student at white board July 29

A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning


At its most basic level, the syllabus is used to communicate information about the course, the instructor, learning objectives, assignments, grading policies, due dates, the university’s academic integrity statement, and, in some cases, an increasingly long list of strongly worded admonitions on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the college classroom.

questionkeyboard April 16, 2012

A Syllabus Tip: Embed Big Questions


Much has been written about the course syllabus. It’s an important tool for classroom management, for setting the tone, for outlining expectations, and for meeting department and university requirements. It’s an essential document in a higher education course, but do your students read it? And if they do read it, do they see the real purpose of the course beyond the attendance policy and exam dates? Here’s one strategy that will not only encourage your students to read the syllabus, but it will also allow you to stimulate discussion, create curiosity, and assess students’ knowledge on the first day of class.

ff-tp-blog August 24, 2011

What Does Your Syllabus Say About You and Your Course?


A colleague shared an excellent but not yet published paper on the syllabus. It got me thinking as this is the time most of us are revisiting these venerable documents. Oh, I know, some of you finished yours back in May when the semester ended. And then there are the rest of us who are working on them feverishly as the beginning of new academic year quickly approaches.

March 23, 2010

What Students Expect from Instructors, Other Students


Some years back The Teaching Professor featured an article highlighting Mano Singham’s wonderful piece describing how he moved away from a very authoritarian, rule-centered syllabus (reference below). It’s one of my very favorite articles—I reference it regularly in presentations, and it appears on almost every bibliography I distribute.

August 24, 2009

Using the Syllabus to Create an Engaging Classroom Climate


It’s important at the beginning of a course for students and their instructor to find out about each other. This exchange of information helps to create classroom climates of respect and fosters a spirit of exchange that can encourage students to ask questions, make comments, and otherwise participate in dialogue throughout the course.

May 18, 2009

Student-Centered Teaching: The Academic Leader’s Role in Shifting Paradigms


During the past 10 years or so, higher education institutions have made strides in transitioning from an instructor-centered approach to a learner-centered approach to teaching. These strides, both large and small, have transformed the college classroom environment to provide students with greater opportunities for active learning, collaboration, and engagement.