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Syllabus Guiding Questions and Tips

Guiding Questions

  • What do the students need to know about the course?
  • What do you want the students to know about the course?
  • In what way will the syllabus be useful to the students? (Cullen & Harris, 2009)
  • What information and tools can you provide for your students to promote learning and intellectual development? (Grunert, 2008)

Tips for a Writing Syllabus

  • Use “styles” function for titles, headings, and normal text to promote accessibility
  • Proofread: a syllabus with typos, misinformation, and poor formatting creates a negative tone
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS
  • Put essential facts at the top of the syllabus
  • Make sure the information is up to date and correct
  • Be explicit and transparent about expectations (this may help avoid drama)
  • Include images of course content to peak student interest (use brief captions under each image)
  • Hide an “easter egg” in the syllabus, e.g., somewhere within the syllabus ask the students to send you a picture of a specific cartoon character or offer to buy lunch to the student(s) who email you after they read the statement (email must be sent within first two weeks of the course)
Syllabus Checklist
Basic Syllabus Template
Descriptive Syllabus Template