Concourse Syllabus Builder on the Web
At the NERCOMP Conference in March 2009 I bumped into Judd Rattner, CEO of Intellidemia andlearned that faculty can now create and share a dynamic syllabus on the Web. Intellidemia, and the online syllabus platform called Concourse, has roots in academia: CEO Rattner is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where the concept was first developed. For the moment, many of the Intellidemia clients are in that region. Concourse, once you think about it, sounds like something someone must have built long ago. ("A Web-based syllabus-builder? Come on.") But, no, as obvious an application as this is, Rattner has not found a similarly powerful tool. In keeping with the move from campus-based applications to Web-based applications, and in keeping with the conversational and ever-changing nature of learning interactions today, a course syllabus that can easily evolve over a semester fits right in with the times. With Concourse, you collaborate on a "master" syllabus, meaning you can have different views of the syllabus for different sections of the same course. You build your syllabus within a standard, yet flexible format, making it easy to search. You can even sync dates with an online calendar, such as Google Calendar. Even if you use a CMS such as Blackboard or Angel, Concourse is a valuable additional tool for you to manage your course. Concourse, unlike a CMS, allows you to make the entire, or just parts of, your syllabus public so it can easily be shared with anyone on the Web. Concourse is one example of moving to Web 2.0. The cultural moment is large and the transition to a different mindset for teaching is daunting. Taking just one step like using a Web-based tool such as Concourse gets you moving.
Trent Batson is the president and CEO of AAEEBL (http://www.aaeebl.org), serving on behalf of the global electronic portfolio community. He was a tenured English professor before moving to information technology administration in the mid-1980s. Batson has been among the leaders in the field of educational technology for 25 years, the last 10 as an electronic portfolio expert and leader. He has worked at 7 universities but is now full-time president and CEO of AAEEBL. Batson’s ePortfolio: http://trentbatsoneportfolio.wordpress.com/ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org