Taking up a course is an important decision and cannot be made impulsively. But sometimes, once you’ve chosen the desired course, you may have certain doubts about what it entails or what is included in the syllabus. You are not the only one! It is a natural feeling among most students who aspire to study that they should at least get a sneak peek at the topics that will be covered in the respective courses.
This is why course outlines are introduced. Courseware design companies in Mumbai such as Stylus Solutions Pvt. Ltd understand that these resources are extremely helpful and significant in terms of helping students understand the course criteria, learning outcomes, course requirements, study material, syllabus, and a tentative idea of assessments and their schedules. It is provided to students to help them understand the purpose of the courses, how they are helpful, and the role of the students who are aspirants.
Reading through the course outline before beginning classes will help students anticipate what is going to be taught to them in class. When courseware design companies in India create these, they do so keeping the students in mind, as this gives them enough time to be mentally prepared about the materials that they will need along with a timeline and an idea about what is going to be expected of them. These course outlines are beneficial to teachers/instructors/facilitators, administrators as well as accreditation agencies to supervise what is being covered in your syllabus or what skills are expected of the students after the completion of the course.
A few highlights to keep in mind with regards to a course outline are:
- Course Description
The University has sources where it mentions such courses and it gets updated and published each year. These sources are ideal places to find the description of the courses which may also contain their outlines for interested candidates. This course description may be a guiding light that will be responsible for nudging students in the direction of a course.
Which topics should be covered in the course? What should be the key points that students should take away once the course is complete? It is crucial to cover all these points and answer all of these questions in your course outline as it is an important form of communication for both instructors as well as students. It also helps students understand the grading structure and the syllabus.
- Learning Outcomes
While creating your course outline, keeping in mind the outcomes is essential as that is your stepping stone to creating an insightful outline. These outcomes are usually verb oriented and directed toward students. For instance, “In this chapter, students will learn about the effects of bromine.” The action word learn is an indicator for thinking and analyzing.
The course outline is also supposed to shed light on the grading system so that students can get an idea of the different elements of the grading system. It gives students an understanding of the weightings given to the various assessment elements. One such example is:
- Written Examination: 50%
- Presentations: 20%
- Participation: 5%
- Journals & Workbooks: 15%
- Class assignments: 10%
While considering the inclusion of various elements of assessment, you can also keep a watch out for grade scales. These will help students understand what their strengths are and what they need to work on. Grade scales can vary between faculties and departments for ease of grading. As a student, it is easier to check this with the faculty or the respective department itself.
This is usually included in the course outline only after all the other factors have been weighed in. Once the assessment elements have been finalized, the list of activities that facilitate learning can be added to achieve the desired outcome. The activities should work in alignment with the assessment plan. The role of activities is to guide students or learners and prepare them keeping the ultimate goal of the course in mind. These activities can include guest lectures, debates, group discussions, group activities, and other gatherings that are relevant to the course content.
The course outline is helpful even to instructors or facilitators to keep a track of what was covered in the last class and what needs to be covered in the next class. It encourages good teaching practices and helps students analyze it thus promoting critical thinking. For students, a course outline is similar to a contract that describes what they are signing up for. Courseware design companies in India understand that need and focus on how it is designed to lessen the anxiety of students as they begin the course.
Planning a course outline in anticipation allows teachers or instructors to think about the lesson objectives, activities, the sequence of the classes, additional reference material, and what is expected out of the students in advance. Courseware design companies in Mumbai such as Stylus Solutions Pvt. Ltd. work along with teachers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to develop these course outlines.