How to Make your Course Syllabus Better for Your Students
Creating your upcoming course syllabus should be more than just another item to check off your to-do list. Even if your course remains the same as last semester, you can always invest a bit of time optimizing your descriptors. The tips below will help you transform generic bullet point syllabus lists into detailed tools that get students excited to enroll in your class.
The Difference Is in the Details
Every syllabus must answer FAQs, class policies, prerequisites, and the essential course information each student needs to make informed decisions. However, students have many courses to choose from, so share details beyond the essentials.
Here are a few examples:
- Include a chart that details assignments, quizzes, tests, required resources, scheduled readings, and more, instead of just a weekly schedule.
- Include your preferred means of communication (e.g., text, email, or video chat) and the hours that you are available each day, instead of just your contact information.
- Include which building you are in and some basic directions for students who are unfamiliar with your campus, instead of just your room number
- Include learning objectives and course outcomes that demonstrate what students will take away from the class, instead of just a course description.
Share Your Enthusiasm
Think of your syllabus as your first impression. Students expect you to be an expert, so avoid the temptation to oversell your experience and accolades. Instead, focus on your enthusiasm.
Your passion as a professor isn’t conveyed in a bullet point syllabus. Neither is why students should select your course or what it is that makes your teaching style unique.
Many students are actively seeking professors who:
- Are enthusiastic about the courses they teach.
- Believe that their students’ success is their success.
- Are open to the idea of co-learning.
- Excel in communication, not just lesson planning.
By adding a conversational paragraph or two to your course description, you better connect and engage with prospective students. A simple paragraph or two can win students over so that they are choosing you, not just the course or credit requirements.
Set the Tone and Establish Your Expectations
A bullet point syllabus is informative and fact-based, but it doesn’t set much of a tone. You want your students to be eager and enthusiastic, but you also want to set your expectations.
Infuse your personality in each sentence you write, even when writing something as formal as your classroom policies. Speak to your students directly, authentically, and as if they are there with you in person.
How BlendEd Can Supercharge Your Syllabus
If your current syllabus is flat or overly formal, we invite you to sign up for BlendEd. We offer a free, easy-to-use syllabus builder. Copy and paste your existing information, then refine it using the tips above. Or start from scratch!
Our digital tool helps professors stay organized, save valuable time, and better engage students. Try it out at https://www.blendedcourse.com/