Getting Your Course Ready For The Upcoming Semester, Part I: Syllabus

As you get ready for a new semester, let’s have a quick look at your course syllabus.

Part I: Syllabus

Figure 1: Syllabus Components

Every successful course starts with a clear syllabus. Whether you are a proponents of a minimalistic or comprehensive syllabus, this template is sure to offer something you can use.

The Template

You can download the latest version of the template here.

Creating a New Syllabus

If you are creating a syllabus from scratch, simply download and use the syllabus template that best fits your course modality (face-to-face/D2L-enhanced or hybrid/online).

Updating an Existing Syllabus

If you are updating an existing syllabus, consider going though the following six steps before the beginning of the new semester:

  1. Run a search for previous learning management systems (i.e., Vista and/or Web CT) and replace with D2L, as needed.
  2. Run a search for former names of our university (i.e., Georgia Regents University, Medical College of Georgia or Augusta State University) and replace with Augusta University, as needed.
    • Look for these names reflected not only in text, but also in logos and links to the university website.
    • If your syllabus does not contain the Augusta University logo at the top of page 1, please consider adding it, to further reinforce our university’s brand identity (branding information is estimated to become available after December 1st, 2015).
  3. If applicable, run a search for your college’s previous name (e.g., School of Allied Health Sciences) and replace it with the current name (e.g., College of Allied Health Sciences).
  4. If applicable, run a search for your course’s former subject (or prefix), number, and name and update the syllabus accordingly.
  5. If applicable, run a search for your department’s previous name (e.g., Respiratory Therapy) and replace it with the current name (e.g., Clinical and Digital Health Sciences respectively).
  6. Click on all web links provided in the syllabus and ensure that they still point to the intended webpages. It is best to have links open in a new window.
  7. Think of ways you can minimize the need to edit your course from semester to semester. For instance, when updating the course schedule, consider replacing mentions of specific weeks (e.g., Week of January 6, 2015) and/or dates (e.g., Tuesday, January 6, 2015) with general weeks (e.g., Week 1) an/or dates (e.g., Day 1). However, you may wish to go ahead be specific in the syllabus and use the more general week/daynumbersinD2L (it is much easier to update a Word file than it is to update a website).
    • To help students understand what the day numbers mean, add a line at the top of the schedule explaining your “code” (e.g., Tuesdays are always Day 1 this Spring 2015 semester, thus Wednesdays are Day 2, and so forth). You may find it much easier to edit one line rather than multiple dates throughout your (10- or) 15-week schedule.
  8. As you update the course information, confirm that the syllabus contains student-support information such as assistance with D2L, technical support, research/library assistance, requesting disability services, etc. this will save you time otherwise spent providing this information multiple times, on a need-to-know basis. For verbiage suggestions, please refer to the syllabus template.
  9. Lastly, do you feel you have enough/the right policies included in your syllabus to help students understand from the very beginning the “rules” of the course and thus save yourself time answer frequently asked questions? For verbiage suggestions, please refer to the syllabus template.

How ’bout you?

What do you do from semester to semester to get your course syllabus ready? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Note: This post is part of a series of three posts meant to help faculty get ready for the new semester. The other two posts are:

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