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What Kind of Syllabus?

For Those Who Teach

What Kind of Syllabus?

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A recent study found that professors and students aren’t on the same page when it comes to the course syllabus (Lightner & Benander, 2018). How about you and your students? As faculty, we probably don’t all see eye to eye, but most of us consider the syllabus a pretty detailed road map that shows students the way through the course. Most of us devote considerable time and energy to developing a syllabus. We write it with the idea that students need to read it, not scan it, even though most of us spend time early in the course carefully going over the syllabus because we’ve learned the hard way that students don’t read it. And most of us politely and patiently respond to any questions students have about the course, even though the syllabus answers most of them. So there are a few issues we might profitably explore.

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