Sample syllabus from Spring 2019
; check with instructor for current syllabus
Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.
IST 389, Leadership and Technology for Instruction, is a preparation experience for undergraduate Learning Assistants (LA’s). In this course, you will prepare for a leadership role in an “active learning” classroom.
The underlying assumption driving the course is that the more you know about learning, the better prepared you will be to diagnose and solve teaching/learning problems. In addition to introducing teaching and learning principles, we will also address skills such as coaching/facilitating, providing feedback, evaluating work, and facilitating teams; issues of academic integrity and supportive environments for learning; and information technologies used for both managing courses and increasing engagement and learning. This is a hands-on course where students will create instructional materials, participate in role play scenarios, and work with data on learning.
The fundamental ideas and principles on which the course is built include the following:
- What students already know, think, believe, and feel is the basis for learning new information
- Learning comes from what students do with the activities, materials, and presentations that instructors design
- A critical factor in students’ learning is specific, timely feedback
- Working on well-constructed team assignments increases and sustains learning
- Concurrent assignment in the Learning Assistant Program.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Apply learning principles and concepts, mindset theory, metacognitive concepts, and team-based learning concepts when actively engaging students in learning strategies that promote deep, lasting, meaningful learning
- Develop a (psychologically and physically) safe and encouraging learning environment for all students
- Critique an experienced learning coach, noting the successful and not-so-successful interventions
- Using a rubric, grade student work according to instructor expectations for higher order thinking; and write an appropriate comment
- Demonstrate coaching skills (listening, reflecting, referring, questioning)
- Based on the principles of learning addressed in this course, explain a pedagogically sound way to approach a student’s question
- Analyze strategies for keeping teams on track
- Explain the importance of educating students to make responsible choices
Instructor: Dr. Fatima Ferguson, Assistant Director, Learning Enhancement Programs
LA Program Director: Cole Daubenspeck
LA Program Assistant Director: Eileen Jeon
Class Meeting Time
The course is scheduled this semester at the following time:
Section 001: Friday 3:35 – 4:50pm E203 Westgate
If you cannot make class at some point this semester, notify the instructional team prior to the class that you will miss in order to have the opportunity to earn full credit for the IN-class make-up assignment. (See below for instructional about making up IN-class assignments with a make-up lesson.)
This course requires a small textbook and additional reading materials linked in Canvas.
The text for this course is can be found in the Penn State bookstore on campus. Students should buy the book immediately, since the first reading assignment is due Tuesday of the first week of classes.
McGuire, Saundra Yancy. (2018). Teach Yourself How to Learn: Strategies You Can Use to Ace Any Course at Any Level. Stylus Publishing: Serling, VA.
Note: Students can access the first 50-ish pages of the book through the library, if you can’t pick up the book before the Tuesday reading is due:
The additional reading materials are linked on the PRE-class assignments for each lesson. (Lessons are found at the “Modules” link on the left menu in Canvas.)
The following topics are scheduled in the order shown.
|Lesson 00A (Orientation)||Sunday before classes begin||Introduction to Teaching, Learning, and the LA Role|
|Lesson 00B (Training Conference)||First Wednesday evening of classes||Technology Training (Canvas, online tools, virtual labs)|
|Lesson 01||First Friday of classes||Metacognition|
|Lesson 02||Second Friday of classes||Learning Strategies|
|Lesson 03||Third Friday of classes||Rubrics and Grading|
|Lesson 04||Fourth Friday of classes||Teams and Individuals|
|Lesson 05||Fifth Friday of classes||Academic Integrity & Privacy|
|Lesson 06 (Online)||Sixth Friday of classes||Prior Knowledge|
|Lesson 07||Seventh Friday of classes||Coaching|
Assignment Categories & Grading
You will earn a grade for this course by completing assignments in the following categories: pre-class (PRE), in-class (IN), discussion (DISC), and professionalism (PROF). Details follow.
|Grading Category||Points Per||# Times||Category Points||% of Final Grade|
Assignment Descriptions (click on the tabs to read about each type of assignment)
- Excluding orientation, each required time that we meet face-to-face or online (7 times), there will be an advance pre-class assignment to prepare you for the upcoming class. Assignments include readings and/or videos, plus written work.
- Five of the assignments count 30 points each, for a sub-total of 150 general PRE assignment points. The other two assignments count 175 points each, for a sub-total of 350 special PRE assignment points. The unknown variable with the PRE assignments is that you won’t know which ones will be counted as general and which ones will be counted as special until after the assignments are all graded for that particular week. Therefore, you should be motivated to do your best on each of the PRE assignments.
- To receive full credit for general and special PRE assignments, they must be turned in by the due date. If completed on time, general PRE’s will be awarded full credit for good completion and self-assessed (on the finer points) against a “best answer” provided by the teaching team. If completed on time, special PRE’s will be awarded full credit if the work meets all critical expectations on the PRE assignment rubric. Watch the calendar carefully, since most PRE due dates occur well in advance of the upcoming class period. (The reason for doing this is so that the teaching team can prepare feedback to be shared during the upcoming lesson.)
- When you know you will miss a PRE deadline, you must notify the teaching team by email through Canvas in advance in order to have the opportunity to earn full credit for the PRE assignment. If you notify in advance, the assignment is considered excused. If you do not provide notification in advance, the assignment is considered unexcused. In both cases, the work must be turned in before class to receive credit, and the amount of points possible to earn declines with each day that the work is not turned in. Please note: If you forget to provide advance notice, you should turn in your work as soon as possible; because the highest amount of points that is possible to earn for unexcused PRE work declines rapidly with each successive day. (See notes below about points for late PRE assignments.)
Late PRE Assignments
PRE assignments not submitted on time receive a score of 1 (for excused late assignments) or a score of 0 (for unexcused late assignments). If the assignment is turned in before class, the assignment will be evaluated and the grade will be changed, according to the guidelines below.
Excused, late PRE assignments
For each excused, late PRE assignment that is made up before class, the assignment grade will be graded according to its worth, but not to exceed the maximum points allowable, given the length of time taken to turn in the work.
Unexcused, late PRE assignments
For each unexcused, late PRE assignment that is made up before class, the assignment grade will be graded according to its worth, but not to exceed the maximum points allowable, given the length of time taken to turn in the work.
|Highest Possible Grade||Highest Possible Grade|
|# Days after Due Date||Excused, Late PRE Asignment||Unexcused, Late PRE Asignment|
|within 24 hours||30 (A+)||26 (B)|
|within 48 hours||27 (A-)||23 (B)|
|on Friday before class||26 (B)||20 (D)|
|after class||0 (F)||0 (F)|
- Excluding orientation, each required time that we meet face-to-face (6 times), there will be an in-class assignment to assess what you learned from the lesson. Assignments involve brief (2-3 min) written work.
- Each assignment counts 20 points, one of which will be dropped, for a total of 100 IN assignment points. The unknown variable with the IN assignments is that you won’t know which one will be dropped until after the assignments are all graded for that particular week. Therefore, you should be motivated to do your best on each of the IN assignments.
- To receive full credit for IN assignments, they must be turned in by the end of class on the day assigned. If completed in class, they will be awarded full credit for good completion and self-assessed (on the finer points) against a “best answer” provided by the teaching team. Note: This is not the case for make-up work (see #4 below).
- When you know you will miss a class, you must notify the teaching team by email through Canvas in advance in order to have the opportunity to earn full credit for the IN assignment. If you notify instructors in advance, the assignment is considered excused; and you have one week (due by the start of class on the following Friday) to turn in the make-up lesson (which includes the IN-class assignment) for possible full points. If you do not provide advance notification of a missed class, the assignment is considered unexcused; and the amount of points possible to earn declines with each day that the make-up lesson is not turned in, resulting in a permanent score of zero if the make-up lesson is not turned in by the start of class on the following Friday. Please note: If you forget to provide advance notice, you should turn in your make-up lesson as soon as possible; because the highest amount of points that is possible to earn for unexcused IN-class work diminishes with each successive day. (See guidelines below about make-up work and points for unexcused, late IN assignments.) All make-up work (excused and unexcused) will be instructor-graded based on accuracy (not based on completion). If unexcused penalties apply, they will be considered as well.
Late IN Assignments
IN assignments not submitted on time receive a score of 1 (for excused late assignments) or a score of 0 (for unexcused late assignments). If the assignment is turned in before class on the following Friday, the assignment will be evaluated and the grade will be changed, according to the guidelines below.
Excused, late IN assignments
For each excused, late IN assignment that is completed within the make-up lesson before class on the following Friday, the assignment grade will be graded according to its worth.
Unexcused, late IN assignments
For each unexcused, late IN assignment that is completed within the make-up lesson and within a week of the missed class, the assignment grade will be graded according to its worth, but not to exceed the maximum points allowable, given the length of time taken to turn in the make-up lesson (see table with maximum allowable points).
|Maximum Allowable Points for Unexcused, Late IN Assignments|
|# Days after Due Date||Highest Possible Grade|
|within 24 hours||17 (B)|
|within 48 hours||15 (C)|
|within 72 hours||13 (D)|
|within 96 hours||11 (F)|
|within 120 hours||10 (F)|
|within 144 hours||9 (F)|
|within 168 hours||8 (F)|
- We will have one online discussion to replace one regularly scheduled class period. The discussion will take place in a collaborative tool called CREATE. We will learn about the CREATE discussion space prior to the scheduled discussion.
- This online group discussion assignment is worth 350 points.
- To receive full credit for the DISC ONLINE assignment, you must fully participate in the scheduled online discussion with your assigned group. (Detailed expectations and a rubric appear in the DISC ONLINE assignment.)
- If you know you will miss the scheduled DISC ONLINE assignment with your group, you must notify the teaching team by email through Canvas in advance in order to have the opportunity to earn full credit for the DISC ONLINE assignment–and in order to have the opportunity to be reassigned to a different group. If you do not notify in advance and you miss your online meeting time, a deduction will be added to your assignment grade. If no other group online meeting times remain, you will need to do a significant make-up paper on the topic of Prior Knowledge (the subject of the online discussion).
- The LA Program staff will evaluate your professionalism based on a) your timeliness in turning in LA Program documents and b) your responsiveness and courteousness in LA Program communications. Together, these two elements make up your professionalism grade for a total of 50 points.
- Specifically, the items listed below are worth the designated points if turned in on time. You will receive one point deductions for each day turned in late.
|Maximum Allowable Points for PROF Assignments|
|Assignment||Highest Possible Grade|
|PROF: Syllabus Survey||10|
|PROF: LA Bio and LA Photo||10|
|PROF: LA-Instructor Work Agreement||10|
|PROF: Child Abuse Reporter Training||10|
3. The remaining 10 points are earned through courteousness and responsiveness in communications with LA Program personnel, including the teaching team and College of IST staff members. See rubric below for guidelines.
|Rubric for Professional Communication Scores|
|Description of Communication||Points|
|Student was consistently courteous and responsive in LA Program staff communications and consistently on-time in turning in paperwork (e.g., I-9, W-4, credit forms, etc.) to LA Program staff, taking initiative where necessary.||10|
|Student was courteous in LA Program staff communications and almost always timely in turning in paperwork.||8|
|Student was courteous in LA Program staff communications and responsive in turning in paperwork after some prompting.||6|
|Student was usually courteous in LA Program staff communications and responsive in turning in paperwork after considerable prompting.||4|
|Student was typically unresponsive to LA Program staff communications and turned in paperwork extremely late, even with considerable prompting.||2|
|A||A –||B +||B||B –||C +||C||D||F|
Course Policies and Expectations
- Logging into Canvas – Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.
- Course Announcements – The instructional team will use “announcements” for messages to the whole class. Announcements may include changes to due dates, clarification on assignments, or other messages that are pertinent to the whole class. Be sure that your notifications are set appropriately so that you see the announcements in a timely manner.
- Emailing through Canvas – Students are expected to use Canvas for all course communication. When communicating with individuals or discussion groups, the instructional team will use Penn State email through Canvas, so be sure to forward your Penn State email to whatever account you typically use. (You will find directions for forwarding Penn State email to your personal Gmail account on the Resources page, at the end of the Modules.)
- Response time – Every attempt will be made by the instructional team to respond to email questions within 24 hours. We ask that you give us the same courtesy when we send requests related to this course.
Attendance and Make-up Lessons
- Attending class – Students are expected to attend IST 389 classes and participate in class activities and online discussions.
- Missing class – Students are expected to notify the instructional team prior to missing class in order to gain the opportunity to earn possible full points for make-up work.
- Make-up work for missed classes – Every lesson has an accompanying make-up lesson, including a make-up IN assignment, that is available by the Saturday morning immediately following the missed class. These lessons will be published among the lesson modules for the given week and will be clearly marked, “Make-up Lesson.” In addition, the instructional team will send an announcement each week with information about the make-up lesson. See guidelines (above) about a) informing the instructional team (in advance) of your intent to use a make-up lesson, b) the amount of points that you are eligible to earn, depending on when you inform the team and when you submit the make-up lesson assignment, and c) due dates for make-up lessons.
- Completing assignments – Students are expected to complete all readings, PRE, IN, DISC, and PROF assignments by the assigned due dates (see assignments associated with each lesson in the modules and/or the course calendar).
- Individual or team work – All assignments are to be completed on your own without the help of others, except for the DISC ONLINE assignment (which is to be completed in a group).
- Notifying instructional team of late assignments – Students are expected to notify the instructional team prior to any assignment being turned in late. See the guidelines above for turning work in late
According to the Penn State Principles and University Code of Conduct: Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Penn State University, allowing the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. In according with the University’s Code of Conduct, you must not engage in or tolerate academic dishonesty. This includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person, or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. Any violation of academic integrity will be investigated, and where warranted, punitive action will be taken. For every incident when a penalty of any kind is assessed, a report must be filed.
Plagiarism (Cheating): Talking over your ideas and getting comments on your writing from friends are NOT examples of plagiarism. Taking someone else’s words (published or not) and calling them your own IS plagiarism. Plagiarism has dire consequences, including flunking the paper in question, flunking the course, and university disciplinary action, depending on the circumstances of the offense. The simplest way to avoid plagiarism is to document the sources of your information carefully.
All IST 389 assignments, except one, should be completed on your own and contain your own individual work. While I encourage students to read together and talk about course readings, the work that you submit for assignments must be your own. The only group assignment is the DISC ONLINE (online discussion), in which groups of 3-4 students will participate together.
Americans with Disabilities Act: The College of Information Sciences and Technology welcomes persons with disabilities to all of its classes, programs, and events. If you need accommodations, or have questions about access to buildings where IST activities are held, please contact us in advance of your participation or visit. If you need assistance during a class, program, or event, please contact the member of our staff or faculty in charge. Access to IST courses should be arranged by contacting the Office of Human Resources, 332 IST Building: (814) 865-8949.
Students with Disabilities: It is Penn State’s policy to not discriminate against qualified students with documented disabilities in its educational programs. (You may refer to the Nondiscrimination Policy in the Student Guide to University Policies and Rules.) If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services Website.
In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see documentation guidelines). If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with your instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester.
The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. You may direct inquiries to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, 332 Information Sciences and Technology Building, University Park, PA 16802; Tel 814-865-0077 or to the Office of Affirmative Action, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901; Tel 814-865-4700/V, 814-863-1150/TTY.
For reference to the full policy: Policy AD42: Statement on Nondiscrimination and Harassment
LA Compensation (to be discussed during “All LA’s Meeting”)
In your first semester as an LA, there are two ways to be compensated for work as an LA: additional IST 389 credit or wage payroll (i.e., pay). First-time LA’s who are not seniors will be given credit. First-time LA’s who are seniors may opt for credit or pay.
Those receiving credit will receive 3 full credits of IST 389 as compensation: 1 credit for the Friday training course plus 2 additional credits for your work as an LA. If you do not see this course for 3 credits on your schedule by noon on Tuesday of the first week of classes, contact the teaching team on Tuesday afternoon of the first week of classes to get this settled.
If you are a senior and are receiving pay as your compensation, you will use the new WorkLion system to report your hours. This is still a relatively new system for all of us, so watch for emails from the Human Resources Shared Services group (who will do your Penn State employment paperwork and employment orientation) for details.
A few important things about your pay:
- You cannot submit hours until employment paperwork is turned in and approved by the Human Resources Office and you are added to the system–you will be alerted when this is completed.
- Payroll due dates occur every 2 weeks. Submit your hours on time, or you will not get paid on time.
- Missing a payroll date results in not being paid until the following pay period (4 weeks later).
- Report real hours as they occur (do not fake it by simply inputting the total amount of hours you are allotted on haphazard days) —this is the law.
- Distinguish between work you do for IST 389 and work that you do for the course to which you are assigned as an LA. Today is part of IST 389 orientation and should not be billed. (You cannot receive credit and pay for the same work.)
- Budget your hours, paying attention to your own accounting of your hours. Be sure to share your personal log of hours with your instructor throughout the semester, so that you both know where you stand with regard to your total allotted hours.
(Note: You are allotted 15 weeks of pay over an 18-week period. For example, assume you are assigned 10 hours per week; this means you have a total of 150 hours. If you submit 9-10 hours every week for all 18 weeks, you will be over budget. Watch your hours, and make a plan with your instructor to reduce your work if you are consistently over the assigned average number of hours.)
The following schedule outlines the topics covered in this course, along with the associated time frames, readings, activities, and assignments. All due dates reflect Eastern Time (ET).