The open access movement includes college syllabi, too

With the launch of their Syllabus Tracker tool Utah State University is providing open access to all course syllabi through a functional and user-friendly dashboard.

syllabiThe syllabi that instructors have already uploaded or created in Canvas are pulled into the tracker via the Canvas API.

Administrators and department heads at USU have been in search of a solution for the time consuming and frustrating task of gathering syllabi for all course offerings and providing student access to those syllabi.

The team in the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI) at USU has stepped up to create a practical solution.

Kenneth Larsen, instructional developer for CIDI and creator of the Syllabus Tracker explains, “We wanted to create a tool that would facilitate access to course syllabi and display visual analytics on Canvas syllabi usage.”

John Louviere, director of CIDI defines his organization’s role as “empowering faculty to be successful teachers.” He adds, “Having a syllabus analytics tool provides our faculty sufficient incentive to format and share syllabi with students and the public.”

Louviere explains further that the CIDI instructional designers can use that course data to identify areas that they can assist faculty to improve course design and teaching strategies.

The Syllabus Tracker can filter results and “provides one convenient location for access to course syllabi,” explains Kim Corbin-Lewis, professor & department head of the Communicative Disorders & Deaf Education department at USU.

Corbin-Lewis continues to explain the access to updated and current syllabi for her entire department “helps meet a standard, part of the requirements set by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for the graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology.”

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