written by: Laurie Patsalides
• edited by: Donna Cosmato
• updated: 8/31/2015
Are you looking to create a course syllabus with online software? The online syllabus platform, Concourse will do just that and much more. Best yet, the instructor can create an account and begin using the software at no cost. Let’s learn how to get started.
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The Development of Concourse
Founded in March 2007, by CEO Judd Rattner, and Technology Developer, Edward Levie, Intellidemia Inc., from Troy NY is run on a vision. The vision is to streamline and coordinate processes in higher education by providing an online, live syllabus platform.
Course creation begins with the syllabus, and in higher education, the syllabus organizes the course instruction. It is a blueprint, if you will, for the entire course semester. In this way, teachers or instructors prepare a course syllabus to lead the instruction. They map out the course destination to administrators and students with the ultimate goal of meeting course objectives and outcomes.
Intellidemia, started by college students, meets the need for a streamlined and coordinated venue through the Concourse syllabus platform. Concourse, meaning, a process of meeting or coming together, is just the place for all persons involved in the academic process to meet on one centralized syllabus platform, from administrators, to instructors or advance placement (AP) teachers, to students, to accreditors, and even the community. Let’s learn how this is possible.
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A Live Online Venue
Using the Concourse interface, the instructor can organize, share, and analyze the syllabus through a centralized location online and in real time. Administrators and course instructors can collaborate on course expectations, outcomes and assessments. With greater emphasis on excellence and academic standards at colleges and universities this online platform helps to meet accountability benchmarks for everyone involved.
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How Concourse Works
Concourse is user-friendly. You begin at the dashboard. The dashboard is where to create, edit, view, and manage the course syllabus. Whether an administrator, instructor, or a student, each user will use the available features on the dashboard which are applicable to his or her role.
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The Administrator’s Role
The administrator can add the college or university’s expectations, such as pedagogy, policies, or college expectations for the course, to meet accreditation standards to the syllabi. He or she can oversee and guide the syllabus creation process. No longer will he or she have to go on a paper trail looking for or storing documents; they will be in one centralized and stored database.
This is ideal for the college as the accreditation process becomes more and more rigorous, because it shows organization, fluidity and accountability. In addition, the administrator can search the Concourse system for outcomes or assessments by keywords, making it easy to browse course content and academic terms.
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The Instructor’s Role
The instructor enters the course information, assignments, a calendar, lecture notes, office hours and so on, which is formatted as a Word document. The instructor also has the capability to edit the course at any time, in real time, so that the students will not miss the information in an email. Also, he or she can add attachments at any time for the students to read.
After making any changes to the syllabus, the instructor can “Save and Notify" everyone in the course of the change made to the syllabus. This is convenient for the course instructor. No longer will the instructor have to say, “everyone, make this change to the syllabus," it will be made at once and in real time.
The instructor also has the opportunity to collaborate with other instructors about teaching methodologies through the "blueprint" he or she is creating for the course. This would be a superb tool for new instructors to the university to use to glean from their more experienced counterparts.
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The Students' Role
The students use the course syllabus to keep track of course expectations, assignments, examinations and project due dates.
They can also use the course calendar in what is known as, calendar sync. This allows them to synchronize their course calendar to Outlook, Google, iPhone or other digital calendar application with their personal calendar. It assists students in planning and coordinating their schedule making it an organizational tool to develop time management skills.
Likewise, for the students, if a change is made to the syllabus schedule, they will receive the update in real time by virtue of being subscribed to the feed.
In addition, students can preview course syllabi for courses they need to take at a later time, making it convenient for the students and, at the same time, a great marketing tool for the college.
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Who’s Using Concourse?
Currently, Concourse is being used by several colleges and universities including:
• Fulton-Montgomery Community College
• Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
• Roxbury Community College
• Saint Leo University
• Webster University
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A Worthwhile Online Syllabus Platform
Based upon the usability as described above, in summary, the Concourse syllabus platform is:
• accessible in real time,
• and a collaborative tool.
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Concourse Basic: The Free Edition
The best part about Concourse is that instructors and their students can use Concourse Basic, free of charge. Simply visit Concourse to sign up for an account and use the interface. There is a wealth of information on the homepage about Concourse, including, a free manual and guide, tutorials, and more.
With all of the support and information readily available to create a fluid and functional syllabus online, going back to a paper syllabus after using the Concourse syllabus platform would be a laborious task indeed.