(Kurita) Hello, everyone. (Student) Hello. (Kurita) Welcome to “Interactive Teaching” WEEK 5. This week’s topic is “Let’s design a more useful syllabus. In this session, we would like to have the students work in groups on setting objectives, which we covered in the previous sessions regarding learning about a syllabus. (Sato): Today’s activity is rephrasing problematic objectives. I have seen a number of syllabuses written by instructors, and objectives are often problematic. I would like to offer you two cases, so choose either one you like and work on it. The first case relates to the objective for the course Basic Information Science. It goes like this: “Learn about information retrieval methods in libraries and comprehend the basics of information literacy". The other case relates to the objective for the course in Introduction to Philosophy, which goes like this: “The instructor will give lectures on the joy of thinking through an experience of immersing yourself in the world of philosophy. These cases often happen. Let me show you the procedure for the group activities. I think you have already found a lot of problems with these objectives, so the first thing you must do is to write them down on tags. Write one problem for each. Secondly, share your ideas in groups. Organize the tags by pasting them on the top of the poster paper. You may pile up the tags which have the same ideas. Thirdly, make alternative objectives in groups for 10 minutes. The objectives may need more than one sentence; it is OK to write two or three sentences to describe them. Finally, deliver your presentations. Did you get it? Then let’s move on to group work. Discuss these two cases. (Kurita) This group will work on case A and this group will work on case B. (Sato) OK. (Kurita) Yes. (Sato) Let us begin. (Kurita) Go ahead everyone. (Sato) Then, organize your ideas on the poster paper. (Sato) OK. Now, let’s move on to writing alternative objectives. (Sato) Time is up. Let’s move on to presentations. Set up the poster stand. Group B, please wait here, and group A, please bring your paper here. Now, let us begin. (Student) This is group A. We found five problems with this objective. The first problem is that it is unclear regarding limiting the setting to libraries. Secondly, it seems to include multiple objectives. Thirdly, it is hard to grasp the definition of information literacy. Fourthly, information retrieval methods seem to be unspecific. Finally, the words “learn” and “comprehend” are too ambiguous. We have constructed three alternative objectives as follows. The first objective is “be able to obtain theses with Web of Science", a website for searching overseas theses on the internet. You might find numerous theses, so the second objective is “be able to enumerate at least three methods to assess the quality of the information". the quality of the information. The third is “be able to cite the information you obtained appropriately" in your writing assignments and theses. These are the three alternative objectives we made. (Sato) Thank you. What do you think, Prof. Kurita? (Kurita) They rewrote it into better objectives. (Sato) I think so, too. The tool for information retrieval was specified. Whether it is right or wrong to limit the tool to Web of Science is still arguable, but anyway, it is specified. The next objective should be related to the quality of the theses collected with the tool. I assume that several methods to assess the quality of information would be taught in the course. It was good of you to clarify “at least three". The third objective would be further improved by relating it to the first and second objectives, such as “be able to cite the information of the collected theses appropriately in your writing assignments. I think this relates to some part of what the instructor of this course wants students to learn. The most problematic point of this objective is the use of words such as “learn". This verb cannot be an objective. You should write what students should be able to do as a learning outcome; learning itself is not an objective. “Comprehend” is one of the objectives, but this word is unsuitable, because it is too abstract. Its meaning is so broad that you could use this word for describing goals, but not for objectives. As you know, there are several levels of comprehension, so it was good of you to avoid this word. Thank you. Let’s move on to group B’s presentation. (Student) I am Ozawa, the presenter of group B. We found five problems with this troublesome objective. The first problem is that the phrase “the world of philosophy” is not specific. The second is that “immersing yourself in the world of philosophy” sounds somewhat comprehensible, but is too unspecific to evaluate. The third is that it is difficult to evaluate “the joy of thinking". The fourth is that, as it says “the instructor will give lectures,” the subject is an instructor; it should be the students. Finally, the objectives are not listed numerically. So, what you should do to improve this objective is to change the subject from instructor to students, and change the verbs as well, such as “be able to explain,” “be able to debate,” and “be able to apply. Regarding the significance of the course of Introduction to Philosophy, we thought that being able to apply what students had learned about the thoughts of philosophers in the past to specific topics or modern topics would be important. Therefore, the first objective for the alternative plan is “Be able to explain the thoughts of three representative philosophers. This relates to learning about the past, or learning about the thoughts of philosophers in the past. The second objective is “be able to... of three representative philosophers". learned in the course to individual issues. This means having students write individual assignments on how they could solve their private issues by using philosophers’ thoughts. The third objective is as follows “Be able to debate present-day social problems in groups. This topic refers to the representation of social problems generally shared by all people. Students must use philosophical concepts to discover the key to a solution through the act of debating. That’s all. H: Thank you. Group B also did some good work. What I think is especially great is that three objectives were set in steps from low to high level. I think the first objective belongs to the cognitive domain. I assume that the instructor will present several philosophers in his/her course, so it would be better to set the objective in this way: “Be able to briefly explain three of the philosophers introduced in the course". This group was actively discussing what the joy of philosophy is, and they came to the conclusion that solving various kinds of problems related to learners’ daily lives and private matters by applying the thoughts they had learned as part of the course would lead to joy and pleasure. That discussion led to the second objective. Group B was also struggling to incorporate an affective objective. If the issue is about present-day social problems, it is much more difficult to reach a consensus, so they decided to use the verb “debate” for the third objective. If you would like to emphasize how to foster an affective ability, incorporating a phrase such as “respect differences in opinions” would be a good marker of the consideration needed in communication. Thank you. (Kurita) Both groups did a great job in highlighting the problems of the objectives in an appropriate way, and in improving them. I would like all of you to make good use of today’s experience when you need to write objectives in a syllabus for your own course design. That’s all for this session. Thank you. (Sato) Thank you.