Tools: Course Plan Spreadsheet

This is a simple one, but I’m posting it just in case anyone might find it useful.

I initially created this because I wanted to design my syllabus in table form, but I also wanted to output it in a mostly plain text version (e.g. as in the schedule of my current class syllabus). I then found it also makes a nice home for my own planning that’s not part of the syllabus: things like when I’ll give quizzes and in-class writing assignments and what primary and secondary class activities I have planned for each meeting. While planning the course, I entered a rough descriptions of what I planned to do for each class in the “Primary Class Activity” column, and as the session has gone on, I’ve referred back to that while doing my class-by-class preparations (while also accepting that they’re very much subject to change).

Two things to note from my first go round with this:

  • The version I used for the current summer session didn’t include weekends. While I won’t list weekends on the syllabus, it will probably be helpful to include them in this document to make more visible to me where the natural breaks in the schedule are. I am, admittedly, still adapting to the compressed time that is a summer session.

  • “Students will be able to…” is off to the far right, following the Secondary Class Activity. I might bump this over so that it sits next to Class Name. Admittedly, I didn’t ultimately fill this column, and while I do try to incorporate a clear objective into each class session, having this closer to the left as a reminder will probably help.

If you want to plan in this spreadsheet and then output it into a mostly plain text form, you can connect it to a Word document and mail merge the data into it. In my case, I did that, and then copied and pasted it into my syllabus site.

After this session of procrastiwriting, now back to planning my Summer Session II class…

Rob Nguyen