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How to Make an Interactive Syllabus

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Person looking at checklist on computer screen.

Whether you're new to interactive video or a pro, making an interactive syllabus is a great way to introduce learners to interactivity and keep engagement high.

So...what is an interactive syllabus? Instead of presenting learners with a long document on Day 1 (which may or may not be read), an interactive syllabus guides them through the different sections while also introducing video interactions that range from checks-for-understanding to instructor feedback.

Even more, an interactive syllabus serves as an ever-present guide for different sections of the class, ensuring that learners only progress when they're ready and that content is released in digestible chunks.

Here's how our friends at the University of Arizona reimagined their syllabi with interactive video. If you're interested in building your own interactive syllabus with PlayPosit, we've provided three options below, each with their own quick steps (and plenty of resources along the way!).

Option 1: Personalized instructor introduction

  1. Record yourself talking through the expectations of the course in a conversational format. (fun fact: PlayPosit pairs with Zoom for easy recording).
  2. Embed video interactions at key points, like project due dates, grading formats, etc. so that you can check for understanding or solicit learner feedback.
  3. Assign to learners in PlayPosit (here's how to do that for instructors with an LMS, as well as instructors without an LMS).

What happens once your interactive syllabus has been sent to leaners?

As learners engage with the interactive syllabus, they encounter whatever interactions you've placed in the video. And great news for instructors — you can use PlayPosit's data and analytics tools to monitor engagement and completion of the interactive syllabus video, as your learners are working on it!

Read more: The Learner Experience

Option 2: Slide deck presentations

  1. Take a screencast of your existing slide deck. You can choose to narrate over content or show the deck exclusively.
  2. Similar to Option 1, you'll now add interactions to your video. This is an opportune time to embed interactions that feature yourself, like brief clips or voice recordings that ask learners questions, clarify concepts, or provide examples.
  3. Bonus option — Add a table of contents to your interactive syllabus that links to all of your sections and provides learners with the "big picture" as they're introduced to all the details. Like a traditional syllabus, just digital (and more engaging!).
  4. Assign to your learners.

Option 3: Playlists or living documents 

  1. Time to get fancy. With PlayPosit, you can create individual interactive videos and then group them together as a "course" or playlist. So instead of one video, turn your interactive syllabus into a series of videos. Perfect, too, if you'd like to combine elements of Options 1 and 2 above.
  2. Embed interactions in your video content.
  3. Create your playlist, then add modules and populate with your interactive videos. A sample flow may look like: Grading, Grading Scale, Extra Credit Policy, Cheating Policy, etc. Playlists allow you to break longer content into more digestible chunks, as well as leverage a variety of new or existing materials (AKA: no having to start from scratch — just combine what you've used in the past into an engaging and dynamic playlist!).
  4. Playlists also allow instructors to embed additional content outside of video (text, PDFs, etc.). It's not required, but if you have supplemental materials to include with your videos, playlist are the way to go.
  5. Assign to your learners.

So there you have it, the short and sweet on creating an interactive syllabus for your course. With PlayPosit, you have unlimited options for increasing learner engagement and maximizing the effectiveness of your content.