1. Guiding Questions

As you start creating or revising your syllabus, consider the following guiding questions.
(Adapted from https://teaching.cornell.edu/resource/planning-your-course-decision-guide

Who are your students?

  • How many students in your course?
  • Is this typically the first time students have encountered your discipline?
  • What motivations drive your students?
  • How does it fit into the curriculum and their academic journey?

What purpose(s) does your syllabus fill?

  1. A document that meets institutional requirements/guidance
    • Refer to the most recent guidance from the Provost’s Office.
    • Information required for transfer (description, outcomes)
    • Information needed by the department and/or for program assessment
    • External professional standards that need to be met
  2. A first introduction of you and the course to your students (e.g., “letter to the students”)
    • What is the tone you want to set? Read your syllabus as a student – better yet, have someone else do it.
    • What are your course goals?
  3. A place to express the class structure
    • What expectations do you want students to be aware of at the start and/or refer to during the course?
    • What are the key topics and course activities students can plan for (e.g., course schedule, map)
    • How can students be successful in the course and how will their work be graded?
  4. An informational document to preempt challenges and complaints.
    • Policies
      • Institutional (see Provost Office Guidance)
      • Course type (online, blended, on campus)
      • Individual
Next: 2. Syllabus Elements