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Creating a Learning-Centered Syllabus

Date: Friday October 21, 2005

For additional workshop details, please click here.


Presented by: Rae Jean B. Goodman and Peter Gray, U.S. Naval Academy

A learning-centered syllabus focuses on student learning and the learning process and, therefore, shifts the course focus from teaching to learning. In this workshop, participants will learn how to construct a syllabus that will facilitate significant learning and communicate to students what they are expected to learn. The workshop will focus, first, on constructing learning outcomes based on significant learning goals, and, second, on using the syllabus to link goals, teaching and learning activities, and feedback and assessment processes. By the end of the workshop, participants will have created a framework for a learning-centered syllabus for their courses.

Here are some former participants’ responses to the question, “What was the one thing you learned in this workshop that you’ll find most useful in your course?”

  • Don’t be afraid to make your syllabus long and detailed.
  • How to re-create a traditional syllabus as a learner-centered one
  • The framework for preparing the syllabus
  • Using syllabus to tie specific course plans to course philosophy
  • Focusing on the learner when creating the syllabus so that the learner takes ownership

Rae Jean B. Goodman
Director of Teaching and Learning and Professor of Economics
U.S. Naval Academy

Rae Jean B. Goodman earned her PhD in Economics from Washington University (St. Louis, MO) in 1976. Her areas of expertise in economics include monetary policy and institutions, economic education and econometrics. She is the Director of Teaching and Learning and Professor of Economics, and has had more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is the first Director of Teaching and Learning and focuses on a program to bring a wide range of teaching and learning related workshops to the Naval Academy Faculty. In addition to faculty workshops and seminars, Dr. Goodman initiated the use of teaching portfolios at the Academy and a series of new faculty teaching and learning workshops. She also helped to create the Instructional Development Support Center which is a centralized, client-oriented support facility intended to introduce emerging educational technologies and to help faculty integrate appropriate technology into the teaching, learning and assessment process. In the area of education, Dr. Goodman’s most recent contributions have been the revision of Advanced Placement Economics (3rd edition) and a presentation at the Lilly Conference on College Teaching at Miami University of Ohio.

Peter J. Gray, Ph. D.
Director of Academic Assessment
United States Naval Academy

Dr. Gray earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Oregon in 1979. His areas of expertise include the assessment of student learning; research on higher education; higher education course, curriculum, and program evaluation; and institutional research. He joined the United States Naval Academy in August 2002, as Director of Academic Assessment where he is responsible for developing and maintaining a broad program of academic assessment. Dr. Gray also teaches a Political Science Research Methods course each semester at USNA. He was Associate Director of the Syracuse University Center for Support of Teaching and Learning from 1984 to 2002.
Dr. Gray is the author of many publications including chapter Roots of assessment: Tensions, solutions, and research Directions in Building a Scholarship of Assessment (Banta, T. W., editor, 2002); The campus-level impact of assessment: Progress, problems, and possibilities. New Directions in Higher Education (number 100, winter 1997, co-edited with Banta); and Viewing assessment as an innovation: Leadership and the change process in this New Directions in Higher Education volume. Dr. Gray chaired the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education Advisory Panel on Student Learning and Assessment that produced the publication, Student learning assessment: Options and resources. He consults nationally and internationally on the topic of assessment of student learning outcomes in higher education.

For additional details, and to Register, please click here.

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