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Open Syllabus

Create services or tools to help guide teachers in creating online classes by harnessing the principles of crowd source and open source.

Photo of James Zhou
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

As our world changes due to the challenges of a global pandemic, teachers are asked to adapt their curriculum, syllabus, and ways of teaching to digitally meet the needs of remote students. For some teachers this is a monumental task, adapting course materials and syllabi that they have honed for years. 

By leveraging the existing principles of crowdsourcing and open source, we can create services and tools that help teachers quickly adapt and evolve their teaching for new modes of learning. We can create communities of teachers who are teaching the same materials to work on the same syllabus together. Or create an opensource syllabus where students can review, comment, and create their syllabi with their teachers. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

The siloed, top to bottom approach to teaching. What if students can have a say in what they want to learn? What if the syllabus can adapt to the needs of curiosity of the students? What if we can remove the burden from teachers who have to come up with everything by themselves? What if we can make what we learn more democractic and diverse?

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

We’re full-time designers and part-time college educators who have been talking about COVID-19, its likely effects on our upcoming fall classes, and what our respective colleges and universities are planning. We ended up brainstorming some ideas addressing a few of the likeliest or trickiest challenges students and teachers may face this fall.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?


1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Naylee Nagda

Hi James, thank you so much for contributing to this challenge! I love that your idea has empathy for teachers and focuses on collaboration rather than starting from the beginning. I am interested if you have tried to use this approach for any of your classes and if there are any interesting takeaways from it?