How can you create a effective syllabus?
1) Rationale: A syllabus that articulates the rationale of why it is interesting and important will draw the attention and promote motivation of students in learning. A syllabus with no explanation about the rationale of the importance of the topics and assignments given will result in a lack of motivation and passion for students in learning while syllabus presenting a clear rational educates students by making the implicit explicit.
2) Detailed syllabus: A strong syllabus is relatively detailed to give a clear idea to students of the structure, content and expectations of the course. A detailed syllabus can reduce student anxieties or misunderstandings about the course prior to attending the class. A detailed syllabus needs not to be lengthy or wordy, but concise and informative. Although each course may differ in its content or structure, information such as the purposes of the course, expectations, grading methods and criteria, schedule of events, instructor’s contact information, course policies and relevant resources are provided, almost without exception. We ask you to use the ICU Syllabus Template as a tool for developing a detailed course plan.
3) Review and update the syllabus: A syllabus is rarely ‘perfect’ for the first time it is created. Instructors should review the syllabus after one teaching cycle to further improve or update the information to be relevant at the time of next teaching session. Following the PDCA cycle below may help this review and update process.
• P (Plan): set the learning goals and course schedule (develop the syllabus)
• D (Do): teach along with the syllabus
• C (Check): grade and evaluate your course by students and colleagues
• A (Action): improve teaching and syllabus based on the evaluation
ICU’s minimum syllabus content required are:
• Course description
• Learning goals,
• Weekly content,
• Assessment/grading criteria and methods,
• Tentative dates of required assignments and exams,
• Required and recommended course materials,
• Language of instruction,
• Expected learning hours and
• Instructor information
We have designed a syllabus template with the required elements of an effective syllabus at ICU.
1. Syllabus Tutorial (University of Minnesota)
2. Syllabus Design (UC Berkeley)
3. Creating an Effective Syllabus (Cornell University)
4. Example of Student Responsibilities Statements (Stanford University)