Developing a Syllabus

 Pre-planning Around Core Assumptions

(Taken from “Teaching at UNL: Syllabus Materials,” Teaching and Learning Center at University of Nebraska Lincoln. ).

All aspects of your course are influenced by your beliefs and assumptions that frame how you think about and practice the education process. The following questions are designed to help you critically examine the core assumptions about “why students will be doing what they will be doing and why you do what you do in the way that you do it” (Shulman & Hutchings, 1994). Engage your colleagues, your department chair in a discussion of these questions. Review syllabi developed before you to guide you in making this course with these particular outcomes your own.

1. What big questions in your field or discipline will your course help students answer?

2. What are the big concepts and ideas in your field or discipline that students will come to understand?

3. What intellectual abilities (or qualities such as critical thinking) will it help students develop?

4. What abilities, cognitive, skills, and attitudes must students have or develop to answer these questions?

5. What are the outcomes that the COCC program or department has defined as their targets your students will aim to meet by the end of the term?

6. What do you want to persuade your students to question?

7. How does the course begin? Why does it begin where it does?

8. What and why do your student do (i.e., activities that facilitate and/or demonstrate what students know, toward the outcomes) as the course unfolds?

9. What are the key assignments and what are the criteria or standard of performance for these?

10. How does the course end? Why does it end as it does?

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