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The Syllabus

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					      The Syllabus

Best Practices for Teaching and
          Assessment
Developed and presented by Diane Henningfeld, Ph.D.
546 N. Scott St.
Adrian, MI 49221
517-265-6881
dhenningfeld@adrian.edu

I am available nearly everyday, at your convenience to review, advise, consult, or cheer you on
with your syllabus development.

Sources:

T. A. Angelo and K.P. Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College
Teachers, San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1993.

Tim Frusti, “Using Your Syllabus to Simplify Assessment,” November 26, 2007.

J.M Slattery and J.F. Carlson, “Effective Syllabi: Current Best Practices,” College Teaching 53,
Fall 2005, pp. 159-165.

Barbara E. Walvoord and Virginia Johnson Anderson, Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and
Assessment, Jossey Bass, 1998.
       Workshop Description
This workshop, through lecture, slide presentation,
discussion, and handouts, is designed to acquaint attendees
with best practices in syllabus construction (as supported
by research in teaching and learning), and encourage
faculty to create strong, comprehensive syllabi that
contribute to student learning, faculty organization, a
coherent and cohesive curriculum, and assessment of
course, departmental, and college successes and
challenges.
 Learning Objectives/Outcomes
• By the end of this session, attendees will be
  able to
  – Describe the functions and components of an
    effective syllabus;
  – Create a syllabus that includes all essential
    parts;
  – Use the syllabus as a teaching tool, structuring
    device and assessment resource.
           Some Assumptions
• The College Mission drives the entire college.
• The curriculum embodies the Ribbons of
  Excellence.
• Each course should contribute (not in every way,
  but in some ways) to the mission and the Ribbons.
• We have the need and desire for a coherent and
  cohesive curriculum.
   Some Background: The 2007
      Survey of AC Syllabi
• 61% directly identified learning outcomes
• 51% indirectly identified learning outcomes
• Virtually none aligned course outcomes with
  program/department goals or college mission;
• 57% showed multiple measures and strategies for
  assessing student learning;
• 76% provided a list of graded assignments and
  requirements;
• 86% assigned weights to assignments and
  requirements
   The Functions of a Syllabus
• Motivation

• Structure

• Evidence
                 Motivation
• Tone
  – Possibilities?


• Content
  – Prepares students for your expectations;
  – Shows students how they can succeed.
                    Structure
• Offers the Big Picture
• A Road Map of where we’re going and how we’ll
  get there.
• Keeps faculty on track.
• “Syllabi help us to develop and organize our vision
  for the class.” J.M. Slattery
• Gives students a sense of control and the ability to
  allocate their time.
• “Students who cannot predict…their professor’s
  expectations and behavior may give up and display
  signs of learned helplessness.” J.M. Slattery
   Evidence I: Teaching Success   :


Your syllabus is a document that reveals
• Your concept of your course;
• Your ability to communicate clearly;
• Your ability to organize;
• Your ability to think sequentially and
  hierarchically;
• Your attitude toward your students and subject;
• Your mastery of course material.
Evidence II: A Contract between
     Students and Faculty
Your syllabus is a document that provides
  evidence of
• Articulation of course and college policies;
• Tells students what you expect, what you
  want them to learn, and the consequences of
  their actions;
• Tells students what they can expect of you,
  including availability.
        Evidence III: External
             Evaluators
Your syllabus
• Shows how you document student learning in your
  course
• Shows how this course supports the College and
  Program missions;
• Shows how this course contributes to outcomes
  articulated in the Ribbons of Excellence;
• It is the primary way evaluators know what is
  happening in your class.
    Components of an Effective
           Syllabus
• Course Information         • Ways to Meet Learning
• Contact Information          Objectives
• Course Description         • Grading
• Rationale                  • Schedule
• Learning Environment and   • Motivational Messages
  Materials
                             • Support Services and
• Goals/Aims of Course
                               Campus Policies
• Learning
  Objectives/Outcomes
           Course Description
•   Course number, name, semester, year
•   Catalogue Description
•   Prerequisites
•   Location
•   Meeting times
          Contact information
•   Instructors first and last name
•   Office
•   Phone
•   Email
•   Website
•   Preferred method of communication
•   Office Hours
                Rationale
• Why this course is offered/required.
• How does this course support the college
  and department missions and Ribbons of
  Excellence?
      Learning Environment and
              Materials
•   Textbooks
•   Required materials
•   Blackboard?
•   Lecture, discussion, small groups?
 Goals (Sometimes Called Aims)
• A good start is with Angelo and Cross’s Teaching
  Goals Inventory.
• What are the overarching goals you have for the
  class?
• Goals are larger, global statements about what you
  want your students to get out of your class, skills
  you want them to use, habits you want them to
  cultivate.
• Goals should explicitly or implicitly be tied to
  mission and ribbons.
 Learning Objectives (sometimes
        called Outcomes)
• Your objectives are measurable and describe how
  your students will meet your goals.
• Formatted as SWBAT
• Action words; avoid “know,” “understand,”
  “realize.”
• Should drive the course
• Should be referred to often in class
• Basis of grades: to what extent have students
  mastered the stated learning objectives?
        Ways to Meet Learning
          Objectives, Part I
• Use your course objectives to determine
  assignments, not the reverse.
• Assignments can be directly linked to learning
  objectives.
• Your rationale for the assignment is that it helps
  students meet the stated learning objectives.
• Assignments should be listed and described.
      Ways to Meet Learning
           Objectives
• Describe all the ways students will be able
  to show you that they have met the stated
  learning objectives: quizzes, tests,
  presentations, class participation, etc.
• Provide several different ways students can
  meet objectives; “triangulation” will give
  you the best picture of student learning
         Grading: Part I
 List the weight of each component listed above.
 List the criteria that will be used for each
  component above. (For example, "Student
  presentations will be graded using a rubric
  attached to this syllabus." "Student
  participation will be graded on the number of
  times a student raises a question in class, with
  an A being achieved by daily participation, a B
  by weekly participation, a C by sporadic
  participation, D, by attendance in class, and F
  by non-attendance in class or sleeping.")
        Grading: Part II
 Provide, if available, rubrics and/or statements
  of grading criteria for each of your learning
  objectives and major assignments.
• (These may actually be the same. For
  example, if my learning objective is that
  "Students will be able to use the vocabulary of
  literary analyses," then one of my criteria for
  grading a paper in the class would be "Student
  uses the language of literary analysis
  appropriately and accurately.")
 List the grading scale.
 Alternatively, if you use a point system, offer an
  explanation and examples of how it works.
                 Schedule
• Due dates for assignments
• Weekly summary of topics, activities
• Class by class readings, assignments, topics
  of discuss.
• All at once, or in segments?
Motivational Messages: Part I
   Expectations regarding attendance,
    academic honesty, due dates, etc.

   Consequences of not meeting these
    expectations
 Motivational Messages: Part II
• Statement of your teaching philosophy.
  Why are you here? What do you
  believe about teaching undergraduates?
  (This is optional, and can be brief.)
• Statement of what students can expect
  from you. (Optional, but a good idea.)
  Support Services and Campus
            Policies
• Students with disabilities
• Academic integrity
• Technology use

				
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