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5 Tips For Online Tutors To Create An Effective Syllabus

  • Feb 2, 2022
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 5 Tips For Online Tutors To Create An Effective Syllabus

So, you’ve finally decided to dip your toe into the world of online tutoring. But how do you even get started? Well, the first order of business is to create a syllabus. Now you’re probably thinking ‘I’ve already designed my lesson plans and they are really comprehensive, so do I really need to create a syllabus as well?’

The answer is a resounding yes.

Your syllabus is a compact document that helps your students and parents understand what to expect from your course. This will prevent a lot of crossed wires as the semester progresses. A well-designed syllabus conveys what your course is about, how you’re going to teach it and why your students should invest their time in learning it. 

Creating a well-rounded syllabus is a little tricky, though. There are four pointers you need to keep in mind before you start. We’ve listed them down below to make things a tad easier for you.

1. Determine the Course Objectives

Your objectives for the course will act as a great starting-point for your syllabus. Here, you can describe the key takeaways for a student who is learning from you. Make sure that the objectives you list are specific and clearly defined, so that the lesson outcomes can be understood from the get-go. A commonly used method to write objectives is the A-B-C-D model - 

  • Audience - Who is your audience or target group? As a tutor, your audience will generally be students.
  • Behavior - Here, you need to describe what the students must be able to do, with action verbs. It needs to be specific and measurable.  For example: Students must be able to define, identify, sketch, predict, etc.
  • Condition - This specifies the situation under which your students will be performing the task. Imagine that the student’s task is to solve five math problems. What would the condition here be? Well, you could say that the student has to finish the task in fifteen minutes. Here, you’re giving them the condition of duration. Take another example where they have to identify the different parts of a plant. The condition here could also be a time duration, or alternatively, it could be ‘given a schematic diagram’. In essence, the condition defines the terms or rules that you set while giving a task.
  • Degree - Your students are really good with historical dates. But how good are they? If they get full marks on a pop quiz, then they’ve managed to list the important events along with corresponding dates with complete accuracy. This is the ‘degree’ in action. It shows us how well a student can perform a particular task. Can they do it fast or accurately? If yes, how fast and how accurately. Answers to this would include: ‘in 60 minutes’, ‘successfully’ or ‘with complete accuracy’. 

A complete learning objective, keeping this model in mind, would sound something like this - “Given a schematic diagram, students should be able to identify and define the different parts of a plant with complete accuracy.”

2. Plan Out a Training Programme

Your training programme will explain how your sessions will be conducted. It includes the training schedule,  roadmap, and the resources used. If you’re an online tutor, then you will also need to specify which applications need to be installed by learners. Commonly used applications in online classrooms include Zoom, Slack, MS Word etc. 

Don’t forget to include how often and through which channels learners can access your course information.  Also, provide details about when to expect announcements, and how learners can contact you if they run into any hurdles along the way.

3. Introduce an Assessment Component

Your students need to thoroughly understand how they will be graded throughout the course. This is where the assessment component comes in. Here, you can talk about what kind of assignments will be given, when the due dates are, and how the grades will be distributed. If you’re planning to conduct tests or pop quizzes, then mention that as well. 

4. Use a Course Calendar

Including the course calendar in your syllabus might seem daunting at first, but you’ll eventually come to realise how much this can help both you and your students. Planning your daily activities can help you stay on track throughout the course duration. It also helps your learners understand what is going to be covered in each session. This means that they will be able to plan and prepare accordingly. A typical course calendar will include a date, topic or agenda and the activities that students will be asked to perform. 

5. Include Everything That’s Left

Apart from the above-mentioned, you should also include the following sections in your syllabus - 

  • Course Description: A brief outline of the course and what will be taught in it
  • Course Details: Add details like the course name, prerequisites, class dates and timings
  • Academic Policies: Tell your students how they can submit their assignments and elucidate your stand on late submission, plagiarised work etc.
  • Attendance Requirement: Here, you will talk about the minimum attendance that’s required from students. 

Hopefully, these points have given you a better idea about how to create your own syllabus. If you’ve still got a few doubts, then our team of experienced tutors will be happy to help. Reach out to us today. 

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