Creating a Class Syllabus

As a college professor, you will need to know how to create a class syllabus for each course you will be teaching. What is a class syllabus, what should be listed on it, and why do we need on?

A class syllabus is a guide created by the professor for students to review what course entails and what will be expected by the student in the course. Sometimes the college may have a template they want professors to use. It is always good to ask if there is one. By requesting a copy of a prior class syllabus for the course, it will give you a starting point and basic outline. Next, you can start to tweak the syllabus to be yours. Basically, it should include the 8 parts listed below:

Part 1: The Header: List the professor’s name, the college name, the course name, and the semester date. List the class schedule as in days and times along with the classroom # for the course or if meeting remotely via zoom. Lastly, list the professor’s office hours and their college email address.

Part 2: Course Description – List the course description, which is found in the College’s course catalog.

Part 3: Course Objectives – List the course objectives for the semester, as in what you expect the students to learn from the course material.

Part 4: Textbook(s) – List the title of required book(s) including the author’s name(s), edition, publisher’s name, and the isbn #s. Let students know where to purchase the book either rent the ebook online or through the college’s bookstore. Are there extra materials needed? Ie. Any specific software, hardware, or tools required for the course.

Part 5: Grading – state the course grading scheme and how you will calculate each student’s grade. Are there any special individual or group projects? Ie. Term papers and/or presentation, blog, software program, or website and how it factors into their final grade.

Part 6: Policies – List your classroom policies of your expectations for attendance and class participation, whether you prefer the student’s webcams on during lectures or not, and that headphones, earbuds and cell phones are for in class assignments only. Most importantly, state the college’s policy on plagiarism and any other important rules and regulations by referencing the college’s student handbook.

Part 7: Resources – List how students can reach the writing center for proofreading, mention if is there a specific Librarian dedicated to the course along with their email information, and lastly how to contact the college’s IT department.

Part 8: The Lesson Plan – list the chapters readings, homework assignments, course projects, and important due dates. Don’t forget to account for scheduling the midterm, the final exam, special faculty days, and any holidays. Remember, to account for some leeway time in the first week, as students purchase the required textbook(s). Some students may have to wait on funds from their financial aid to come through in order to pay for their books. Hint: As the instructor, you may want to send an email to you students two weeks prior to class starting, so students can obtain textbooks early.

As the professor, ask if there a specific textbook the college prefers you to use or can you select your own for the course. You may need to research different publishers. The college school/department/division usually has dedicated publishing reps that you will need to contact to obtain a free review copy, which will be either online as an ebook or they will the book by direct mail.

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