I’m part of a wonderfully resourceful group on Facebook that offers support, suggestions, advice, guidance, etc. for media professors all over the country (world). Right before fall classes began Shawn Montano shared his extremely creative and inspiring Pinterest syllabus board. I was so impressed with the creative ways professors were constructing their syllabi I decided t to re-work my own syllabi 2 days before classes started. Graphic design is definitely not my strength, creatively or skillfully. I played around with a few programs that seemed really helpful, but given that I had only 48 hours to do this, I needed something with virtually no learning curve. So I just went with Word and modified the “newsletter” templates to work for syllabi. I’m pretty proud of the results given that this was my first attempt at anything like this. Someday I hope to have some as beautiful and fun as the ones on the Pinterest boards, but for now, this is a huge improvement from my earlier syllabi.
I’ve received positive feedback from students who have mentioned that it’s a lot easier to read and they like having all the important dates pop out at them in one spot. I’d like to say it’s cut down on emails from students asking unnecessary questions (you know, the ones you that you can’t help but roll your eyes at and sigh and scream at the monitor, “IT’S ON THE SYLLABUS! You know, that document I spent days preparing for YOUR benefit! For heaven’s sake just READ IT”). But it’s only the third week of class so that is yet to be determined.
Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the inspiration from the Facebook group – thanks to all 1,400+ of you for your continual inspiration and collective resources. If you’re a media professor interested in joining this vibrant, active, and awesome group, let me know and I can send you the invite. Also appreciate Shawn and Pinterest for curating all these great ideas. This was a reminder that when we talk about social media in the classroom, we need to also consider the ways it can be useful for all the “behind-the-scenes” teaching resources too.