Teaching Resources

The Syllabus

Communicating Content, Rules, and Enthusiasm

Syllabi aren't just assignment calendars:  they serve several important purposes.  The syllabus communicates the instructor’s course design (e.g., goals, organization, policies, expectations, requirements) to students. A well-constructed syllabus can do more.  It can share enthusiasm for the topic, set the tone for the semester, and help students manage their learning by making explicit what you expect them to learn.  The resources on this page give advice and tools for efficient and effective syllabus construction.

 

Creating Your Syllabus

Writing the Syllabus comes fairly late in the course planning process, and it incorporates the thinking that you have done about course design. These links provide helpful advice about syllabus construction, as well as interactive templates that can help you construct an excellent syllabus.

The Syllabus (good advice from Carnegie Mellon on content & strategy, plus examples of creative syllabi)

Syllabus Construction Tool (video showing how Utah State's free, open-source syllabus creator works and how to get it)

Creating the Syllabus (Berkeley teaching center discusses the components)

Function and Components of a Syllabus (Harvard's learning center discusses function and components, links to examples)

Syllabus Checklist (essential elements plus meta-analysis)

Syllabus Rubric (evaluate your syllabus)

Required Syllabus Elements

At SMU all syllabi are required to contain certain information. In addition, courses that meet University Curriculum Requirements have prescribed elements. Below are links to these requirements.

Syllabus Statements on disability, religious observance, and excused absences

University Curriculum SLOs

Optional Elements

Laptops in the Classroom (discussion of issues to consider and sample syllabus statements)

Multiple Topics (such as academic honesty, classroom conduct, research skills, communication protocols, use of class notes)

Several Academic Issues (attendance, assignment submission, late papers, midterms, recommended study habits)