The syllabus presents students with a first impression of your course. It offers many opportunities to share what the learning experience in your course will be like—both explicitly, with the information that you choose to include, and implicitly, with the tone that you set.
Georgetown Professor Marcia Chatelain on putting together an effective syllabus.
Think about how the syllabus functions in your teaching. Which of these roles does your syllabus play in your courses? Is there a new function for your syllabus that you might want to try with your next course?
The syllabus can be:
What should a carefully crafted syllabus contain? This checklist offers a reminder of key elements as well as some ideas for optional items you may want to include.
Georgetown Professor Betsy Sigman on syllabus necessities.
Does your syllabus make sense to someone who is unfamiliar with your course material? Ask a friend or colleague, ideally someone outside your department, to review your syllabus and identify any points of confusion.
What tone does your syllabus set for the course? Positive? Punitive? Warm? Impersonal? The syllabus may well be your students' first impression of the course—what impression are they getting?
What does your syllabus do to create an inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds and identities? You can find resources and ideas for inclusive language on our Policies page, or this Inclusive Syllabus Language page from the University of Michigan, or this University of Maryland page on being welcoming around gender identity.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to have a conversation with someone at CNDLS about these or other teaching issues.