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The Purpose and Content of a Syllabus

The Purpose and Content of a Syllabus

Author: Alison DeRudder
Description:

Define the purpose and content of a syllabus.

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Tutorial

Tutorial Audio

what's covered
This tutorial covers the purpose of a syllabus in higher education and the components of a syllabus. Here is what will be discussed:
  1. The Purpose of a Syllabus
  2. The Elements of a Syllabus


1. The Purpose of a Syllabus

A syllabus is a document that you will receive generally on or before the first day of class. The purpose of this document is to outline the objectives of the course and what you are expected to do as a student in the class. In other words, this document should help you understand how to be successful and get the grade you want. You will get one syllabus for each class you enroll in.

A syllabus can come to you in different forms. It can be printed out on paper and handed out in class. It can be included in an email from your instructor as an attached document. It can be made available on a course website. No matter what format your syllabus arrives in, it is a key to your success in the course. The syllabus is essentially a handbook or instruction manual for your course, and just like if you were building furniture rather than your education, you’re going to want to read the directions carefully to make sure everything goes well for you.

term to know

Syllabus
A syllabus may be the most important document you receive in a class because it contains general directions your instructor thinks you need to know in order to be successful in the class. Syllabi typically contain details about the instructor, information about where and when the class takes place, learning objectives, policies and procedures, the grading breakdown, and a list of assignments and due dates. The syllabus is something you typically get on the first day of your class. When you get it, you must take some time to read it to understand your responsibilities, plan for upcoming assignments, and identify questions you have for your instructor that are not answered in the syllabus.


2. The Elements of a Syllabus

A syllabus is generally written by your instructor and contains all kinds of information pertaining to your course. Your syllabus will usually begin with the basic details of the course, such as the course name and number, your instructor’s name and contact information, and the time and location that the course meets, or the course website, if applicable.

EXAMPLE

Below is an example of what a syllabus may look like.

File:4239-syllabus_2018_Page_1.png

Next you would typically find a summary of the course and possibly a section on the goals or objectives of the course. This is an area you will want to pay close attention to. Most syllabuses (or “syllabi” if you really want to get into the collegiate mindset) will include information about specific policies and procedures having to do with attendance, participation, grading, academic honesty, the use of technology, and much more. Often, a syllabus concludes with a schedule or calendar of readings and assignment due dates. You may be wondering what to do with all of this information. The next tutorial discusses how to use the syllabus.

summary
The purpose of a syllabus is to be a guide for the course you are taking. A syllabus typically contains the following elements: course objectives, grading criteria, information about required texts and supplies, policies, assignment details, and more.
Terms to Know
Syllabus

A syllabus may be the most important document you receive in a class because it contains general directions your instructor thinks you need to know in order to be successful in the class. Syllabi typically contain details about the instructor, information about where and when the class takes place, learning objectives, policies and procedures, the grading breakdown, and a list of assignments and due dates. The syllabus is something you typically get on the first day of your class. When you get it, you must take some time to read it to understand your responsibilities, plan for upcoming assignments, and identify questions you have for your instructor that are not answered in the syllabus.