Exercise: From a Certain Point of View

Learning Objectives

At the end of this exercise, participants will be able to:

  • Critique a syllabus from a student perspective.
  • Create a visual representation of the syllabus review.

Suggested Materials


  • Presenter display, such as connected television or projector.
  • Various examples of accessible code snippets and workflows, such as alternative text and closed captioning.
  • Sticky notes, easel and post-it sizes.
  • Writing utensils to hand out to participants.
  • Optional: Collaborative Word Cloud generator, such as Mentimeter.


  • Computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Access to a recent course syllabus.
  • Post-it notes and writing utensil (provided by presenter)

Estimated Activity Time

Ninety minutes.

Exercise Outline

We’ve all seen the various comics and images about content questions: “It’s in the syllabus” is a common refrain online, and a Google search returns quite a few image results for this – memes, t-shirts, even face masks.

However, what if the answer to the question is not in the syllabus, or not clearly spelt out.

Or, what happens if the syllabus changes? Did you upload the correct version back to the Learning Management System?

Additional Resource

  • Trauma-Aware Teaching Checklist
    • This checklist has been prepared for higher educators as a tool to reflect on their teaching and courses, regardless of modality. The six principles of trauma-informed care developed by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) are a foundational concept in the trauma field. In this checklist, they are adapted to the field of education to assist teachers in creating more trauma-aware classrooms. For additional basics on trauma awareness, please view these slides: https://bit.ly/olctraumaslides.

Exercise GuidelineS

  • Participants will access a recent, or in-progress, syllabus.
  • Perform a syllabus review using The Syllabus from a Student Perspective checklist.
    • Modality Options:
      • Synchronous: If folks are open to it, ask participants to share syllabi for review with others in the room or over web conference – but make clear that this is a safe space and we are all working together for the same outcome. Nobody should feel obligated to share if they don’t want to. Individual review is totally acceptable.
      • Asynchronous: Review your own syllabus.
        • Optional: share via email or chat channels and/or solicit additional syllabi to review.
  • Consider the rhetoric in your syllabus: Is it in your syllabus punitive, or supportive? Maybe a bit harsh or contractual?
  • Develop a word cloud, leaving out common words (such as; the, and, but, if):
    • What types of words appear most frequently?

Optional: Exercise Debrief

  • Share the word clouds (or their key takeaways).
    • Did other participants have similar patterns or cloud images?
    • Are there opportunities to pair up and review?


Icon for the CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) license

To the extent possible under law, Bay Path University has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Grow Your Own Instructional Designer Workshop Guide, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book