been put in place and comments from professors will be used to direct changes. uoSyllabus aims to help the university community improve the quality of the overall experience for professors and students alike. This is a completely bilingual tool that complies with accessibility standards and can easily be adapted and used by other universities in Ontario or Canada.