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FTLA 2014
8

Syllabus Redesign!

Learning-Centered Syllabus “A learning centered syllabus requires that you shift from what you, The instructor, are going to cover in your course to a concern for what information and tools can provide for your students to promote learning and intellectual development” (Diamond, p. xi). An effective learning-centered syllabus should accomplish certain basic goals (Diamond, p. ix): 1. define students' responsibilities; 2. define instructor's role and responsibility to students; 3. provide a clear statement of intended goals and student outcomes; 4. establish standards and procedures for evaluation; 5. acquaint students with course logistics; 6. establish a pattern of communication between instructor and students; and 7. include difficult-to-obtain materials such as readings, complex charts, and graphs.

Here is a syllabus template from Harvard’s Book Center: [Course Number & Title]
[Term & Year offered] [Class location & meeting time] Instructor(s): Office Hours: Course website, course email list: Prerequisites: [if applicable]

Instructional Staff
Contact info, photos, office hours and brief description of duties of instructors, preceptors, Head TF, TFs & TAs, technical staff.

Course description
Brief description of the major topics, analytic themes, and/or methodological approaches used in the course.

Course Aims and Objectives
Short and longer term pedagogical goals. At the end of this course, what should students be able to know and/or do? What skills and/or knowledge will be the basis of evaluating student performance in the course? Syllabi for Gen Ed courses should include a clear statement on how the course addresses the pedagogical goals of the Program in General Education as a whole, as well as how the course meets the goals of the specific category (or categories) in which it resides.

Course Policies and Expectations
Make explicit any expectations you have of the students (work produced, behavior in class, etc.) and what students can expect from you. You should be explicit about policies for attendance/participation, late assignments, makeup exams, senior thesis writers, section changes, classroom conduct (respect for others, laptop use in class, etc.), enrollment issues (adding, pass/fail etc), regrade policies, etc.

Materials and Access
Required or recommended texts and readings. Where and how materials are available. Information on study groups, departmental question centers, the Bureau of Study Counsel, the Writing Center, Library, the Art or Natural History museums, etc., if relevant.

Assignments and Grading Procedures
Overview of homework and major assignments, including details about the percentage break-down, how and whether grades are curved, etc. Academic Integrity You should be explicit with students about your expectations for citation of outside sources in written work, bearing in mind that different disciplines follow different conventions for scholarly citation. For additional information you may wish to review any recommendations made in your local faculty handbook. It is also important that you clarify for your students the course policies on collaboration, particularly if it differs from the default policy established by the your college or department. If collaboration is allowed, be specific about how it should be acknowledged and how the individual work involved in group projects will be evaluated.

Accommodations for students with disabilities (mandatory on all syllabi)
We have included examples from other faculty syllabi—however, you may want to check if there’s a standard one used at your campus.

Course Schedule
Topic-by-topic or class-by-class overview. Include dates for midterm exams and major assignments. Consider how holidays, add/drop and withdrawal deadlines, Reading Period, and instructor absences/guest lectures will be handled. Tentative aspects should be labeled as such.

Other useful information for students
• • • • how to use this syllabus, the website etc. guidelines for papers or projects how to study, read effectively or take good notes etc. how to seek help

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Other Resources:

! Syllabus Samples: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/creativeapproaches-to-the-syllabus/35 . Retrieved on January 13, 2012 ! Learning-Centered Syllabus Workshop: http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/syllabi.html. Retrieved on January 13, 2012 ! Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for Teaching, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. ! Diamond, R. M. (1997). "Forward" in Grunert, J., The Course Syllabus, Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc

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