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GUIDE TO SYLLABUS CONSTRUCTION

Course Title
Course ### - Semester/Year
Class location
Class meeting time(s)

Instructor's name
Office location
Office hours
Email
Phone number
TA information   

I.          Course Description

The course description is listed in the academic bulletin.  You may consider including additional details that better describe what the course will cover.  This statement is especially important as it will encourage genuinely interested students to take your class, and dissuade those who are not.   

a. Bulletin description
b. Course credit
c. Intended audience
d. Prerequisite and/or co-requisite

II.          Goals and Learning Outcomes  

Goals

Goal statements provide the broad, general aims of the course.  Goal statements describe intended educational outcomes for students/graduates of the course.  Goals should be linked with specific learning outcomes. 

Learning Outcomes

Your learning outcomes are the crux of your syllabus.  Learning outcomes shape every aspect of your course: the content, overall structure of your course, required readings, forms of assessment, and your grading procedures.

Learning outcomes are much more specific than goal statements. Learning outcomes describe the measurable skills, abilities, knowledge, or values that students should be able to do or demonstrate as a result of the course or program. Learning outcomes should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Realistic, and Time-framed. List 3-5 learning outcomes for the course.

By the end of this course, students will:

define

distinguish

apply

analyze

assemble

appraise

describe

explain

compute

compare

construct

argue

identify

interpret

construct

differentiate

create

defend

recall

paraphrase

demonstrate

discriminate

design

evaluate

recognize

summarize

manipulate

examine

develop

judge

state

translate

predict

test

formulate

support

 

 

 

 

 

Examples:
1. Identify pertinent research problems, and formulate a research plan.
2. Summarize each of Erikson's stages of development.
3. Describe the major sociological perspectives and illustrate how each perspective relates to events in their daily lives.

***Note:  A program of study (such as the General Education program or a program major) has specific learning outcomes.  These are developed by faculty and articulated in the academic bulletin. When applicable, use appropriate program learning outcomes on the course syllabus. "Mapping" program outcomes to syllabi outcomes shows how students develop skills and knowledge in courses that are required for their programs of study.***

III.          Textbooks,  Readings, and Other Materials

Include full bibliographic information for texts (state whether required or optional). Follow the format customary to your discipline. For example:

Myers, D. G. (2000).  Exploring Social Psychology (4th Edition).  NY: McGraw-Hill. 

List other materials needed (e.g., calculators, art supplies, safety equipment).     

IV.          Overall Structure of the Course

Discussing the overall structure of the course provides an indication of the way class sessions will be conducted and the types of activities students will be involved in (e.g., lecture, discussion, lab and experiments, group learning projects).  It is important to select modes of instruction appropriate for your clearly defined learning outcomes.    

V.          Course Requirements

This section details what students will have to do in the course: assignments, exams, projects, and performances.  Describe the nature and format of these assignments.  Be specific.  For instance, what format are the exams: short answer, essay, multiple-choice? What are the topics, expected lengths, and due dates of the term papers?  Is attendance a requirement in your course?   

VI.          Course Policies

Clearly state your expectations and procedures concerning attendance and tardiness, class participation, missed exams or assignments, assignment submission, and academic honesty as well as procedures for accommodating disabilities or special needs.   

VII.        Assessment and Grading

Keep your learning outcomes in mind when developing assessments. Your intended learning outcomes should shape your assessment procedures. Select a variety of assessment procedures because these measure the extent to which students have achieved the course learning outcomes.

Provide clear details of the items that will contribute to the final grade, the weight or point value of all graded items, and the grading scale. The weight given to each graded item conveys its relative importance, and hence affects how students allocate their study time and the amount of effort they put forth. If class participation contributes to students' grades, establish and make clear the criteria used to make that assessment.

VIII.          Course Outline / Course Schedule

Create a schedule that outlines the dates in which topics and readings will be discussed, and when assessments will take place.  Keeping a degree of flexibility in the schedule is advantageous, but exam dates should be somewhat fixed.   

 

References:  

Cornell University. Education 548: Effective College Teaching.  Retrieved May 1, 2008, from http://www.clt.cornell.edu/campus/teach/faculty/SyllabusTemplate.doc.  

Woolcock, M. J. V.  Constructing a Syllabus.  Retrieved April 30, 2008, from http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Sheridan_Center/publications/syllabus.html. 



 

 
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