When history professor Mary-Ellen Kelm realized that her students had minimal interest in her course, she turned the tables by inviting them to help determine what they would learn and how they would be evaluated.


History professor invited students to co-create syllabus—and watched their engagement and creativity soar

April 28, 2017

By Jackie Amsden, Teaching and Learning Centre 

Mary-Ellen Kelm is offering a new kind of educational experience that puts learners in the driver’s seat. For the past two semesters, the SFU history professor and Canada Research Chair has invited students to co-create the syllabus, assignments and marking rubrics of HIST 326, a course that examines the history of Aboriginal people in North America since 1850.

Kelm felt the problem was that course content was not relevant to the goals and interests of her students and set out to change that by creating a participatory process that allows students to decide what content the course will cover and how they will demonstrate their knowledge.

Learn more about Kelm's collaborative learning experience in this article.