Monday, April 15, 2013

Online Syllabi Using Google Calendar

Time management has always been a critical skill for a student to poses in order to effectively balance their academic and personal lives. Students must constantly be aware of their agenda for each class and how much time to set aside to complete assignments and prepare for exams. Syllabi have always been around to dictate the pace of each course and alert students of upcoming deadlines. But is there a more effective and innovative way?

After numerous discussions with my colleagues and students, I have come to the realization that there definitely is. Professors due their best to remind students about upcoming deadlines and students use their own daily planners and online tools to keep up-to-date. However, there is a more cohesive and technologically friendly way to accomplish these goals.

Professors should consider creating a Google Calendar in the form of their syllabus for each of their class sections. Exam blocks should be scheduled out in addition to project reminders, suggested group meeting times, and most importantly, class times. By then sharing the Google calendar with their students’ - every student would have an extremely useful calendar to keep them up-to-date with everything going on in the class. More importantly, this calendar can be accessed from any computer and most mobile devices 24/7/365.

If all professors employed this method at their institution, each student would have a calendar of their personal appointments and agenda in addition to an overlay of all their classes, assignments, and tasks. Professors often change their syllabi throughout the semester and hand out additional hard copies or upload another online version which can be confusing and inaccurate for some students. This Google- approach scheme allows professors to make modifications to their curriculum on the fly and insures that every student is always up-to-date with latest agenda. A bonus to the student is that each student only has to reference one online file for all their classes and avoid having to sort through multiple hard copies and online syllabi for each class.

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