For the past several years I have been fortunate to be involved in the Associate Program and New Faculty Orientation at College of the Canyons. In my capacity as a facilitator I became immersed in one specific mode of communication between faculty and students – that of the course syllabus. The course syllabus is many things: It is a communication tool, it is a list of requirements, and it is a first impression. According to Hammons and Shock (1994), "A wide gap exists between what students would like to see in a course syllabus and what faculty typically include in one" (p. 7). Often we become concerned with length, and thus sometimes sacrifice content. We strive to highlight important points in class, which students often forget.
After years of trial and error, as well as numerous revisions, I redesigned my own syllabus in content, as well as design, to see if my own classroom issues could be resolved. The approach I took was to design a syllabus which is formatted like a newsletter. The addition of simple tools, such as text boxes, use of different fonts, and clip art, transformed my syllabus into something unique. The feedback I have received from my students has been overwhelmingly positive.
This site will provide you with information about the course syllabus, templates you can use, sample syllabi, innovative ideas such as the syllabus quiz and contract, and even research instruments with which you can assess the effectiveness of your own syllabus. I hope you will find the information useful.
If you have any questions about the content of this website please contact Victoria Leonard.