Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon
In this chapter we focus on some of the basic elements of syllabus design and some of the more often mentioned best practices in constructing a syllabus, particularly those practices based on the existing empirical literature (Slattery and Carlson 2005; Albers 2003). Syllabus design is one of the most important, but most often overlooked, aspects of conducting a course, and is certainly one of the more challenging activities facing new instructors. Syllabi serve several important purposes, the most basic of which is to communicate the instructor’s course design (e.g. goals, organization, policies, expectations and requirements) to the students in the class. In addition, syllabi can be used to convey the instructor’s enthusiasm for the topic and the expectations for the course, as well as to establish a ‘contract’ with students by publicly stating policies, requirements and procedures. Course syllabi may also relay information about resources such as the location of a writing center, services for students with disabilities or relevant sections of the student code of conduct. Further, the syllabus can also be used to communicate course goals and content to colleagues and other faculty members.
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