Grade: all
Subject: other

#3313. Syllabus Planning 101

other, level: all
Posted Mon Dec 20 01:00:21 PST 2004 by Marjory Thrash (
Pearl River Community College, Poplarville, MS
Materials Required: Calendar, school handbook, semester plan
Activity Time: 2 hours
Concepts Taught: Basics for planning a syllabus

Syllabus Creation 101

Description: A syllabus provides a list of the course objectives, required materials, calendar, and grading plan. Typical additions include policies for attendance, behavior, and presentation of work. In essence, the syllabus stands at the contract between the instructor and the students.

Intended Audience: Entry level teachers
Teachers needing to improve management and organization
Teachers needing to show continued improvement

Supplies: Semester plan (see Semester Planning 101 in lesson plan database)
School handbook or policy manual
School calendar

1. Begin with the header information, which should include:
a. Course name
b. Course time and location
c. Semester and year
d. Instructor name and title
e. Support staff name and title, if necessary
2. Provide acceptable contact sources
a. School telephone and fax numbers
b. School provided email address
c. You may wish to obtain a private email address for school use (such as yahoo). Generally, do not give your private email address.
d. Generally, do not provide your home address or telephone number. In an emergency, school administrators will track you down if necessary.
3. Provide a short description of the class (one or two sentences)
4. Provide a list of the major objectives of the class (3 to 5 -- this may be reduced or deleted). Typical objectives may include:
a. "Learn and practice responsible adult behavior"
b. "Reach and pass all grade level milestones, as measured by the X test"
c. "Attend X% of school days" (whatever the minimum attendance is)
d. Pass all classes with at least a C
e. Learn and improve skills in X, Y, and Z (dependent on the course -- in English this could be composition, reading, and public speaking)
5. Provide a list of the major units in the class (obtain from the semester plan). This does not need to be in instructional order or complete.
6. Specific supplies required by the student and date needed. Any fees should be prominently marked.
7. Grading scale (90 -- 100 A, 80 -- 89 B). This must fit within the school policy.
8. Some description of major grading components of the class. For instance, if a research paper will be 1/3 of the grade, this needs to be clearly stated, along with the other elements. Never assume that the student and/or parent will know your grading system. Remember, you and the students will be held to this contract, so be specific.
9. Your policies toward late submissions, dropping a grade, make up work, and cheating. These policies must fit within the guidelines established by the school handbook.
10. Your policies about behavior. Again, be consistent with the school handbook and clear about your additional policies.
11. If you have a specific unit or evaluation system, add it. For instance, if you grade homework 1 time per week for of the unit grade, class work as of the unit grade, and give a unit test as the remaining of the unit grade, then state that policy. If evaluations will vary by unit, then state that policy.
12. Provide a list of the critical dates (9 week tests, standardized tests, major unit evaluations, field trips).
13. If you can recommend helpful resources such as websites or reference books, add to the syllabus.

If you require students to keep a notebook, making the syllabus a required component of it is a great idea.

When your course is very organized, you might wish to experiment with adding calendars to the syllabus, but this is not required.