Tips and checklist for creating college course syllabus

by Julie Dodd

checklist of developing course syllabusWe spent much of our last class meeting discussing the many decisions involved in creating an undergraduate course syllabus.

We talked about how Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956), updated by by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001), can help with one of the most important first steps in developing a course — determining the student learning outcomes (SLOs) for the course.

Developing specific and measurable SLOs can be aided by using action verbs to operationalize each SLO —

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Strategies for creating university course syllabi

by Julie Dodd

An important part of successful teaching is being able to design an effective course. The foundation of course design is the course syllabus.

In Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930), each class member determines an undergraduate communications course to create a syllabus for. Decisions for developing the syllabus include:

understandingbydesignWhat are the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO). Curriculum design and learning theory support determining the big-picture outcomes for the course and letting those guide the course structure and week-by-week instruction and assignments. A very helpful book for this big-picture to small-picture planning is Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe).

How will student learning be assessed. “McKeachie’s Teaching Tips” recommends using several assessment strategies to enable students who have a variety of learning styles to demonstrate what they have learned. Assessment can include quizzes and exams, major papers or projects, team projects, and class participation.

How will the class be structured. A typical course at the University of Florida is three credits and meets three hours each week. The decision is whether the class will meet three times a week for an hour each time, once a week for three hours, or twice a week, meeting for one hour one day and two hours on the other day.

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