Using a "Liquid Syllabus" for Pre-Course Engagement

icons of a laptop, monitor, and mobile devices

One of the problems facing teachers of remote or online courses is that, because nearly all of our course materials are walled off inside a learning management system like Canvas, many students may not know much about the course beyond the generic course description. One way to encourage students to start thinking about your course is by creating what Michelle Pacansky-Brock calls a "liquid syllabus"—one that is more sharable and easier to engage with than a static document sitting in an LMS. It begins with a shift in thinking, according to Pacansky-Brock

What if a course syllabus could transform into a content experience that students really wanted to look at and engage with, as opposed to resource we dictated they "must read."

Much of the point of making a liquid syllabus is to foster what Pacansky-Brock calls "pre-course contact," which (she argues) is

your opportunity to welcome your students, ease their anxieties, make a positive first impression, and ensure they know exactly what they are expected to do that first week and how to do it.

More information about how and why to use a liquid syllabus can be found here and here