[10th UTokyo FFP] DAY 3 Syllabus and Course Design

DAY 3 sessions for the 10th UTokyo FFP were held on October 26th and 27th. The main topics were as follows:

  • ・The roles of a syllabus
  • ・Setting goals and objectives of a syllabus
  • ・Course design (creating a graphic syllabus)
  • ・Improving a syllabus into one that promotes learning


A syllabus is not just a tool for students to choose which course to take but is also something that promotes their learning and a tool for instructors to design the course, which can be used as evidence for their achievement in teaching. Participants first learned such significance. In DAY 3 sessions, each participant brings a syllabus made by themselves or an existing syllabus of a course that is similar to his/her own and learns about the topic by improving it.

Firstly, participants made sure what the goals and objectives were, modified their own syllabuses, and further improved them in pairs. Then, the instructor explained “Backward Design,” followed by the course design activity through the creation of a graphic syllabus.

A graphic syllabus is, as it were, a structuralization of what you teach. You can build a 15-class course without giving it much thought, but creating a graphic syllabus enables you to specify that tacit structure, which helps you arrange the topics in an order that makes it easy for students to learn, and explain that arrangement to the students.

The participants were provided with handouts of the UTokyo FFP syllabus with annotations on each item. They compared the handout with the syllabus they brought and found out the points that needed improvement themselves. Then, they shared the points in groups. This activity was intended to help the participants acquire more viewpoints and make use of them to improve their syllabuses.

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