Course Design & Syllabus Resources for Faculty

Course Design

Course design is often not by the textbook, which is usually just a resource. In thinking about course design, think first about what you want students to leave the course knowing, being able to do, etc. that they didn't know or couldn't do before they took the course. What is MOST essential to include? What is the most logical means of developing that essential information, considering student preparation, experience, etc. How will you build in engaging, informative activities that promote learning?

Syllabus Guidelines

The syllabus is a key communication tool between you and your students. “Your syllabus is the first learning material students encounter in your course. Because of this it is important to include the tone of your class in addition to its form. In addition to its contractual nature, the syllabus represents your initial attempt to form a relationship with your students, to begin the process of community the class will take. Take advantage of that opportunity. Include a favorite quote or two, especially from sites that may surprise them (like” From: the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (see here).

There is much good advice and many models available to help you design this important document.

The Center for Teaching Excellence at Iowa State has materials from a "Learning-Centered Syllabi" workshop. This site helps you put student learning at the center of this important document, including a detailed list of what to include.

A tutorial from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota will help you construct a syllabus. Many examples are provided.

The "Teaching Tools and Resources" area of a web site at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (originally prepared by their Teaching & Learning Center) has many suggestions about lots of aspects of the teaching and learning process -- they are arranged by topic so it is easy to browse for ideas. Included are ideas for planning a course, developing a syllabus, motivating students, as well as "101 Things You Can Do the First Three Weeks of Class.”

UST Disabilities Syllabus Statement

The purpose of a disability statement in syllabi is to help students feel more comfortable in approaching their professors about their disability and to facilitate arranging accommodations in a timely manner. It is recommended that you reinforce this statement with a verbal reminder at the beginning of the semester. Please make sure to update old syllabi with the current office name and location: Disability Resources, Murray Herrick 110. 

Download the disabilities syllabus statement (Word document) to include on your syllabi.

Choosing IDEA Objectives

How will students make progress on objectives you have chosen for your course? What activities will promote development of those skills, concepts, and experiences? How will you and your students check their progress on objectives? What assessments will provide that feedback?

Objectives --> Activities --> Assessments --> should be linked

See the paper on the IDEA website on "Some Thoughts on Selecting IDEA Objectives‌" as well as "IDEA Objectives Adapted for UST Courses" for more detailed information.

See also the IDEA webpage on our website.