Once your course outline has been finished, your readings selected, and your class activities scheduled, you can prepare a written version of your plans for your students.
Even more important than a one-page syllabus for a lab or discussion section, a complete course syllabus serves as an invitation to students interested in your course. It usually provides the first impression they will have both of you and your course, and serves as a legal contract between you and your students, communicating the structure of the course and its operating procedures. A carefully constructed syllabus creates fewer opportunities for miscommunication and charges of capricious grading. A well-prepared syllabus indicates that you take teaching seriously and presents a positive image to your students, your department, and your supervisor.
All University syllabi should include the following elements:
- Course title and number
- Instructor name
- Instructor accessibility (office location and hours, phone, and/or e-mail).
- Course description
- Any prerequisites, co-requisites, and cross-listings
- Course objectives or learning outcomes
- Topical outline
- Principal course assignments
- Specific course requirements for grading purposes
- Grading policy
- Attendance policy
- Required course texts and materials
- Policy for make-up of examinations
- Reference to the Honor Code and Academic Honesty Policy along with the statement: "All academic work must meet the standards contained in A Culture of Honesty. Each student is responsible for knowing those standards before performing academic work."
- The disability and health-related statement: "Students with a disability or health-related issue who need a class accommodation should make an appointment to speak with the instructor as soon as possible."
- The statement: "The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary." For the official University policy regarding syllabi, go to: https://curriculumsystems.uga.edu/curriculum/courses/syllabus
The Center for Teaching and Learning has compiled some helpful articles on syllabus construction at the following website: http://www.ctl.uga.edu/sites/default/files/SyllabusTAO2010.pdf
After you have completed a draft of your syllabus, you should review it with your supervisor and/or faculty advisor. Is your course consistent with departmental needs? Do you have enough material to challenge students and sustain their interest? Is your syllabus flexible--if it is necessary to make changes in the middle of the term, do you have room to make those changes? Are the major themes of the course easily identifiable? Ask colleagues to provide suggestions on how you can improve your syllabus.