The Differences in Syllabi Development for Traditional Classes Compared to Online Courses: A Review of the Literature

By James A. West and Amanda J. Shoemaker.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Students in online courses have different needs compared to the traditional student who attends class in a classroom on campus. These needs range from the type of communication, to the course required activities, to completing coursework, to interaction among students. The course syllabus provides the keys to success for students, whether online or in the classroom. However, since their needs are so different, one would expect an exemplary online course syllabus to be different from a classroom-based course syllabus. This article reviews the literature on the differences between online and traditional course syllabi. The article provides recommendations for key components of an online course syllabus.

Keywords: Online Course, Education, Syllabus Development

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.115-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.550MB).

Dr. James A. West

Associate Professor, Instructional Design and Technology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, USA

I am an associate professor in the Department of Instructional Design and Technology at Western Illinois University (WIU). I have taught online courses at WIU as well as at Northern Illinois University. I have also designed and developed e-learning courses for companies such as Sears, Unext, and Career Education. My book (co-written with Margaret L. West), Using Wikis for Online Collaboration, is currently in press through Jossey-Bass. I have presented at many conferences including ISPI, ISPI Europe, AECT, ASTD, the International Distance Learning Conference, and the International Essen Symposium.

Amanda J. Shoemaker

Associate Director, Alumni Association, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, USA

Amanda J. Shoemaker is the Associate Alumni Director at Western Illinois University (WIU). In this role, she is responsible for assisting with management and administration, as well as planning alumni events, coordinating marketing efforts, and advising the Student Alumni Association. She also serves as the webmaster for the alumni website and manages RockeNetwork, WIU’s online social network. Prior to her time at WIU, she was employed at KHQA TV 7 News as an anchor, producer, and reporter. She earned a Bachelor degree in communications, theatre, and political science from Illinois College and a M.S. degree in instructional design and technology from WIU.


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