Structuring Your Syllabus

How to use this template

  1. Use this template intentionally to understand the structure and flow of an effective syllabus. Make adjustments that accurately represent your course and voice. While you may end up using some text as a placeholder, remember that you will always need to adjust your syllabus to the institution where you will be teaching.

  2. Pay attention to the different sections. Sections improve syllabi in the following ways:

    1. Signals the key elements you want students to pay attention to – Assessments and Assignments, Expectations and Class Policies, Resources, Schedule.

    2. Improves readability – easy to scan and find

    3. Starting sections on a new page also improves readability. White space at the end of a section can be left as restful pauses or you can use the opportunity to add a relevant quote or visual.

  3. Pay attention to space and “noise”. Do not crowd your pages. A few pages that are terribly crowded are “noisier” than more pages that are systematically structured and where the white space helps the eye to scan and process information effectively.

  4. Use clear and consistent headings and fonts.

  5. The template contains sample language/phrasing especially in the policies and resources page. These are placeholders; you should replace them with the official policies for the institution in which you will teach your course.

  6. Another tactic is to present the essential syllabus (course details, schedules, assignments), and a separate Course Policies and Resources packet. Especially with paper syllabi, this breaks it up into 2 important but different packets that you could even print in separate colors to help students differentiate them in their binders.

  7. How to present your syllabus in your Canvas LMS.

    1. When you set a due date on any item in your assignments, the Canvas calendar and the syllabus tool will be automatically populated.

    2. You do not need to paste the entire long document into the Syllabus Tool – a link to a downloadable version will keep this page short.

    3. The rest of the syllabus ought to be presented in a distributed manner – in an LMS you can separate out the different parts of your syllabus to be accessed in the most useful way for students. Put links on the Front Page to pages dedicated to different sections – Assignments and Assessments, Detailed Class Work Schedule, Class Expectations and Policies, Resources…

Course Number: Semester and Year

Name of College/University • Name of Department or Program

Meeting day and time:

Class Location:

Course Description • Instructor • Contact Information

Learning Outcomes – Destinations for Your Learning Journey

Course Texts & Resources

Assignments & Assessments – Gauging Your Progress

Assignment Descriptions

Class Work Schedule: Our Journey

Course Policies & Expectations


Course Description • Instructor • Contact Information

Class Instructor:

Brief bio statement about the instructor. Consider adding link to teacher-scholar website.

Office: Phone: E-mail:

In-person Office Hours:

Phone/Skype Hours by appointment

Teaching Assistant (if any):

Office: Phone: E-mail:

Course Description. Credit Units: ____

This should repeat the official catalog description but you can expand on it here. Tone: Address student directly (pronouns – “you” and “we”). Remember your audience is each individual student. Depending on the department you are teaching in, you might also be required to state how your course fits within the program curriculum (e.g., “This course prepares you to take advanced units in XYZ”).

Course website URL: Link to your LMS

Background Preparation (Prerequisites)

Official prerequisites: For example, if students must have taken Basic Acting before your course on Shakespearean staging. You can also use this to clarify unofficial requirements that ensure student readiness to engage in your course effectively. For example, “To enjoy and excel in this course, you should have an interest in working with children in our service learning component.”

Learning Outcomes – Destinations for Your Learning Journey

Course Goals

Student Learning Outcomes (below) specify what students will know and be able to do by the end of the course; outcomes help them understand the specific knowledge and skills they can navigate toward achieving in the course. Course goals give you space to share aspirational goals, your passion for the subject matter, and to invite students to join you on a wondrous journey of discovery. This is where you promise horizons of discovery. For example: “In this course, I aim to share the rich social and political landscape of Shakespeare’s England, to help you discover how his work continues to be relevant, not just in the western world but globally. Who might be a Macbeth today? What would Lear have to say to world leaders today?”

Learning Outcomes

In successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Write your learning outcomes to be specific and visible to students so they can gauge their progress through the course.

  2. Use verbs to begin each learning outcome, for example, “Analyze literary texts on the levels of sound, structure, and meaning”, “Display information in datasets graphically”, “Compute descriptive statistics and probabilities from data, using the application of correct statistical notation and language”, “Compare and contrast philosophical arguments about embodied minds, “Collaborate with team members to plan and manage a community project”, “Write reflections that capture your development as a writer”.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES. In addition to mastery subject matter, you will be able to:

  1. Collaborate as part of a team in being able to take responsibility for tasks and coordinate work.

  2. Listen and be open to new and different ideas.

  3. Communicate orally and in writing to both academic and non-academic audiences.


Part way through the class, we will use this space to reflect on how you are moving toward these outcomes or goals. What have you enjoyed? What have you most struggled with (this can be the same as the things you enjoyed!), and how are you working to help yourself succeed? How can I help you?

Course Texts & Resources


BOOK: Palmer, P. J. (2017) The courage to teach. Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. (3rd edition). San Francisco: Jossey Bass. ISBN: 978-1119413042

You may purchase earlier editions if they are more cost effective. I will provide updates in class.

You can also purchase the e-book or audio book version if you prefer.

Honnold Library eBook

ARTICLE: Fairbanks, C. M., Duffy, G. G., Faircloth, B. S., Ye He, Levin, B., Rohr, J., & Stein, C. (2010). Beyond knowledge: Exploring why some teachers are more thoughtfully adaptive than others. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 161–171.

WEBSITE: American Association of Colleges and Universities.

Material on Reserve

Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat earth and education: How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future. New York: Teachers’ College Press.

Optional but highly recommended:

Assignments & Assessments – Gauging Your Progress

Detailed instructions for doing and submitting assignments are on Canvas.

Deadlines are also reflected in the work schedule below.

Assignment or Assessment Due Date
Learning Community Contributions: This includes preparation for class, contribution in writing during class, as well as discussion contributions. On-going. Each class.
CLOSE READINGS. 5 close readings of novel extracts – 3 pages each.

Date 1

Date 2

Date 3

Date 4

Date 5

CONTENT QUIZZES. 5 quizzes on each topic area

Date 1

Date 2

Date 3

Date 4

Date 5

ITEM. Brief details of item Date
ITEM. Brief details of item Date
ITEM. Brief details of item Date


Item Points Per Item Total Points Weight
Learning Community Contributions (preparation for class, discussion posts, active listening and contribution in class work) 100 5%
5 Assignments – Close Readings 10 50 10%
5 Quizzes. Multiple attempts allowed before quiz closes, Best grade used 10 50 5%
Item 50 10%
Item 50 20%
Item 100 30%
Item 100 10%
500 100%

Your grade will be calculated using the following scale.

Percentage Letter Grade GPA Percentage Letter Grade GPA
98-100% A+ 4.33 77-79% C+ 2.33
93-97% A 4.00 73-76% C 2.00
90-92% A- 3.67 70-72% C- 1.67
87-89% B+ 3.33 67-69% D+ 1.33
83-86% B 3.00 63-66% D 1.00
80-82% B- 2.67 60-62% D- 0.67
0-59% F 0.00

The minimum grade point average (GPA) for continual matriculation at Example College is ____. Read details of Example College’s policy in the student handbook: web page URL

Assignment Descriptions

I will give you detailed assignment sheets and rubrics as we launch each assignment. These are also available on Canvas in each Assignment tool.

Close Readings

Submit 3 pages. Times New Roman. 12-point font. Double-spaced. You must submit your marked-up text along with your essay. Deadlines: date 1, date 2, date 3, date 4, date 5

Choose a novel extract from the set of extracts in Blackboard. In doing your close reading, you will read, mark-up, and annotate details in the text such as rhetorical devices, structural elements, imagery connotations and symbolic or cultural references. Your aim is to see patterns in the writing, themes and questions that emerge. You will apply inductive reasoning in connecting the elements you notice into patterns and an interpretation of meaning. Essentially, in a close reading, you are looking at what data the text yields, and how the data add up to a coherent meaning you can justify. We will practice this in class to help you prepare for this process.

Content Quizzes

Date 1, Date 2, Date 3, Date 4, Date 5.

Quizzes will be available on Blackboard on the morning of quiz date and will be open for a week. In that time, you may take the quiz up to 3 times to improve your score. You may refer to your notes and texts to respond to the quizzes. I will take your top score at the end of the week when the quiz closes as your final score. 5 quizzes on each of the following topic areas: 1) Historical background, 2) Literary and rhetorical devices, 3) ….

Group Project: Annotated Timeline

You can submit either a hard- or digital version of this item. Deadlines: Draft proposal date, final date.

You will be assigned to a group in week 2. While there will be class time to meet in groups, you will also arrange to meet outside of class to work on this project. Choose a novel from the list provided. Trace the timelines of different events in the plot of your selected novel. Annotate your timeline to reveal causal connections within and between timelines and character actions and development. Choose relevant quotes from the novel to illustrate key moments in the timeline.

Please see Assignment Packet for a detailed set of instructions for this assignment.

Class Schedule: Our Journey

Note that this schedule might change as needed to improve our project management for this class. I will announce all changes in class. Schedule changes will be updated in Blackboard.

Date Focus Preparation and Work Due



Overview lecture: Victorian Literature

Mapping themes: Hardy: Jude the Obscure. Chapters 1 – 22.

Group project launch

Read Chapters 1 – 22. Make notes on your assigned characters in BB.

View lecture slides

Hardy’s Wessex: Understanding contexts.

What social issues of the times are found in the novel?

Read: Williams, Key-Robinson – note possible answers to the focus question.

Assignment 1: Close reading of extract A.

In-class quiz: Literary devices

Group project discussion.

Project proposals

Week Date Topic Assignment Due Feedback Returned
1 Wed. 9/2 Course Overview Writing Sample N/A
1 Sun. 9/6 Ch. 1 – Trees Ch. 1 Worksheet Writing Sample
2 Wed. 9/9 Ch. 2 – Rivers Quiz Ch. 1 Worksheet

Date Preparation and Class Focus Due

Mapping themes: Hardy: Jude the Obscure. Chapters 1 – 22.

  • Make notes on your assigned characters on BB.

  • View lecture slides.

Group project launch

Hardy’s Wessex: Understanding contexts.

Read: James & Milliken: What social issues of the times are found in the novel?

Assignment 1: Close reading of extract A.

In-class quiz: Literary devices

Group project discussion.

Bring project proposals

Course Policies & Expectations

Beyond my own class expectations and policies, Example College’s policies apply to all our courses. A few are detailed below. In addition, please review all policies within the college bulletin on the Registrar’s pages:, as well as the Student Handbook at

Instructor Feedback and Communication. The best way to contact me or your TA is via email. We will respond to email within two business days.

Class Procedures and Expectations

  • Consistent effort. The secret of achievement is consistent effort throughout the semester. To do make up work to improve ….

  • Lecture preparation. Our learning process will always be active and so I will not just lecture at you, but work interactively with you to build knowledge. View the lecture slides on Canvas before coming to class so you are better prepared to participate in interactive lectures to maintain your participation grade.

  • Learning Community Contributions is more than speaking in class. Class participation is also: Coming to class prepared, doing polls and discussions on Canvas, in-class writing and quizzes, listening actively when others speak, working with others collaborative. Even if you are shy or not confident about speaking, I encourage you to try a bit at a time so that by semester’s end you will be speaking more than when you began.

  • Discussion posts. We will be using the Canvas discussion tool. This is your opportunity to practice critical thinking, reading and responding to ideas, and to check how well you have prepared. I will count 3 discussion posts in your participation grade.

Timeliness: Attendance and Work Submission

I expect you to attend every class and do your best to be on time. Each class connects to the next one and so missing class will make it hard for you to keep up. We begin promptly at 10 am. If you know you are going to be late or absent, let me or the TA know via text or email. If you miss a class, make arrangements with your classmates and with me to catch up.

Submitting work. Submit work on time so I can give you good feedback to help you improve your work. If you need flexibility with deadlines, please talk to me as far in advance of the deadline as possible. The night before (barring emergencies) does not give me any opportunity to help you.

Learning Management System: Canvas

Our Learning Management System (LMS) is called Canvas. If you are not familiar with using Canvas, please ask the TA to show you the ropes or let me know. It is important that you are comfortable and competent in using this as all course material and communication will be done via Canvas. You can also view a simple How To Guide that I have made here: LINK.

Use of Digital Tools

I understand that you might want to use a digital device like your tablet or computer, your cell phone, or an e-book reader in class. Please only use these for active engagement in our work together. Be aware that these devices can be distracting for your classmates so use them with discretion and consideration of others. If there is an emergency and you need to use your phone, please step away or out of the room to take that call.

Scientific and Professional Ethics – And Plagiarism

The work you do in this course must be your own. Feel free to build on, react to, criticize, and analyze the ideas of others but, when you do, make it known whose ideas you are working with. You must explicitly acknowledge when your work builds on someone else’s ideas, including ideas of classmates, professors, and authors you read. If you ever have questions about drawing the line between others’ work and your own, ask me. Additional information on Example College’s academic honesty is available on the Dean’s webpage:

An excellent tutorial on avoiding plagiarism can be found on the university’s Library Website: URL.


Writing Center

Use the Writing Center for help with all aspects of writing for this course as well as for all your other academic work. Please use the Writing Center for developing ideas, planning outlines and reviewing drafts. You can also use the Writing Center to work on elements of grammar, structure, and academic documentation style. “The Writing Center is committed to fostering an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment for CGU students, staff, and faculty during all phases of the writing process. We seek to augment the graduate experience by offering student-centered programs that encourage collaboration, communication, and education.”

Learning Support Center


I expect you to use the library’s resources from reserved items, the excellent collection on English Literature, as well as consult with the librarians to help you with your project. You can access the library resources from off campus including using the library’s chat function.

Library website:

Subject Area Literature Research Guide:

Computer Labs on Campus

Food Pantry

At Example College we recognize that students can sometimes go hungry. To address this, we have a number of resources on campus. Check out the Food Pantry at Wholesome Cafe, as well as the campus CalFresh program that gives you cash for food if you qualify. To see if you qualify, fill out this simple form and then contact the Dean of Students’ office at

Well-Being and Mental Health Resources

College is hard. Your sense of well-being and positive mental health are important in helping you juggle many different roles and responsibilities. However, It is normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious. So, if you ever find yourself struggling, please do not hesitate to ask for help. I encourage you strongly to use the following excellent resources on campus:

  • Free Exercise Classes – at Gold Gym. Exercise is great for stress release. Check out their offerings and schedule at

  • Yoga and Meditation – at Student Center. Learn to take charge of your sense of relaxation and well-being. Schedule at

  • Monsour Counselling and Psychological Services. “Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS) is committed to promoting psychological wellness for all students served by the Claremont University Consortium. Our well-trained team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and postdoctoral and intern therapists offer support for a range of psychological issues in a confidential and safe environment.”

Phone: 909-621-8202 • Fax: 909-621-8482 • After hours emergency: 909-607-2000
Address: Tranquada Student Services Center, 1st floor, 757 College Way, Claremont, CA 91711

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

I design my courses to make them as inclusive as possible to all learners in terms of abilities, disabilities, backgrounds, learning modes, and interests. My goal is to make this class fully accessible and as meaningful as I can to you. If you have specific circumstances or needs, whether documented officially or otherwise, please feel free to approach me so we can work out how best to make adjustments for you.

In addition, I encourage you to request official academic accommodation for temporary or permanent disabilities by contacting the Dean of Students and Coordinator for Student Disability Services at (link) or 909-607-9448. Appropriate accommodations are considered after you have conferred with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and presented the required documentation of your disability to the ODS.

Title IX

If I learn of any potential violation of our gender-based misconduct policy (rape, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking) by any means, as a reporting member of this community, I am required to notify the CGU Title IX Coordinator at or (909) 607-9448. You can request confidentiality from the institution, which I will communicate to the Title IX Coordinator.

If you want to speak with someone confidentially, the following resources are available on and off campus: EmPOWER Center (909) 607-2689, Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (909) 621-8202, and The Chaplains of the Claremont Colleges (909)621-8685. Speaking with a Confidential Resource does not exclude you from also making a formal report to the Title IX Coordinator if and when you are ready.  Confidential resources can walk you through all of your reporting options. They can also provide you with information and assistance in accessing academic, medical, and other support services you may need. 

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