4 Purpose of the Syllabus ContractLegal documentCourse information and expectationsCommunication DevicePrevent potential misunderstandingsTone and personality of coursePlanCourse outcomes or goalsStrategies to accomplish goalsCognitive MapClear focus on what’s most importantVisual OrganizationMatejka, & Kurke, 1994
5 Purpose of the Syllabus Encourage and Guide StudentsCourse Learning OutcomesSupport for SuccessTeaching PhilosophyExpectationsPolicies, ResponsibilitiesGrunert, O’Brien, Millis, & Cohen (2008)
6 What do you want students to know, think or do? Learning OutcomesWhat do you want students to know, think or do?
7 How will students accomplish the learning outcomes? Learning ActivitiesHow will students accomplish the learning outcomes?
8 Need for Accountability: Helping Students Master Content
9 Mastering Content: Retrieval Practice is a Memory Tool Mastering Content: Retrieval Practice is a Memory Tool! Roediger & Karpicke (2006)
10 Re-thinking Assignments: An Equity Issue (Taras, 2006) Re-thinking Assignments: An Equity Issue (Taras, 2006)Challenging AssignmentFirst Draft or AttemptFeedbackSecond Draft or AttemptFinal Product
11 How will you know if students achieved the learning outcomes? AssessmentHow will you know if students achieved the learning outcomes?
12 Processing Time…How do you hold students accountable for learning outside of class?How can you increase feedback opportunities for students?
14 Research on the syllabus (and practical pplications!)
15 WHAT’S IN A SYLLABUS?Doolittle, P. E., & Siudzinski, R. A. (2010). Recommended syllabus components: What do higher education faculty include in their syllabi?. Journal On Excellence In College Teaching, 21(3), Retrieved from Academic Search Premiere.
16 What’s Important on a Syllabus? Step 1Reviewed 15 College Teaching ResourcesStep 2Discovered 81 suggested componentsResultsA total of 24 components were identified by at least 50% of the resourcesDoolittle & Siudzinski, 2010
17 Instructor Information Next StepsThemes from 24 ComponentsCourse InformationInstructor InformationGrading InformationPolicy InformationReviewed 1000 Syllabi (Google)Doolittle & Siudzinski, 2010
18 Prediction Time… What percentage of faculty included: Late/Missed work policiesDisability statementsInformation about supports available?
19 What do faculty include? Doolittle & Siudzinski, 2010
20 REACHING OUT FOR SUPPORT Perrine, R. M., Lisle, J., & Tucker, D. L. (1995). Effects of a syllabus offer of help, student age, and class size on college students' willingness to seek support from faculty. Journal of Experimental Education, 64(1),
21 “Please come and talk to me” The StudySeek help from instructor?104 College StudentsSupport Statement on Syllabus“Please come and talk to me”No Support Statement on SyllabusPerrine, Lisle, & Tucker, 1995
22 Results- Willingness to Seek Help Potential ProblemSupportiveNeutralTrouble understanding textbook4.73.7Low grade on first exam4.84.0Hard to hear instructor's lectures4.43.8Study skills ineffective for course3.6Thinking about dropping course4.9Trouble understanding major topic5.34.2All significantly different!Perrine, Lisle, & Tucker, 1995
23 ApplicationExplicitly communicate your interest and willingness to work with students outside of classProvide specific information about supportive services (counseling, tutoring, etc.) on campus
25 SYLLABUS DETAILSaville, B. K., Zinn, T. E., Brown, A. R., & Marchuk, K. A. (2010). Syllabus detail and students' perceptions of teacher effectiveness. Teaching Of Psychology, 37(3), doi: /
26 Survey on Teacher Behaviors The StudySurvey on Teacher Behaviors97 College StudentsBrief SyllabusDetailed SyllabusSaville, Zinn, Brown, & Marchuk, 2010
27 Detailed Version- 6 pages The SyllabusBrief Version- 2 pagesDetailed Version- 6 pagesInstructor name/contact informationCourse objectivesTextbookBrief Overview of Assignments (ex. 6 exams)Grading distributionBrief overview of policiesCalendar with due datesSame information with more detail6 exams consisting of multiple choice and short answer questionsCalendar included chapters that would be covered
28 Results! All significantly different! Teacher Characteristic Detailed BriefApproachable/personable3.172.55Creative/interesting3.452.64Effective communicator3.052.47Encouraging/cares for students3.122.13Enthusiastic3.602.41Flexible/open-minded2.97Knowledgeable3.75Prepared3.382.81Present current information3.532.50Promotes critical thinking3.502.88Realistic expectations/fair3.062.16All significantly different!Saville, Zinn, Brown, & Marchuk, 2010
29 More ResultsSaville, Zinn, Brown, & Marchuk, 2010
30 ApplicationAdd specific information – especially about course schedule and assignments (i.e. rubrics)All essential information is in one placeSends positive message about instructor, setting a positive tone for courseVisual images, charts or tools- longer syllabus but perhaps better!
36 ON-LINE SYLLABUSGrigorovici, D., Nam, S., & Russill, C. (2003). The Effects of Online Syllabus Interactivity on Students' Perception of the Course and Instructor. Internet And Higher Education, 6(1), Retrieved from ERIC.
37 The Study Student Perception of Instructor 49 Undergraduate StudentsLow Interactivity-1 pageMedium Interactivity- Main Page with3 linksHigh Interactivity- Main Page with links, Three Pages with 3 more linksStudent Perceptionof InstructorGrigorovici, Nam, & Russill, 2003
38 Low or Medium Interactivity ResultsMore negative impression of professorHigh InteractivityMore positive impression of professorLow or Medium InteractivityGrigorovici, Nam, & Russill, 2003
39 Application Slow down…. Use caution when considering hyperlinks Easy accessVisual organization
40 STUDENT USE AND RECALLSmith, M. F., & Razzouk, N. Y. (1993). Improving classroom communication: The case of the course syllabus. Journal of Education for Business, 68(4), Retrieved from Academic Search Premiere.
41 The Study 152 Upper Level College Students 72 Males 80 Females CompletedQuestionnaireOn Syllabus Content and Use152 Upper Level College Students72 Males80 FemalesSurveyed at 3 weeks or 7 weeksSmith & Razzouk, 1993
42 Prediction Time!What percentage of students report using their syllabus at least once per week?
43 The Results! Syllabus Usage Frequency Every day 20% Once a week 57% Smith & Razzouk, 1993
44 The Results! Syllabus Recall Percent Correct Course title, instructor name, credits, textbook95-100%Project purpose, course code, number of exams85-90%Topic for day, instructor office information, textbook author8-48%Smith & Razzouk, 1993
45 The Results! Course Objectives Percent Recalled One objective 60% Two objectives8%More than 2 objectives3%No objectivesAlmost 30%Smith & Razzouk, 1993
46 Applications of Research First Day of ClassAvoid Cognitive Overload- No Need to “Cover” Entire SyllabusHow can you draw attention to what’s most important (i.e. learning outcomes)?
49 Processing Time…Do you bring attention to the course learning outcomes?How might you bring even more attention to important parts of your syllabus?
50 What’s the Syllabus Say About the Professor and the Course?
51 SYLLABUS TONEHarnish, R. J., & Bridges, K. (2011). Effect of Syllabus Tone: Students' Perceptions of Instructor and Course. Social Psychology Of Education: An International Journal, 14(3), Retrieved from ERIC.
52 172 Students Friendly Syllabus Unfriendly Syllabus The Study Students thought they were evaluating an adjunct.Harnish & Bridges, 2011
53 Examples from Syllabus UnfriendlyFriendlyIf you need to contact me outside of office hours, you may me….Come prepared to actively participate in this course. This is the best way to engage you in learning….I welcome you to contact me outside of class and student hours. You may me….I hope you actively participate in this course. I say this because I found it is the best way to engage you in learning….Directly quoted from Harnish and Bridges (2011)
54 The Results! Topic Friendly Average Unfriendly Average Approachability 4.073.77Faculty Level of Motivation to Teach3.63.07Difficulty3.343.72Harnish & Bridges, 2011
55 ApplicationSyllabus is often first impression- especially if given out electronically before classUse Positive Language and ToneUse “you” instead of “students”Simple changes = powerful attitudinal shifts
56 How Should Faculty Address the Syllabus in Class?
57 Get Students Involved with Syllabus Syllabus QuizInteract with syllabus every class- student or faculty reviews plan for the day
58 SYLLABUS QUIZRaymark, P. H., & Connor-Greene, P. A. (2002). The Syllabus Quiz. Teaching Of Psychology, 29(4),
59 The Study 21 Question True/False Test on Syllabus Week 2 200 Students Invited to Participate;125 Students did Participate7 question syllabus quizAverage score 4.18 out of 77 question quiz on human nature21 Question True/False Test on SyllabusWeek 2Raymark & Connor-Greene, 2002
60 The Results! Must take it seriously- give credit for correct answers Does not replace faculty-student conversationsPerformanceRaymark & Connor-Greene, 2002
61 Ongoing Interactions with the Syllabus are Needed
62 Syllabus Checklist Are core components included? Course Information Name/Number, Description, Purpose, Learning Outcomes, Content Areas, Location/Times/Days, Textbooks, Supplemental Readings, Calendar, Due DatesInstructor and Campus Support InformationName, Office Location/Hours, Phone, Address, Welcome Statement/Teaching Philosophy, Campus Resources AvailableAssignments and Grading InformationGrading Policy, Scale, Assignment Names/Descriptions, Grading Details/Rubrics, Course Outline with Due Dates and Learning ActivitiesPolicy InformationLate/Missed Work Policy, Attendance Policy, Academic Conduct Policy, Disability Policy
63 Syllabus Checklist Continued Organization and Clarity of InformationIs it well-organized and easy to follow?Were there enough details provided? Can you easily see what is expected of you?Were visual tools such as charts used to organize the information and clearly communicate information?
64 Syllabus Checklist Continued Initial Reaction to Syllabus and ProfessorHow would you describe this course to someone?How would you describe the professor based on this syllabus?Would you be likely to register for this course or take this professor?Would you be likely to suggest that a friend take this course or take this professor?What did you like the most about the syllabus?What suggestions do you have to make the syllabus better?
65 ReferencesDoolittle, P. E., & Siudzinski, R. A. (2010). Recommended syllabus components: What do higher education faculty include in their syllabi?. Journal on Excellence In College Teaching, 21(3), Retrieved from Academic Search Premiere. Grunert O’Brien, J., Millis, B. J., & Cohen, M. W. (2008). The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Harnish, R. J., & Bridges, K. (2011). Effect of Syllabus Tone: Students' Perceptions of Instructor and Course. Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, 14(3), Matejka, K., & Kurke, L. B. (1994). Designing a great syllabus. College Teaching, 42(3), 115. Perrine, R. M., Lisle, J., & Tucker, D. L. (1995). Effects of a syllabus offer of help, student age, and class size on college students' willingness to seek support from faculty. Journal of Experimental Education, 64(1), Saville, B. K., Zinn, T. E., Brown, A. R., & Marchuk, K. A. (2010). Syllabus detail and students' perceptions of teacher effectiveness. Teaching of Psychology, 37(3), doi: / Smith, M. F., & Razzouk, N. Y. (1993). Improving classroom communication: The case of the course syllabus. Journal of Education for Business, 68(4), Retrieved from Academic Search Premiere.
66 Thank you and best wishes as you CREATE Powerful syllabi! Questions? me at