Goals, Assessment, and Teaching Tools
Teaching success starts way before the first day of class. Crucial decisions about what you want your students to learn affect everything you do and allow you to plan what to teach, how to teach it, and how to assess teaching outcomes.
The basic components of planning are:
- Goals: identify your desired results.
- Tools: plan learning experiences and instruction so the students can engage with new material and apply it, providing the raw material for progress toward your goals.
- Evidence: consider what kinds of evidence will show you how the students' learning is progressing.
- Communication: taking all of this into consideration, draft a syllabus that will communicate your goals and guide your students through the course.
Course Design Resources:
A number of resources are available to walk you through this process. Additional articles can be made available upon request.
Designing Your Course (theoretical and practical steps from Carnegie Mellon)
Planning Your Course: A Decision Guide (Cornell University)
"Speaking of Teaching," Designing Courses (Stanford University)
"Teaching and Learning Bulletin," Design a Course (University of Washington)
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.
Simple Syllabus: use Simple Syllabus to build our syllabus library and provide ease of access to all students.
The Syllabus (good advice from Carnegie Mellon on content & strategy, plus examples of creative syllabi)
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.