Speaker 1: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Good morning, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us today bright and early last at OTAN, TDLS. If you can write your name and your agency in the chat just so we know where everyone is from, you can introduce yourself, that would be wonderful. My name is Rita Van Dyke-Kao. And I'm an ESL faculty member and department chair at Santiago Canyon College.

So ESL instruction and coordination is kind of my wheelhouse. And I'm very passionate about advocating for our ESL students, but really for all adult students. And in my college, I'm coordinating some initiatives like guided pathways for non-credit, professional development for non-credit instructors. And so the liquid syllabus is something that has been on my radar for not very long really, maybe a year, but it's something that I think is a really wonderful tool where we can promote equity minded practices with our students. So welcome again. I'm going to share my screen now.

And I see lots of people are engaging in the chat, so please keep that up. Any time you have questions, Neda, will be monitoring the chat. And every so often, I'll ask her if there are questions. And if you do have a pressing question, you're also welcome to unmute yourself so that we can make this as interactive as possible. All right, let's jump in.

OK, so The Liquid Syllabus Welcoming Online Students at the Front Door. Is anybody familiar with this term the liquid syllabus? Or was this maybe something you heard for the first time? So in the chat, could you say you're new to this idea or you've heard of it before? First time, OK, lots of people saying first time. Awesome. OK, yeah. Heard of it, but want to learn more. Yeah, maybe you've heard of it, but you're like, What? What does it mean? What is it? So we'll discuss that today.

All right, so just a very general brief agenda what we'll be doing from 8:30 to 10 o'clock today, we'll talk briefly about the syllabus, just give an introduction about it, do an activity and a short discussion. And we'll jump into equity-minded practices. And we'll be focusing especially on the welcoming practice as we're talking about the liquid syllabus. And then the main part of the presentation is the Google Sites demonstration. So this is the tool that I have been using for the liquid syllabus. There are other tools you can use, but Google Sites is I think one of the best. It's free, and it's a very versatile.

All right, so we're going to jump right in and do our Jamboard Group Activity. If you're new to Jamboard, it's not too difficult. I think it's become a very popular Google app. So Neda, I don't know, do you have the link there for us.

Neda Anasseri: I do. And I just posted it in the chat.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Thank you so much.

Neda Anasseri: You're welcome.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: So Neda just post it in the chat the Jamboard link. If you click on that, it will take you to our Jamboard, and there are a few pages with questions on it. And what I'll do is I'll share that right now. I saw that a bunch of people already who have joined. So once you get to Jamboard, you'll see that on the top, there's four slides. I think I just have three that are populated though. And each one will have a question on it.

The first slide is number one, what three words come to mind when you hear the words syllabus? So think of three words or maybe short phrases when you hear the words syllabus. So what you'll do is on the left of your screen, there's a control panel here and a sticky note, that's the one you want to click on. Click on the sticky note and then you can type in those three words, and click Save. OK, so let's see. Awesome. We got our first answers.

All right, so once you had your sticky note, you can actually move it around so that we can see everything. You can also resize it. Perfect. All right. Is anybody having Trouble are you guys doing OK I got 5 answers so far. Feel free to unmute yourself if you're having some trouble. , All right we're getting lots more now. OK. Or maybe you're just thinking of those three words, I don't know.

OK, so let's just read some of these now. Clarity, absolutely, when we think about the syllabus, we think about making things clear to our students. Information, absolutely. Expectations, OK. The big pink one road map, plan. All right. Overview of the class, yes. Overview, again. Schedule, expectations, that word is coming up again.

OK, this one's interesting, difficult for students. Required. Yeah, so maybe your department or your administrator, coordinator requires that you submit a syllabus, and that it's given to students. Maybe even a requirement is that it must be given on the first day of class or something like that. Schedule. Structure goals, expectations. I'm moving this one here. Map, expectations communication. So map is coming up again. And then on the bottom here, we have grades, contact info, and expectations again. All right. Expectations came up at least four times.

All right. Well, thank you guys so much. Neda, was there anything in the chat that I needed to pay attention to?

Neda Anasseri: Just admiration for Jamboard so far.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: You're not familiar with Jamboard. It's wonderful, and it's really a great instructional tool as well that you can use in your classroom. OK, so those are the three words that come to mind when we hear the words syllabus. All right, let's kind of bookmark that for now and go to the second page. So on the top, you'll see those arrows and you can go to page two. And the question is on the green sticky note. Is the syllabus important to you as an instructor? And if so, in what ways?

Already have one answer. Thank you. So again, if you're just joining us, we're on the Jamboard, page two. And you're going to go to the left here where it says Sticky note. Click Sticky note and type in your answer.

Neda Anasseri: And Rita, if you don't mind reminding us how to navigate between the pages again.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Yes. So on the top of the Jamboard page, you'll see a kind of a computer screen that'll say 1 out of 4. There is an arrow next to it that says Next frame, and that will take you to page two, or the second frame. So again, it's right on the top here. All right, wonderful. The answers are coming in. Yeah, and you can change colors if you want. You can go pink or green or blue. You can resize it.

And I'm just using the Sticky note tool right now for Jamboard, but there are other tools that you can use with your students. All right, just resizing some of these so we can read it better. OK. Let's read through some of these answers to question number two. So is it important to you as an instructor? Yes, to give students direction. For sure. Yes, because it sets expectations for students. It gives me my roadmap for completing the syllabus for the students. So the roadmap may be for your students, but it could also be for you as an instructor.

Helps me to get organized. It is important to me, also to see my learning outcomes to be sure my plan leads to those outcomes. Oh, excellent. So someone's mentioning SLOs here. No, but I would like it to be a more useful tool for students. Well, wonderful. Thank you for coming. You're in the right place. Yes, it is a great tool for students to find ways to contact the instructor and keep track of course schedules. It's important, but open for improvement. Wonderful.

It helps focus your class and it's an organizational device. It's my plan, also provides a guide for students. So there's-- somebody's mentioned students. Sorry, I'm moving this here. Students who want to work ahead. All right. Yes, answers many questions that students have when starting a program and keeps me structured. Right. So often when students have questions, maybe their answer is in the syllabus itself. So I see that word structure is coming back, organization, plan, road map.

All right. OK, so that's number two. We have one more Jamboard frame. If you move over to page three-- just want to get your ideas on number three here. What does your syllabus-- so just pick a syllabus from, really, any class that you are teaching now or have taught-- what does your syllabus convey about the culture of your class? The syllabus communicates a message about your class. What is it communicating to your students?

Great. OK, we're getting some answers in. Yeah, sometimes two people move their sticky note at the same time and it ends up in the same place. I'm just going to make this one a little bigger. There we go. OK. So as more answers are coming in, let me just read some of these. So we're specifically thinking about our own syllabi right now. What does my syllabus communicate? So up here in yellow that it is a welcoming environment. Oh, wonderful. And that's really one of the main things we'll be talking about today. How can we make our classroom welcoming and using the tool of the syllabus.

Flexibility. All right. That is a really interesting answer because often, the syllabus is not flexible, traditionally speaking. The green one here-- actually not sure. That this is a real class. OK. The syllabus lends legitimacy to my class. This is real. Easy accessibility to reach instructor-- contact information, I suppose. Welcoming, structure. A clear understanding of expectations, and welcoming again. Two welcomings, I love it.

Structure and rigor. Awesome. And on the bottom here, underscores student participation in class. So focused on students here and that we really need them to participate. And the orange one, organization of the class, my preparation and desire to communicate with them so they can be successful in the course. Wonderful. Right, we want our students to be successful. How do we communicate that through the syllabus? How do we communicate the hope that we have, the expectation that they will be successful?

How do we validate their abilities and their skills? OK. Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing those ideas with us. I think the answers that you shared really communicate that you have thought about the syllabus, and maybe this discussion isn't brand new for you-- that this is something you've been thinking about. So that's awesome. OK, let's move on here. So the whole idea of a syllabus review-- from my understanding and the reading that I've done and research, a lot of this comes out of CUE, which is the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California.

So they have this center and they have many initiatives, webinars-- just a really great resource. They put out a lot of materials. And one of the things they developed back in 2017 is the Syllabus Review Guide. And Neda, if you don't mind sharing that file-- the Syllabus Review Guide from CUE. It's freely available as a PDF. You can download it from their website and we'll share it here in the chat. And it's really for instructors of all disciplines, including adult education.

We can use this Syllabus Review Guide to use it as an inquiry tool for promoting racial and ethnic equity and equity-minded practice. And they really go into detail. Even just talking about the syllabus, you're really going into specific details about how you can promote equity-minded practices-- as an instructor or in your department if you're a department leader. And I think the granularity of it is very helpful. Instead of just saying, oh, we got to be equitable-- equity, equity, equity-- what does that really mean?

When we hit the ground, first day of class-- maybe even before the first day of class-- give our syllabus to our students, what really does that look like when you drill down? So again, in the chat I think Neda shared it. Thank you so much. You can download that file. I won't be going into detail with that today, but there is one specific practice that I really want to talk about in this presentation, which is the welcoming aspect.

OK. So just a little bit of background here with Center for Urban Education. The purpose of the Syllabus Review Guide is to promote equity-minded competence, so it's not only about the syllabus. Hopefully when you start reviewing your syllabus and reflecting on it, this will permeate all of your teaching. But this document particularly is looking at the syllabus. So equity-minded competence-- this chart is from the Syllabus Review Guide.

On the left hand side you have equity-minded competence, and on the right hand side, a lack of equity-minded competence. So what are we really talking about here? Well, we're specifically focusing in on racial and ethnic equity. So on the left, awareness of racial identity-- both your own and your students'-- that would be equity-minded competence. And on the right hand side, we see a lack of that. For example, colorblindness-- saying, oh, I don't see race, or that doesn't matter. OK? So that would be a lack of equity-minded competence.

On the left, using disaggregated data to identify racialized patterns of outcomes. And on the right, not seeing any value in disaggregated data, all right? If we don't disaggregate data, how are we going to be able to see racial equity achievement gaps, for example? The third one reflects on racial consequences of taken-for-granted practices. And on the right, unable to notice racialized consequences or rationalizes them as being something else. So just taking things for granted, saying oh, that's just the way we do things.

But no, equity-minded competence is you're actually reflecting on these things. Why do we do things the way we do? Why do we have syllabus that have certain policies, that use certain language? We need to reflect on this. The fourth one, exercises this agency to produce racial equity. And on the right, does not view racial equity as a personal responsibility. And the last one, views the classroom as a racialized space and actively self-monitors interactions with students of color.

This goes back to the first one-- that you have an awareness of racial identity, again, both of yourself and of your students, and that race does matter in the society that we live in. OK. So again from CUE, the Syllabus Review Guide, they have these six equity-minded practices that they describe, and then actually demonstrate how you can use these practices to look at your syllabus, or look at another syllabus-- all for the purpose of reflecting and improving the syllabus.

So how does my syllabus demonstrate equity for racially and ethnically minority students? So the first one is demystifying. I'm just going to go through this briefly. Again, I'm going to be focusing on number two, which is welcoming. But all of them, of course, are very important and build on each other. So demystifying refers to school policies and practices that are just taken for granted. There are these implicit norms, ambiguous processes that characterize college or even K-12 school-- and this idea of how to be a successful student, that students should just know how to be successful.

And I think it also refers to the academic jargon that we will often use and that often appear in a syllabus. So when we demystify things, we want to fully disclose how to be a successful student, fully explain what that means. So an example-- just to make this a little more concrete-- in a lot of colleges-- particularly if you teach in a community college-- you may have office hours. But students, they hear that phrase and they think, oh, I don't want to bother the instructor. I don't want to go to an office hour.

So instead, perhaps a better word might be student hours. This is my student hour. This is when I want to talk to students, interact with them, answer questions, and help them. So just making a change from office hour to student hour can have a huge impact on our students. All right, so the next one is welcoming. Again, I'm going to focus on this one a lot today. How do we communicate care and support to our students, establish respect, inclusion? Those are all class norms that we want to promote in our classes.

How do we show our students, hey, I care about you? How do I do that through the syllabus? OK, the next one, validating. So the pursuit of learning and desire to be successful is what probably all of our students are-- they're there to be successful, they don't want to fail, right? So how do we communicate the belief that we expect them to succeed, that we believe they have the capacity to succeed, that we validate their abilities and skills?

The next one is creating a partnership. So how can teachers and students really work together to ensure the students success? Teachers are there to help and support students and teachers welcome feedback from students. So how do we encourage our students to give us feedback? We're not just the sage on the stage, but we're really in a partnership with them as they're learning. The next one is representing. So racially and ethnically minoritized students, we want them to see themselves in the course materials.

We want to affirm that they belong in our classes. Any assignments or activities may draw upon their own personal experiences and also maybe drawing upon the knowledge from their communities, all the funds of knowledge that they have. So we're making sure that we represent all of our students in the classroom. And then the last one is deconstructing. So the presentation of white students and white experiences in our society has been the norm for many, many years.

So how can we deconstruct that presentation with our assignments, our readings, our activities, to promote our students' awareness and critical examination of the dominant norms and social inequities in our society and in your particular discipline. So I teach ESL. Why is it that so many ESL textbooks-- not all of them, but many of them-- you page through, and you see just, representations of white people-- doing shopping or consumeristic activities. Why is that?

So let's talk about it in the classroom. Let's deconstruct it. And so we're promoting our students' critical awareness and examination of that. OK. So that was a lot there. Again, we're going to be focusing on welcoming today. So let's jump into just a quick discussion of the liquid syllabus as we transition here. I'm just wondering, if you guys have heard of and/or created a Google Sites before, how familiar are you with Google Sites? Just out of curiosity.

So if you don't mind writing in the chat, have you heard of and/or created a Google Sites before? Yes or no. OK. Started one but didn't finish, yeah. I've heard of it. OK, yeah. So it looks like most of you are saying no, or maybe you've heard of it but haven't really created one. Perfect. So we'll be getting into the nitty gritty of how to create a Google Sites, and particularly how to use it to create a syllabus.

So why do we use this term liquid when we talk about the liquid syllabus? What does that mean? So this definition is from the internet, because the liquid syllabus is a web-based tool, and it comes from the idea of liquid content. So what is liquid content? You may be thinking water, flowing, right? It's a term that refers to web content that's highly shared, and where the desire for sharing is driven by contagious or viral ideas within the content.

So we often think about social media and how something goes viral on social media-- Facebook, Twitter, what have you. It's highly shared. This is kind of the concept of liquid here. So you might be thinking, OK, my syllabus, really? It's going to be contagious and viral and highly shared? Hey, you never know. But at least creating it in such a way that it has the potential to be highly shared, and certainly you are going to be sharing it with your students.

And imagine if they were so excited to read your liquid syllabus that they shared it with their friends. How awesome would that be? And that maybe you could share on your social media, and it would bring students to your class? It may help with your enrollment. So all of these aspects about how content on the web-- on the internet-- can be shared so easily. Whereas if you think about a traditional syllabus, which may be a PDF or a Word document, that is not highly shareable.

Have you ever opened a PDF on your phone? It is not very easy to read, and so it's just not very accessible. And you might think, well, my students, they have a computer. They can open the syllabus on their computer. Well actually, we know a lot of students just have a mobile device. And even if they do have a computer, maybe they share it with their family. And also, when you check your email, do you do it only on your computer, or do you do it on your phone?

I think even us as instructors-- I'm constantly checking my email on my phone. And maybe later I'll go to my computer, just to really drill down into it. Our students also, they're checking their email on their phone. And so as a teacher sends them an email with a link to a liquid syllabus, it's very convenient for them just to go to the website instead of having to download a PDF or open a PDF on their phone-- which can be very hard to read if you have to scroll in, or zoom in, zoom out, adjust the section of the page you're looking at.

So that's kind of the rationale of liquid syllabus. It's liquid because it lives on the internet and it can be easily shared and viewed. OK. So I'm going to share my liquid syllabus, and then we're going to jump into creating one together. So let me go back here. OK. So hopefully you can see my liquid syllabus right now. We got a thumbs up. Thank you, Neda. All right.

So again, I'm an ESL instructor. So this is for an ESL class, but it can be used for any class, OK? So what you'll see is, this is a website. It's a Google site. And I've got a banner on the top. Up here I have some pages, so if you would click on Support for You, it's a different page. Communication Plan is a different page, and there's a Home page, there's the Home page. So this link I would share with my students, they would click on it and then they would look at this website.

And you'll see right on the top, I've included a video to welcome my students. It's short, it's not super professional. I really should redo it. But it allows students to see my face, say oh, that's going to be my teacher. She's a human, she's not a robot. Cool. And I have a short little welcoming introduction, saying, this is the syllabus. And I tell them the video is just one minute long. It's not long, just saying hi, welcome.

And the video is captioned. It has accurate captions, so it's accessible to all students. And then I include my teaching philosophy for students to read. And then I have something called Our Pact. So remember a lot of you, when you did the Jamboard activity, you wrote expectations, right? So I have expectations that students can expect from me as the instructor, and then what I can expect from them. So both instructor and teacher expectations.

All right. Oh, Neda, are there some comments or questions in the chat?

Neda Anasseri: There are, yes. Beatrice is asking if they can hear your video, and then Kim asks, can you share the link for your syllabus.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Absolutely. I'll share it right now. So I'll share the syllabus so you can watch my video. If I watch it here, I'll just cringe. I don't want to look at myself. Then we have About This Course. So I explain the course a little bit. This one is a Canvas asynchronous course, and there is some Zoom portion to it. So I try to explain that clearly to students, and what assignment they need to complete before the week's end.

And then we can add images, as well. So that's a really nice thing about a Google Sites, is you can add images. So let me go back up here, Support for You. So I tell them what's my role, but then I also provide student support services. So often, in a traditional syllabus, it's rule heavy, right? These are my expectations for you. You need to not turn work in late, you need to attend class, right? All of these rules, and maybe even punishments. The syllabus starts to have more of a punitive tone to it than welcoming.

So in order to balance out policies, it's important to include student support services. How can students be supported in their learning? So I have some links here, and you can see they're descriptive hyperlinks where students can go straight to my college's Counseling Department, or DSPS services, the library-- and then definitely technology support, right? Canvas student guides, online tutoring, et cetera.

And some other online resources at my college-- free and low-cost internet. We have a drive-up WIFI program if students do not have reliable internet connection at their home, they can actually go in their car, drive to the parking lot of our college, and access the internet for free. And then Laptop Loaner Program, which is a wonderful service that we're able to provide through the CARES Act funding, where students can loan a laptop for the semester if they don't have one or their device is not really good enough or modern enough-- they can loan a laptop.

So all those resources are very clearly delineated and students have that access. And they can have this before class begins, because I send out my liquid syllabus link to students before class begins so they can gather those resources already-- start getting their laptop, be aware of low-cost internet or the Drive-up WIFI Program. And then I think it's also incumbent upon us to recognize that we are still in a pandemic, and many of our students-- I think we can say-- are traumatized.

They are really suffering through this. And so what are the procedures for COVID-19? Can you come on campus? If you have any face-to-face component for your class? Is it hybrid? Are there COVID-19 testing sites in your city? At our campus, we have testing. Maybe there's a vaccine program that you want to also share. So giving all that information on your syllabus I think is really, really helpful for students. And then a picture on the bottom again.

OK. I'm going to head over to Communication Plan. So the Communication Plan, really important, right? If we're all online-- maybe our students have never taken an online course, they have many questions. What is this class going to be like? Who is my teacher? Do I have a teacher? Maybe my teacher is a robot, right? They may have all of these questions if they've never taken an online course. So let your students know how they can contact you.

On our Jamboard activity, many of you wrote contact information as a very important component of the syllabus. But also let them know when you'll reply to them. How long is it going to take for you to answer your email or your phone or check your voicemail? So I've included different ways that students can communicate with me. The Canvas inbox. If our students know how to get into Canvas before class, that's a great option. But some of them don't know yet, or they're learning, right?

So their Canvas course is behind the username and password, which maybe they don't have yet. So giving your email address, letting students know I will respond within 24 hours from Monday to Friday. I also love using Remind. Anybody else use Remind? This has been around for a while, but I find it very helpful. Anyone else use Remind? Feel free to write in the chat yes or no. Yes, yeah. So it's mobile-based, and you can send messages through your phone as a text-- but students don't know your number and you don't know theirs.

So it's through a web-based kind of SMS messaging. Yes, yes. OK, good. So that's on your radar, awesome. I find it very helpful to have multiple avenues of communication for students to contact you. And then office hours. So I mentioned before that a better word might be student hours, so I need to change that. Syllabus review is continuous. And so I'm noticing things that I need to change here. So I let them know when I'm available for Zoom conferences, one-on-one with students.

I include my office phone number, my email, ConferZoom-- which is the Zoom through the California Community Colleges. And then discussion board. If you are using Canvas, you have a Q&A discussion that is just reserved for student-initiated questions that you can regularly monitor, and it's also a place for peers-- for students to answer their own classmates' questions. So it doesn't necessarily have to be you always answering the questions in that Q&A discussion.

OK, I think I saw a question. Neda, was there a question?

Neda Anasseri: Yes, and this is the very first part of when you were sharing your syllabus. Isn't the syllabus to explain what is going to be taught in your class? Why would you want students to respond?

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Respond. I'm not exactly sure what that means.

Neda Anasseri: So when you were--

[interposing voices]

Speaker 2: I'm sorry. So you were saying that students would look at your syllabus and that they would make comments or add things to it. It's like, I wouldn't want them to do the syllabus for one thing, and a chat board would be for that type of thing-- I'm thinking.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Are you referring to the pact? Is that maybe--

Speaker 2: No, when you were saying that our syllabus can go live and that people can-- the students can make comments or talk about what they saw or maybe share with other students and all that. It's like, why would I want them to be making comments? The syllabus is only for the students that are enrolled in my class.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: OK. Yeah, great question. Thank you. So is the syllabus a private document that you only want your students who have enrolled or registered in your class, you only want them to see it? Or, a different way of looking at it is, the syllabus could be a public document, where anyone can check it out and say, oh, I want to take this class. This sounds really interesting. These are the learning objectives, there's the professor. This sounds like a really welcoming class, something that could really benefit me.

So that's the mind frame that we're going here with the liquid syllabus, that it's shareable-- not just for our students who have registered in our classes, but for any potential student. It's almost like a recruitment tool in a certain way. It's not just a private document that lives on your computer or your learning management system, all right? Thank you for that question. OK. I want to-- did I do this one, Course Policies? Course Policies, yeah.

So often for the syllabus, we think of course policies, those rules. How are we wording things like student participation? In an online course, it is important to spell it out, right? What does student participation look like? How often do your students need to participate in an online discussion board or submit assignments before they're not considered to be a participating student? So it's definitely important to have clear guidelines.

But I think the challenge is to make sure that you're still welcoming students, validating them, being there to support them, and being very explicit about that-- that I'm here to support you. And if you have questions, right, here are all the ways you can contact me. So I talk about the importance of participation, but I say, I also recognize that you are human, right? We're all trying to just survive through this pandemic. Things will happen. There's emergencies, and I'm here to be flexible. We will work together.

Communicate that partnership that you have with your students, that you're there for their success. And make it explicit-- don't just assume students know that that's what you're about and that your syllabus will communicate that. Because traditionally, syllabi do not communicate that. I think when you review traditional syllabus, you'll see a lot of punitive language. If you don't participate, you will be dropped-- just very cut and dry. So reflecting on the language that you use to welcome your students is so important.

Another one is the Academic Honesty Policy. Your institution may require that you have some type of policy, or maybe there's a student conduct book or guide and they have some language in there. It can certainly include a link to that, but I would encourage you probably not to copy and paste that language. Again, typically it's very punitive. If you don't follow academic honesty guidelines, you're going to be-- I don't know, expelled. It's very scary language.

For ESL students in particular who have come from different cultures and backgrounds, the idea of plagiarism is foreign to them-- or maybe they just, they're trying to do an assignment-- like a paragraph writing-- and they feel like, oh, I can't do this. It's better if I get my older sister to help me, and she'll write my paragraph for me. So explaining and teaching through academic honesty policies is so important for all students, but I would say probably particularly for ESL students from different cultures.

So I tell them that, hey, in module 3, we're going to talk more about plagiarism and what that means, and we're going to do some assignments. So I'm here, again, to learn with you and to create that partnership. OK, I'm going to go back to the Home. So that was just a very quick tour of a liquid syllabus that I've been working on and I'm still definitely working on and refining.

Neda Anasseri: OK. Rita, you have a question in the chat room.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Go ahead, Neda.

Neda Anasseri: So is liquid syllabus more for the general public? Do you also include the detailed topic descriptions or objectives in your Canvas?

Rita Van Dyke-kao: That's a great question. I would say that I do both. I have a liquid syllabus that I send to students before the class begins to introduce them to the course and myself. And then also in Canvas-- the learning management system that I use-- I have a traditional syllabus, and that includes all the requirements as well-- your SLOs, et cetera. So yeah, you could say it's more for the general public, but it's also for your students.

They get this video of you. They can look at you before class begins. And it's easy for them to read. It's not locked behind Canvas. Maybe your students have never logged into Canvas before. It's not super accessible to them, at least at the beginning of the semester. So hopefully that answers that question. Any other questions at this point?

Neda Anasseri: I don't see any in the chat.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: All right, thanks Neda. OK. So I'm going to open a new Google Sites so we can work on one together. So let me share this here. OK. Do you see the Sites page, Neda? You want to give me a thumbs up? Perfect. All right. If you would like to work with me-- since this is a demonstration-- feel free to. Or if you just want to watch and take notes, either way, whatever works for you. So we're going to start with a brand new Google Site.

Let me back up. So Google Sites, it's basically the website that Google has-- free. Google has all these free apps-- amazing, amazing stuff. So you need a Google account make sure you're signed into your Google account. And you can access Google Sites, just like any other app, through your Google Drive. So you can see here, there's an R on my screen on the top right, so I'm signed in. And then you see all those little apps there. And if you don't see Sites, you can just go to Google Drive, and when you create a new document or new app, you select Google Sites instead of something like Google Docs or Google Slides.

All right. Any questions about how to get the Google Sites? I'm assuming everybody has a Google account, so I wasn't planning to go over that. But are we OK with-- everyone has a Google account. You're able to find the Google Sites. You could just Google it, sites.google.com. But for myself, I find it easiest just to go through Google Drive, because then I can organize it in the folder I want, and I know exactly where to find it.

So here we're on the Google Sites page, and I'm going to click Blank. There are templates that you can use, if you'd like to scroll through those as you're creating your liquid syllabus. But let's just start with a blank Sites here. OK. All right. So this is what it will look like. Notice on the top left, it says Untitled site. So you're going to want to name your file-- I'd recommend doing that right away. So maybe you want to write Liquid Syllabus or something like that.

And you can also enter your Site name here, Liquid Syllabus. And then this will be your home page. What do you want to call your home page? Probably something like welcome to-- sorry-- welcome to ESL, whatever class it is, or ABE, et cetera. So you can write a title there, and you can add an image. So there's many different options to add an image. There's a gallery that's built in right from Google Sites so that you can select an image.

You might recognize some of these from mine. If you know the URL of an image, you can paste it in here. You can search. Just make sure, of course, that you have the correct permissions and licenses for those images that you are using. Maybe you have an album that you have some pictures in you can use, and you can use Google Drive, so it's integrated with that. OK, so let's just choose something here, maybe a banner like this-- and we press Select. OK.

If you would like the banner to be a little bit larger, you can say Large banner, Cover, Title only, you can play around with those settings as well. OK. Are we doing OK? I think there's a question. One more question. What do you think? Is it a good idea to include details? Yeah, I think it's a good idea. There's always ways for you to accentuate information, if you want to bold it or make the font larger. I think it's certainly good to include things like your contact information and certain details about the class that will help your students succeed, before even beginning with class.

So I would say yes, but it's your call, of course, what you want to include. OK. So we've got our title here. So again, this is a website, and it's all online. So like any other Google app-- Google product-- it saves automatically. So it's saving as you're working, and it says All changes saved in Drive. You'll notice up at the right-hand side, it says Publish, and we'll talk about that in a minute. And that's a really important button that you'll press towards the end of your creation, so we'll get to that later.

But I want to talk now about the right-hand panel here where it says Insert, Pages, and Themes. So Insert-- there's different things you can insert into your Google Site, right? You can insert text, images, you can embed videos-- YouTube, whatever-- and you can also insert documents-- even a whole folder-- from your Google Drive. So it's integrated with Google Drive. So let's just see what happens when we go Text box. All right, So the text box pops up. And you can type in whatever you want to say.

And you've got all those different-- Font, Size-- all those functions there that you would normally see. Maybe you want to center it. You can also resize the text box, and they have these handy grid marks to help you with your measurements there. And maybe you want to add another text box. And again, you can resize using the arrow here. And then if you want to drag it, maybe you want to put it-- where did it go? Maybe you want to put it next to the first text box so you got one text box here, one text box there.

You can play around with it, move it to different locations, resize, et cetera. All right, is there a question?

Neda Anasseri: Yes. How would you reference your Google Classroom, if you use that?

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Oh. Yeah. So for Google Classroom-- I'm not as familiar with Google Classroom because I use Canvas as my LMS, but you could certainly share the link on there. I don't know how well it integrates-- probably does because they're both Google products. So that's a great question. I don't have an exact answer for you. I'm just not as familiar with Google Classroom. Does anybody in the audience know? Is there a seamless integration with Google Sites and Google Classroom, or would it just be sharing a link?

Neda Anasseri: And we have Google experts on OTAN staff, so I'll put the support email. I'll put the support email where you can pose that question in as support email, and we can respond to it later.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Yes, there are definitely Google experts on OTAN. Shout out. OK, so we've got two text boxes here-- we played around with it, we can move them. Let's try images now. So you're going to see Upload and Select. So just like when we did the banner, you can upload and select. Let me do Select. There's a Google image search you can use, there's photos. Oh, this looks like my Drive, actually. Sorry. I'm just going to select an image on my computer. I can't find it.

Sometimes you just need to search, right Play around with this a little bit. There's my image. So I'm going to insert this image here, Welcome. So again, I can resize. Let's see, maybe I can put it in the middle here. Will that work? Maybe that's a little bit too big. Whatever you want, whatever looks good to you. Now we've got a text box up here and a text box down there. OK, you get the idea hopefully. And you can insert as many images as you want, as many text boxes as you want.

But when you're doing it manually like this, you can see it can maybe get a little bit messy. There we go. That's what I was trying to do, put it in the middle. So what's really nice about Google Sites-- what I would recommend-- is using their layouts. Then you don't need to do all of this manual work. You can just click a layout, and it's nicely done for you already-- professional graphic designers have done this. So just click to add your text and some subtext.

And on the left here, go wild again with your uploads, your images, your YouTube link-- you can embed a YouTube video in there of yourself welcoming your students. Then there's some other options as well. Now, you may have noticed on the far left here, there's a couple of icons. The first one here is Section Background, and you can change how it looks. So now it's blue. Now it's gray. And now it's white. So you can play around with that.

Oh, there's the image again. So there's different ways, actually, that you can insert an image. You can use this tool over here, or you can use this tool on the right, or you can use your layouts. So there's a lot of functionality with Google Sites, and it's just really fun to play with. So maybe you have a layout that you just love and you're like, oh, I want to duplicate this. I want to do another one. This second icon, you can just duplicate the whole section. So now we have two.

And you may want to change the text, change the image. Select your image, let's see. Oh, this is going to my Google Drive, sorry. I don't have too many images there. And there's the Delete the section as well. OK I'm going to stop just a second. I see my chat has some questions.

Neda Anasseri: Yes, you have a couple so. Arcelia-- sorry if I'm mispronouncing your name-- I think you-- so you have to publish-- I think when you publish, you will see it and when you can move it to your Google Classroom. So she's responding to I believe Mary Hughes' question. And then Mary Hughes, do you have a template or a master doc that you keep to update, then put it live on the individual sites?

Rita Van Dyke-kao: OK, so the Google Classroom-- again, I'm not exactly sure, so let's leave that one for now. But the question for Mary, do you have a template or master doc? Not really. I mean, I suppose I use the same one to start, but I like to change up the layout. Again, I'm still working on my liquids syllabus. So you can definitely have a master doc and then copy it. And then, yeah. When you press Publish, then it goes live. And then that live link is the link you need to share with your students.

So I wouldn't share this link with my students because it's still in production. I'm still working on it. So this link, I don't want to share. It's only when I publish my Google Sites that I'll share that link. Hopefully that answers your question. All right, so we've been playing around with some of the features here under Insert. So again, we got Text, we've got Images, there's also Embed. If you want to embed your video-- maybe you made a video on YouTube-- if you have a URL-- or the Embed code is even better, because then you'll see that first frame from your YouTube video.

OK. So all of those options are available. If you scroll down on Insert, you'll see other things, like Collapsible text, Table of contents. There's all these things, like Buttons and Dividers, YouTube pops up again. And then some of these Google Apps, like Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Charts are all included as well. So you can see there's a lot of functionality here with inserting content.

I want to go over to the far right here where it says Themes, and just talk a minute about this. To be honest, there aren't a lot of themes. I mean, that's pretty much it. But each theme has different color options, so I could change it to blue. So now you're seeing some blue here. And you can also change your font. That's a little nicer, right? Slab. So the font changes. And maybe you don't like the color options that they give. You could always add a hex code if you have a code for a color that you really like or that you like to use.

So those are under Themes. Again, not a lot, but there's a few things you can play around with. And again, the banner-- if you want to change the banner, you go to Change image. This will pop up on the bottom left, OK? So that is separate from the themes. OK. So the middle one here, let's talk about Pages. Let me check the chat. No questions? OK. So Pages. I only have one page right now, it's the home page. That's all I have.

So if I want to add a page, on the bottom, there's that big plus sign. Add page. So you've got to name it initially, but you could always change the name later if you wanted. So let's just write Course Policies right now. Done. OK, so now I have two pages-- I've got home, and I've got Course Policies. And you're going to see the pages up here, OK? Let's add another page. Maybe you want to add-- I don't know-- your SLOs, your Student Learning Objectives, or Outcomes. There it's popping up here, SLOs. Now I have three pages.

So for each page, you can change the image if you'd like. So just randomly selecting some in here. Let's go to SLOs let's change that image as well. This one. Now, you see these little stars here? There's going to be an anchor. You can move it around if it's an image or picture with these arrows-- see what looks best. So you can anchor the image in different ways as well. And again, you can change the header type. Maybe you want a larger banner, like this one here-- banner.

OK. So again, we're under Pages. We got three pages. I'm going to add one more page just to show you something else. So there's Communication Policy, I'm going to give that that name. And if I click on Communication Policy, I could drag it to Course Policies if I wanted to. And now it's like a sub-page. So you'll notice up here on your table of contents sort of thing here, there's a little drop down carrot. And Communication Policy is now under Course Policies. It's not its own separate page, but it's a sub-page. So there it is.

So that's another option, which is kind of cool. Again, you can always rename your pages. And you can keep adding more pages as you go. OK. Now, up here, there's the settings gear. Let's talk about that for a second, because navigation-- you can change where the pages are listed. Right now, my pages are all listed on the top of my Google Site. But maybe I want them on the side, for stylistic reasons. So I put them on the side now. Let's see. Where did they go?

Oh, sorry. My Zoom chat was covering it. I apologize. You see where that little hamburger is, the menu bar? Now it's showing your pages on the side, and you could exit, close it. So if you like that option, you can move it to the side. I kind of like the top for my own purposes. You could also change the navigation bar so it sticks out a little bit more. Now it's white. So again, this is all in the gear icon settings, under Navigation. And I'm going to go back to black. Maybe I'll go to transparent, that's nice.

There's other settings-- Brand images. If you have a logo, maybe you want to add your institution's logo, for example-- you could. Favicon, this is short for favorite icon. If you happen to have an icon that's-- you see on my tabs, you have the Google Sites icon? That's a favicon. So this is all for branding. And there's a few other things. Let's see. Customize your URL, Analytics.

Announcement banner. Maybe you've made a change to your liquid syllabus recently-- because it is liquid. It can be changed-- and you just want to have a banner that has a message for all your students-- you could show it or not show it. Type in your message here. OK, so just some cool settings that Google Sites has to change up the navigation or the branding for your site. Now, say you're teaching a class with a colleague. Maybe you're co-teaching.

You could share your Google Sites and add a collaborator and share with people in groups. So this is not for students, OK? This would be for, like, a co-teacher. So I can add my co-teacher's email address, and it's just like any other Google app. You can change the permissions, they can edit or whatever, and you're done. So that would be for collaboration, sharing with other teachers or maybe your administrator, whoever it might be, OK?

As you're working on your Google site, you're thinking, OK, what does this really look like for students? I'm in production mode, but I want to see what it looks like for students. So there's a preview button there on the top, which is really neat because you can preview it in large screen format, like a computer. So this is what it would look like on a computer. You can preview it as a tablet, like an iPad. You can go to the pages, see what they look like. See if it looks OK on the tablet.

And then-- I think what's most important, because we've talked about this already-- mobile phone, right? When your student gets your email a week before class, they open up the link that you sent them-- they're probably on their phone. So what does your syllabus look like on a phone? It's going to be a little bit of a different experience for them. And you can see there's the menu. So it goes straight to the sidebar, didn't even have an option for the top there-- for your pages.

But all the pages are there, and they can click, and they can look through your syllabus, read through it, scroll down. It's all there for them. They can click on your video once you upload your video welcoming them-- all the images, et cetera. So again, that's on the top of toolbar where it says Preview. Fantastic tool you can use at any time just to double check, hey, what does this look like for my students if they're on a phone, for example?

OK, I think I saw a question. Sorry, my chat is not open. OK.

Neda Anasseri: I've got it for you. You got it?

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Thank you, Neda. Yeah, I got it. Can you find the Google Site from any browser, or do students need a link to view it? Excellent question. OK. So since you brought that up, let's talk about the Publish button. So there's the big blue Publish button. Until you hit that, no one can see what you're doing here. This is just and your Google Site, working on your website-- your syllabus. But when you press Publish-- what just happened there? Let me go back here. Publish.

OK. Oh, I don't need a custom URL. That's OK. It's not going to let me publish? Oh, I'm not sure what it's doing this here. I'm going to try this again, you guys. I'm just refreshing my site here, let's see if the Publish button works. OK. Let me go back to my liquid syllabus, because I'm not sure why it's doing that here. OK. OK. So I press the Publish button, and I've already-- I'm not sure why I was having trouble with the other one, I apologize.

But when I published my liquid syllabus initially-- published to my students-- now I have a draft on the left-hand side. So you'll see what students currently see is here, and then the draft is what they have on the left. And so it will tell you when you updated. You can expand it if you want, and go smaller. And then that-- sorry, garbage truck. That Publish button you can hit, and it will publish for you. Now, after you publish your site for the first time, there are publish options, OK?

Maybe you're like, I want to unpublish it. I'm done with this course, I'm not teaching it anymore. I'm going to unpublish, right? So you could do that. Maybe you just want to view your published site. So it looks very much like the preview. Maybe you want to review your changes first, and then publish it. So I don't have anything to review, so it's not going to show me anything now. The first setting is your Publish settings. OK. Oh, is that what it had to do? Yeah. Custom URL.

So it publishes your settings. You can request the public search engines to not display my site. So if somebody were to Google your site, it's not going to come up. You can click or unclick that here. Review changes and publish. You can also click and unclick if you want to review. I think that's a good idea. I always like to review things before publishing. So you can see there's a couple of different options that you can play around with, and then just save it when you're done.

So let me come back here-- because I'm sorry, I was having some trouble here. I think we do get to name it. Liquid syllabus example. Maybe that's not taken. Oh, cool. OK. My apologies. So you actually get to write part of your URL here. So I'm going to call mine Liquid Syllabus Example, it's never been used before. So they gave me a little bit-- they give me a checkmark on the right-hand side. You could always customize it if you wanted to. You have the ability to do that.

And again, that search setting on the bottom here, you can click it if you want search engines to be able to find your site. If you do click that, then of course, you're going to need to send the link to your students, or publish it on your social media or your web page. I'm publishing it right now, it has been published. So I'm going to go to View the published site. And now this is my link. So that link-- I'm just going to share.

Of course, this is a very rough first draft, but I can share it with you guys in the chat because I know you understand I was just working on it, it's not done. But that is the link you want to share with your students, the published Google site. So that's a very important point. OK. I think I went over all of those features I wanted to talk about. There is a Footer option, if you want to add a footer to the bottom of your page. It will show up on every page-- maybe contact information or whatever you think might work for your Footer.

So that's another option, where it says Add footer, OK? But I think those are the main features I wanted to talk about today. So I'm going to stop that share, see if we have any questions. I think we answered--

Neda Anasseri: Doesn't look like it.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: OK. So if there are any questions, feel free to unmute yourself, because we are coming to a close of our hour and a half. And I'll just share my PowerPoint again. OK. So I guess to kind of end of-- I don't see any questions. To end off our time together, there's a very short video I wanted to share. And this video is from Michelle Pacansky-Brock. If you're with the California Community Colleges, you might have heard her name before. She is just a fantastic instructional designer when it comes to online learning and online teaching.

And this idea of a liquid syllabus I first heard about from her. And so she's made this video. I think-- yes, I shared my sound. Let's see if this works. Neda, let me know if this is not working.

Neda Anasseri: OK. Will do.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: So what are the benefits of a liquid syllabus? Here we go.

[video playback]

- I know what you're thinking, I have a syllabus. I've worked really hard on it. So why should I take the time to also create a liquid syllabus? And what does that mean anyway? After all, I already have my syllabus online, in the form of a PDF. And I know all my students can access it in Canvas. But folks, the thing is, when your syllabus is behind a login screen, it may be tough for students to get to it from their phone. And no matter how lovely it looks on a computer, reading it on a mobile device is tough.

The information in that syllabus is important, right? The bottom line is, when we use tools designed for print products, they don't result in mobile-friendly experiences, and that's not good for our students. How might things change if you used a website tool, like Google Sites or WordPress, to create a liquid version of your syllabus? For just a moment, imagine being a student. It's the start of your first semester in college and the week before class starts, you check your email and you get a friendly welcome message from your sociology instructor.

It includes a button at the bottom to check the syllabus. You tap that button with your finger, and instantly, you go to a syllabus that's easy to read and experience with the swipe of your finger. And you also discover something pretty special at the top.

- Hi, scholars. My name is Katie Whitman Conklin, and I'm going to be your instructor this semester. A little bit about me-- I lived in the Central Valley of California for a lot of years with my husband and children while he was stationed there with the Navy. And when he retired, we moved to northern Idaho, where we now live with our kids on our family ranch.

- You think to yourself, hey, I'm going to love this class. I can't wait to get started. But you know what? That's not the only benefit of a liquid syllabus. Since it lives on the web, it's shareable with a simple link. That means you can place that link in as many other places as you'd like. How about adding it next to your course description in your college's class schedule? Or on your profile page on your college website? Or a link on your own professional website?

And you know what can really help promote your course and encourage more students to enroll? That's right, share it on Twitter. When we design with web tools, we create mobile-friendly content that supports our students in so many ways. It also lets them know we care.

[end playback]

Rita Van Dyke-kao: All right. So just in summary, why have a liquid syllabus? Michelle laid out the reasons very well, I think. And ultimately, it's about welcoming our students, letting them know that we care, that we want them in our class. And so that's why I wanted to share with you today about Google Sites, where you can create a liquid syllabus that's easily shared with your students-- even before your class begins, you welcome them. We're going through a hard time with this pandemic.

We know our students are struggling in many ways, but this is just one way that we can promote that equity-minded competence that we talked about earlier in the presentation. This is just one practice that you can use to welcome your students. And because it's one of those first things your students receive, it really sets the tone for your class. So please reach out to continue the conversation if you have questions. Maybe you want to discuss this further.

My email is listed there on the screen, and I think-- Neda, are you able to share the PowerPoint with everybody.

Neda Anasseri: I am. Yeah. I'm going to go ahead and put that in the chat.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: We've got the PDF of the PowerPoint that you can access my email address and some of the links there. Thank you so much.

Neda Anasseri: You're getting a lot of positive comments.

Rita Van Dyke-kao: Well, thank you, everybody, for attending, for sticking with me, thinking about and reflecting on how we can promote equity-mindedness in our classes and specifically with our syllabus. Have a fantastic OTAN. If you have questions, we still have a couple more minutes, so please feel free to unmute yourself and ask any questions you might have.

Neda Anasseri: I'll just add, again, thank you. And thank you, Rita for a wonderful presentation.