Academic Effectiveness at WOU


Resources for Developing a Syllabus

The course syllabus is like a very important map for the class. It guides students through the class, tells them what to expect, and helps them succeed in their studies. The course syllabus outlines the structure, goals, expectations, and guidelines for the course. Its purpose is to facilitate effective teaching and learning by providing clarity, transparency, and a roadmap for all course participants. The syllabus should be written for students to utilize, not for administrators!  The point is to provide a framework to support both instructors and learners to successfully realize the course goals.

There are two important resources for developing the syllabus. One is the division office that is the curricular “home” for the course. The most recent syylabi for the course is available through the division office. The other is the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) where instructors may access resources to utilize Canvas, a range of academic technologies, and instructional designers who have experience in developing learner-centered syllabi. At Western Oregon Universiuty, these are the required components that must be included in the course syllabus:

Course Information This section typically includes the course title, course code, instructor’s name, contact information, office hours, and the location and time of class meetings. It sets the basic logistical details for the course.
Course Description Be sure to include the catalog description for the course. Instructors may elaborate on the catalog course description by providing additional information on the substance or content of the course.
Course Goals (course student learning outcomes) The course goals cannot be modified by the instructor. Course goals are determined as part of the curriculum process at WOU and they can be changed or modified through the curriculum process. Course goals for a specific course can be found by using the search feature in this link.
Required Materials This section lists the textbooks, readings, software, or other resources that students need to acquire or access in order to participate in the course effectively.
Course Schedule The syllabus includes a detailed breakdown of the topics or units that will be covered throughout the course, along with the corresponding dates. This schedule helps students plan their study time and assignments.
Assessment and Grading This section outlines the methods of assessment, such as exams, quizzes, projects, assignments, and participation. It also specifies the weightage of each assessment in determining the final grade. Grading criteria and scales are typically included as well.
Policies and Expectations The syllabus presents important guidelines and policies related to attendance, late submissions, academic integrity, communication expectations, and any other rules specific to the course. This section helps ensure a fair and respectful learning environment for everyone involved. Resources to access many of these policies are linked in the section below.