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The basic requirements of a syllabus are to communicate information clearly and provide students and teachers with a basic contract regarding class content and happenings.
This can make for a very dry and impersonal syllabus--but why not leverage this important document into a relationship-building tool? Why not make your syllabus the best syllabus you’ve written? Educators love sharing syllabi because we know that there’s always room for improvement. So in this blog post, we’re going to share some tips on how to make your syllabus the best syllabus ever.
For many students, an impassioned syllabus can be both refreshing and groundbreaking. An immediate relationship forms when a student reads a syllabus that only that particular educator could have written. These syllabi can be legendary, as David Foster Wallace’s syllabus for his undergraduate nonfiction course has become. But what they all can be is the first step towards relationship building and setting a tone for your classroom that can carry throughout the semester.
And also--such a syllabus can make students read the syllabus (how many of us wish we had a nickel for every time we have said, “It’s in the syllabus?”)
Let’s go over some basics. First, a syllabus should address the following components of a course or class (items unique to Higher Education are in italics):
There are ways to enrich your course syllabus, too. A syllabus doesn’t have to end at the above sections. And a syllabus doesn’t have to be cut and dry, even if you’re working within the above structure.
We hope this post gives you some ideas on how to make your syllabus the best it can be. At Turnitin, we sincerely believe that teacher-student relationships and communication are key to both academic integrity and academic success.