Randolph-Macon CollegeSuggested Syllabus Guidelines
Creating an effective syllabus for your course will help students gain a smooth entry into the semester. It communicates many of the overall expectations for the course and will allow students to plan their semester and assess their progress.
A good syllabus also has an important "political" function. It reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding and conflict between you and your students. It will also help resolve such conflicts once they occur.
Eberly, Newton, and Wiggins (2001), in the Journal of General Education, state "a syllabus can be an important learning tool." (p.72) They indicate that it can:
A copy of each of your syllabi must be filed with the Provost's Office every semester. This is required documentation for the decennial reaccreditation review. It would also assist a faculty member who might have to take over for you in an emergency.
The following suggestions may help you design a syllabus that is complete and useful for you and your students.
Instructor Contact Information
Required and Optional Texts/Equipment
Assignments/Final Exams or Projects
Grading PoliciesStudents need a clear understanding of your grading from the beginning of the semester. It is in your best interest as well as in the interest of the student to explain grading policies in writing on the syllabus.
Class ParticipationInstructors vary widely in expectations and grading of student participation in class. If participation is part of the course grade, it would be useful to explain how it is graded.It would also be appropriate to list the types of participation to be graded. For example: in-class responses, small group work, or online discussion participation.
Academic IntegrityEvery syllabus should include a statement concerning academic integrity. The following is offered as a guide:
Students with DisabilitiesEvery syllabus should include a statement concerning students with disabilities. The following is offered as a guide:
Calendar of Topics and AssignmentsIt is useful to list class dates with relevant:
Other Resources for Developing a SyllabusSeveral of the resources listed below provided ideas and suggestions included in the R-MC guidelines. The resources may offer other information you will find helpful.
Eberly, M., Newton, S., and Wiggins, R. (2001). The syllabus as a tool for student-centered learning. The Journal of General Education, 50 (1), 56-74.