Lighthouse Guides Faculty Through Online Syllabus Process

During the 2009 legislative session, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 2504 requiring public colleges and universities to publish an online syllabus and curriculum vitae for each course and instructor. The requirement, also addressed by ACC Administrative Rule 3.05.002, is intended to help students understand the requirements for a course and make certain essential information publicly available.

Colleges are required to post the information within seven days after the first day of classes, and it must be accessible from the institution’s home webpage through no more than three links. The information must remain posted for at least two years.

ACC has developed the Lighthouse tool to make it easy for faculty to comply with the requirement. The tool, found under “eServices” on the Faculty & Staff webpage, provides step-by-step instructions for adding information in the four content areas specified by the law: Course Requirements, Readings, Course Subjects, and Learning Objectives. Instructors can input other information, and are encouraged to follow the college’s master syllabus checklist to ensure they are providing students with complete and consistent information.

“We recognize that each instructor’s syllabus is unique,” says Mike Midgley, vice president of instruction. “Our goal is to make sure students have the information they need to succeed, without making the process burdensome to faculty.”

Gaye Lynn Scott, dean of social and behavioral sciences, says that after instructors input their syllabi once, they typically only need to update specifics from semester to semester.

Dan Dydek, chair of the Psychology Department, agrees that the Lighthouse program has been easy to use. He adds that posting the required information not only is useful to students, but also faculty and administration.

The online syllabus requirement also applies to Distance Learning and integrated courses. Visit the Syllabus ACC webpage to learn more about the syllabus requirements or to view examples of syllabi.

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