Managing Your Course with Simple Syllabus

Nour Al-muhtasib, Assistant Professor, Biology

Nour Al-muhtasib (Biology) shares her use of Simple Syllabus to support an accessible and standardized syllabus format, including engagement tracking capabilities and an easy navigation menu to help students locate what they are looking for in the syllabus.

Instructional Challenges

Nour Al-muhtasib has been teaching at USF since Fall 2022. One of her challenges since teaching at USF has been keeping students updated about schedule changes and maintaining an up-to-date syllabus with current school policies. She emphasized the challenge of deciding what to include in the syllabus and the extra steps required to submit it to the department.

Instructional Solutions

In discussing the benefits of using Simple Syllabus, Nour highlighted the advantages of the syllabus as a web-based document that can be easily updated and saved, reducing the time and effort needed for updating the schedule. She appreciates the uniformity of the syllabus, which makes it easier for students to find information. Nour noted that university policies are pre-populated in the syllabus, and any usability questions and concerns can be quickly addressed by an ETS team member.

Nour noted the benefits of Simple Syllabus as a tool that allows instructors to create and edit their syllabi easily, with a focus on accessibility for students. She noted that students find the platform easy to use and appreciate its features, including an easy to use navigation menu that allows students to choose where they want to go in the syllabus. Instructors can use Simple Syllabus to view metrics on student engagement, which are helpful at gauging which students have read the syllabus and to what extent. Nour shared the benefits of using Simple Syllabus in her Biology courses, noting its ease of use and accessibility features for students.

Lessons Learned

Nour discussed her experiences with the USF Simple Syllabus team, highlighting an issue she encountered while joining multiple sections of a class on Canvas that did not automatically populate the class information as expected. She worked with an ETS team member and expressed appreciation for the team's willingness to find solutions. Nour suggested that Simple Syllabus could also improve by providing more guidance on accessibility.

Overall, she found that using Simple Syllabus provided a uniform syllabus format and made it easier for students to understand and access course information.