How To Write a Syllabus

The syllabus is an integral part of any class or course. It is the basis where students evaluate if they need or want to take the course or not. Consider it a synopsis of the particular course or class that includes some information such as date and time of each session, the objectives of the course, and a short overview. The syllabus may detail the grading criteria or requirements along with their respective dates. If you are a first time teacher, then you may not have too much experience in writing a syllabus. Fortunately, here are some steps for you to get started on writing a syllabus for your first class.

  • Start with an overview. The very first thing that you should plaster on your syllabus is a brief description of your course or class. Along with this, include the objectives and the goals upon completion of the course. This will alert the students about what the course is all about and what they can expect to learn from it should they take it. Make sure the information you write here is clear and straightforward.
  • Write the course outline. After your overview, proceed with a detailed outline of the course that will include what topics will be tackled at every session or string of sessions. This outline should encompass the whole course so make sure to inculcate every detail and topic.
  • Include the dates. Along with the course outline, make sure to indicate the dates and times of each session, exam, project, and other relevant activities. Make sure to include dates or timelines where holidays and vacations will take within the timeframe of the course. If there will be certain assignments that will be required for the course, make sure to include the deadlines for each in the syllabus.
  • Include the rules and regulations of the class. It is important that you notify your prospective students of the guidelines, policies, and rules of your class. For instance, some teachers have a “turn of your mobile phone while in class” policy. If this is part of your rules, then make sure to include this tidbit in the syllabus. Other guidelines could be that any student should come to class wearing prescribed attire or must bring certain required tools. Make sure to indicate this clearly in the syllabus so that the students will know what to expect.
  • Set the criteria. Another important feature of your syllabus should be the grading criteria and requirements. This should be plain and clear. For instance, write the exact grading percentages for attendance, exams, and assignments. You may place the various penalties and sanctions for violating certain policies here as well. For instance, if you require a student to attend at least 75 percent of the course, then make sure to include a penalty for a student that does not adhere to this policy. This could be removing the student from class or merely requiring him to earn extra credit.

These are all important parts of the syllabus. When writing it, do not forget to place your name and contact details in the syllabus as well so that the students will be aware of you as the teacher of the course.


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