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ERIC Number: EJ789000
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar-14
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Research Yields Tips on Crafting Better Syllabi
Wasley, Paula
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n27 pA11 Mar 2008
Many professors do not give much thought to what students take away from their syllabi. Researchers who have formally pondered the question suggest a number of areas for instructors to consider when drafting a document which is described as a contract drafted with "less attention paid to the language" than any other. In a comparison of syllabi with identical requirements, but where one phrased them in negative or "punishing" terms, and the other in positive terms, students said they would be significantly less comfortable approaching the author of the "punishing" syllabus. Another finding was the absence of pronouns in many syllabi: by laying out "You" and "I" sections that enumerate the specific responsibilities of each pronominal party, an instructor can establish authority and designate clear responsibilities. Dates provide a permanent course record and provide successors with a record of pedagogical development. It is also important to understand one's audience and how a syllabus is used. A 1999 study found that students attended most to items like grading policies and the dates of tests and quizzes on syllabi, and paid relatively little attention to academic information such as dishonesty policies, textbook information, and basic course information, and that these tendencies increased throughout a semester.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A