Before writing your syllabus, design your course, consider your objectives, and write your Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Here are some helpful tips for course design.
Student Learning Outcomes
Use the following aids when developing Student Learning Outcomes for your course. They provide information on how to develop SLOs, based on your course. Creating student learning outcomes begins with an understanding of the content, thinking and skills you wish students to learn, practice, and use. Bloom’s Taxonomy (pdf) describes a number of higher order thinking skills that students are expected to master during their college career. Use the taxonomy to make explicit the ways in which you want your students to learn to think in your discipline, and with regard to the content of your course. Use verbs that describe measurable student learning (pdf). Writing student learning outcomes is an easy way to align student learning, assessment, and course goals. See Student Learning Outcomes (pdf) and Writing Student Learning Outcomes (pdf).
A well constructed syllabus links course objectives and student learning outcomes to both content and assessment of students’ learning of that content. See Connecting Goals Outcomes Assessment. (pdf).
The syllabus is the first impression your students have of you and your course. Think of it as a two-part document. One part is the “voice of your course” and provides information about classroom climate, mutual expectations, learning outcomes, and anything that makes your course compelling and unique. It should help your students understand from the beginning how important the course is for their lives. An excellent example of drawing students into a course is this VideoScribe video by Professor Diane Mitsche. The other part of the syllabus provides administrative requirements, is mandated, and is generic.
The UT Arlington syllabus template (doc) can be accessed here. Be sure to include all required parts of the syllabus.
The UT Austin website provides useful tips on syllabus design.
Day One: Setting the Tone on the First Day of Class
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
—Unknown (attributed to Oscar Wilde and/or Will Rogers)
The first day of class is critical for setting the mood and tone of your course. These presentations from UT Arlington’s Day One Workshop offer ideas for making the first day of class successful.
Designing Online Courses
Online courses (as well as face-to-face courses that utilize online elements) have special considerations to take into account when designing courses. The LINK Research Lab, in association with faculty and staff at UTA, has developed an open resource through Mavs Open Press that covers developing and teaching online courses and course elements. This book, Creating Online Learning Experiences: A Brief Guide to Online Courses, from Small and Private to Massive and Open, can be downloaded for free from https://uta.pressbooks.pub/onlinelearning/. A low cost print version of the book is also available from Lulu.