Here is my syllabus for Fall, 2020 in HDFS 1070, a general education lifespan class on individual and family development. The course was fully remote.
Here is my syllabus from Fall 2019, fully in person.
Here are the things I changed/adjusted to be fully remote:
- More office hours: I had WebEx office hours 3 times a week during the scheduled class time
- Videos instead of live lectures: I had recordings of (almost) all my lectures from Fall 2019. I had recorded them for a student with accommodations to view recorded lectures outside of class times. I can’t tell you how many times I said how lucky I was. I emailed this student in August and thanked her. Instead of posting 50 minute lectures, though, I chunked the three 50-minute lectures into about 10 videos per week.
- Introduction videos: In addition to the pre-recorded lectures, I made weekly intro videos (more on these in my next post) in which I went over the week’s topic, reviewed assignments and expectations, and tried to make the class feel more connected/personalized through a range of techniques.
- Exams: My exams were already online. But, I decreased the percent of the grade based on exams from 60% to 50%, and thus increased the percent of grade from assignments.
- Independent assignments: Previously, students completed one weekly online assignment that applied course material to their own experiences – for instance, to take an online life expectancy calculator and answer questions about the feedback. Instead, I added lecture assignments – about one question to answer after each of the week’s 10 videos. Some were just comprehension/recall. Some were more application, such as “think of a movie/TV show/book. What type of love (based on the Triangle of Love) do they demonstrate in this example, and what evidence is there for that type (you may need to consult the textbook to see all of the categories)?”
- Group assignments: In person, I have unannounced, approximately weekly in class assignments that they do in spontaneously formed groups of about three people, where they apply the day’s material to an application question – for instance, “Over Thanksgiving break, your 40-year-old aunt, who learned you took a class on lifespan development, asks you what she should do so that the next couple decades of her life go well. Based on what you learned about MIDLIFE, what are three pieces of advice that you will give her? Make sure each piece of advice is something she can actually act on (e.g., not, “become a grandparent” or “don’t experience menopause”). And, make sure each piece of advice is something we learned in this class, either from lecture or the textbook.” I converted these to weekly online group assignments, to be done during scheduled class time. I assigned groups of 8-9 at the start of the semester, and students could use Blackboard Collaborate or any form they wanted to meet. They had to submit one google doc with their collaborative response. Of all the class design changes, this one caused the most headache for me and the TAs (as I anticipated – I was right!). Students often didn’t actually meet but worked asynchronously. Students complained that they couldn’t meet during the scheduled (class) time. Students complained that some group members didn’t show up but added their name to the google doc, anyway. Not sure how I would do it differently next time, but I would probably do it differently.
- Dropped assignments: I increased the number of each type of assignment that students could drop – generally added one additional drop.
“Introductory Individual and Family Development: Remote, large section class syllabus first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on January 5, 2021.”