The “Syllabus Upgrade Project”
SCE, like most of the leading academic institutions in Israel and the world, and as part of its development in international spheres, in addition to its broad, internal self-evaluation - began a massive process of syllabus upgrading.
The goal of this project was to evaluate, update and improve the syllabi of all the courses given at the College, so that they would better reflect the learning outcomes and suit international requirements.
Such changes are necessary as part of the quality evaluation processes required by the National Council, and, in parallel, provide opportunities for initiating various student-exchange programs (such as Erasmus+).
Before starting this project, the Center for the Quality Assessment (CQA) studied similar processes executed in Europe and Israel and was assisted by the prior experience gained by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, that had undergone a similar process five years earlier. A second step taken was to plan the project with great diligence, by building a comprehensive support system with a set of relevant tools, made accessible to the lecturers and the administrative staff.
A meeting was held to introduce this self-evaluation process to the academic and administrative staff members, during which its rationale and expected advantages were presented, such as infrastructures and work processes prepared in advance to provide support and make the work more efficient. There were also planned instructional sessions (including special sessions specifically tailored to individual departments’ needs). Certain staff members were assigned and available to answer questions via Email, phones and personally. A variety of online computer files and management/control programs were made accessible. The “Moodle” website included a variety of materials: explanatory presentations; templates for syllabi; discussion groups for asking/answering questions; and registration for instructional sessions.
In parallel, the CQA worked in conjunction with the Data-Systems Department and SCE’s Center for Development to produce a data system that would support the process. This system would be fed the syllabus data and automatically produce a PDF document in the uniform college format that would be uploaded to the SCE portal and to the “Moodle” for each different course. During consecutive semesters, the lecturers were able to access the previous syllabus and make the appropriate changes and updates by merely pressing a button.
This evaluation process demanded many resources from the academic lecturers, the administrative staff and the CPT team, but it enabled SCE to rise to the level of international institutions, by means of improvement and upgrading, not only of the syllabi, but ultimately of the entire teaching process.