Center for the Advancement of Innovative Teaching

Syllabus Writing

Today's course syllabus, far from being a hoary catalog of classroom rules or a sterile table-of-contents for  curriculum, also offers guidance about course content and learning outcomes, insight into the professor's values, assessment plans and expected student behaviors, tips on ways to be successful, and how the course fits into the university's larger curriculum objectives.  Increasingly, it is viewed as a contract between the professor and students, and a means of making course outcomes and expectations more transparent.

You can often obtain a model syllabus from your dean or program chair, and much excellent guidance is available online.  A sampling of some such sources follows:

It is recommended that you allot some class or assignment time to working with the syllabus, and that you encourage students by in-class and assignment opportunities and incentives not only to read it but to generate questions and discussion about their concerns.