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From the Course Description to the Start of the Semester

This is the period during which you are busiest planning your course.

  • Your main guides are the goals you already outlined, which you will have adapted to the degree programs’ requirements. Try to plan accordingly to the goals and continually review what the students need to learn to achieve them. Be realistic and modify the goal descriptions if needed.
  • This way, you gradually fill the syllabus with various topics. Think about how your content intersects and pay special attention to using a diversity of methods and engaging your students over the course of the seminar. You should then refine the (methodological) detailed schedule with an emphasis on process.
  • No matter the discipline, selecting readings, referring to the history of your discipline, or pointing to relevant applied fields and individuals active in them is a good opportunity to bring gender and diversity into focus. Question the usual norms and the established canon and introduce new perspectives and fresh examples that portray a more diverse landscape. More on this under Course Content.
  • About a third of the way through the semester, schedule an interim evaluation.
  • What type of exam is a good match for the course? How can you check the skills they have acquired?  How can you assess performance fairly?

Once the concept of the course has been set, you have administrative questions to resolve. Again, pay attention to gender and diversity in your solutions:

  • Will your course have attendance requirements? If so, do these pose a risk of discriminating against specific students? How can you counter that?
  • Announce all dates and deadlines as early as possible in writing, so that students can plan accordingly or contact you about the feasibility of alternatives.
  • As you plan your course and materials, make sure to keep it as accessible as possible. When you provide readings, make an effort to guarantee the best-quality scans or copies. More on accessibility in teaching here(link) and here (here).
  • If you’re using a learning platform such as Blackboard or Moodle, try to add in all the content and organizational instructions and materials as soon as possible.
  • Find out about your classroom’s location and equipment – including its accessibility for students with disabilities. If necessary, reserve any equipment and moderation materials that you will need.
  • Plan your open office hours at this stage. If you are an adjunct lecturer and don’t have your own office, ask your institute about rooms you can use. The same goes for photocopying quotas.

Version April 2017. Unless otherwise stated, this content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence.