Assessing A Syllabus Research Paper

Length: 5 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Teaching Type: Research Paper Paper: #23063943 Related Topics: Personal Narrative, Plagiarism, Five Pillars, Visual Communication
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Components of a Good Syllabus

It takes time, careful consideration and intensive planning to create a good syllabus, and for good reason. This basic document is the essential road map for a given course that the student receives. The document tells the student what he or she can expect from the course, and what will be expected from the student. In certain respects, one could argue that the syllabus provides the much needed glance into the future for the student and the class at large. However, that's not the only function of the syllabus. The syllabus also has the romantic job of attempting to inspire and excite about the journey of learning ahead.

Ideally, the best syllabus has a more learner-centered approach. This approach focuses on the goals and objectives of the course as centered around the students with a particular focus on what the students need to learn along with an understanding of what helps students learn and what hinders students from learning. Such a perspective needs to be the guiding premise of any syllabus overall. In the heading of the syllabus, should be the "vital statistics" of the course, these are the nuts and bolts of the course, including the course title, course number and semester, the instructor contact information, the office hours and location, in conjunction with the course meeting time and location.

There should also be an introductory paragraph from the professor to the student. Many syllabi skip this step and go straight to the course description, copying it straight from the course catalog. The introductory paragraph should congratulate the student for taking the course and get the student excited about what's ahead. The course description should be evocative of what is written about the course in the academic bulletin or catalog, but should essentially provide more information than what is simply there. All information about the course should stimulate the interest and excitement of the student.

The syllabus should also discuss in no uncertain terms the specific learning outcomes of the course and other such pedagogical goals. The objectives of the course need to be clear and in


"Making your pedagogical goals explicit engages your students in the process of their learning and helps them reflect on what they are learning and how the class structure is assisting them towards that learning" (Susman, 2013). In conjunction with the learning outcomes, a good syllabus will show the required textbooks and readings which will be necessary over the arc of the entire course. The syllabus will show which readings will be necessary to do and when, along with demonstrating the themes and objectives that the readings will cover.

Another major component of a good syllabus is that it will outline in no uncertain terms, the expectations for the student in terms of completed assignments. This is pretty essential as courses very so dramatically in this regard and students need to know what their exact obligations will be. For example, some course have no homework assigned except for a 10-page paper at the end of the term which counts for the entire grade. Other courses might expect a student to submit a three-page paper each week or every other week. These obligations need to be highlighted with clarity in the syllabus so that the student has a clear and present understanding of what they are. The student needs to know what the exact expectations in terms of grading are as well, along with how all completed assignments will impact one's overall grade. Also, all policies for late or incomplete work need to be stated clearly in this section as well.

At the end of the syllabus there needs to be a clear and present statement about class policies including attendance, class behavior (such as participation and discussion etiquette). For example one professor valued class participation so much, but understood that some students are naturally shy, and thus made it mandatory that students either participate in class discussions or show up at her office hours and talk there. There need to be explicit statements made about leaving or arriving late, food or drinks in the classroom, cell phones and laptops, the withdrawl and reinstatement policy, along with recording lectures and students with special needs.

The semester schedule should also be presented as a timeline to help give visual…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Susman, K. Characteristics of a Good Syllabus. January 2013. July 2014

<>. English 101: Composition and Rhetoric. 2013. July 2014


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