Reflection: #hssvalues Valuing the Syllabus as Scholarship

Last Thursday & Friday I had the tremendous opportunity to attend the Valuing the Syllabus as Scholarship workshop.  It has been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to attend a workshop (as a participant instead of a facilitator!) and my mind is spinning with all sorts of wonderful ideas (and blog posts.) To start to put fingers to keyboard, I want to explain a one of the activities we did in the workshop as I know you may find it as interesting and (immediately) useful.

We spent Thursday morning in small groups discussing a syllabus which came from the Humanities Commons.  (Side note: Humanities Commons is awesome, consider sharing your work there!)  We were clustered into groups of 4-5 people and then asked visualize (in analogue form) the syllabus.  This was a very open prompt (which I of course love!) We were given these “Chart Suggestions “ as a thought starter for our visualizations.

By going through this exercise it opened my eyes to all sorts of objects in a syllabus (from patterns of assignments, to value laden language.) This would be an EXCELLENT exercise for a department/program to go through if they are working on curriculum revisions.

In the afternoon we transitioned into discussing the Humanities Values and ways that these values appear in syllabi.

Humanities Values 1. Equity, 2. Openness, 3. Collegiality, 4. Quality, 5. Community

Finally, we finished the afternoon discussing our own syllabi.  The participants were very open and courageous – it’s not easy to put your work out to be critiqued.  By starting out the morning looking at a “neutral” syllabus, it gave us the language and proficient to be more reflective and critical of our own work.

I’m working on organizing my thoughts for some of the more philosophical discussions that arose – but I wanted to get this up and out there – if anyone in my network would like to run through this exercise, count me in! It was so thought (and action) provoking – and fun!

You can scroll through all of the #hssvalues tweets here and I’ve embedded a few below.