syllabus question

Let’s say you’re a student. If it was Monday, and your syllabus said this…

Monday, August 28

In Class…

  • Discussion of Chapter 2
  • Discussion of university website
  • Discussion of journal entries on why you’ve decided to go to college

For today…

  • Read Chapter 2
  • View and analyzie the university website
  • Write in your journal about why you’ve decided to go to college

…would you assume that “For today…” meant things you were supposed to have completed by Wednesday’s class?

Is there some way that this information should be conveyed more clearly?

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10 thoughts on “syllabus question

  1. I think your student is clueless. Nevertheless, I’d either reverse the order (putting “for today” above “in class”), since that makes better & more clear chronological sense, or I’d just delete the “in class” section entirely.

  2. I don’t format my schedule the same way, but I run into the same problem. So I always write in bold at the top of the schedule: “All assignments are DUE on the date they are listed.”

    Nevertheless, I think you’re abundantly clear.

  3. “For today” seems pretty clear to me, I gotta say. But maybe it’s a sequence thing? IE, if “For today” came first, then it would visually appear before “In Class.” I do this, too (ie, visually sequence what’s happening in class before the homework) and am now thinking maybe I should do a re-do…

  4. I format it pretty much the same way you do, and someone always makes that mistake (I must remember that the idea of a syllabus is new to many fall freshmen).

    I now actually explain the format and function of the schedule of classes in the syllabus on the first day of every class…

  5. I had a problem with that too, but then I re-divided my daily assignments into three columns: “What we’ll be doing today,” “Today’s Readings” (which lists the chapter and/or handouts we’ll be discussing that day), and “For Next Time,” which is basically the homework assignment. That way, if students miss class, they will have both what they missed and what they need to prepare for next time all in one place.

  6. Thanks for the feedback, y’all. If it was only one student who found the arrangement confusing, I’d be inclined to say that the student was the issue.

    However, a handful of students (spread across two classes) found the syllabus layout hard to follow. So I think it needs some minor tweaking.

  7. It was an exercise in understanding audience, which is something we’ll return to when I assign them papers addressed to particular audiences.

    I asked my students to put themselves in the position they were in a year ago: prospective students who were hoping to find out more about the universities they were considering. Were they able to find the information they needed to decide on whether to come here or not? Does the website do a good job of presenting the university to prospective students?

    Answers: yes, and yes. More than one talked about how the websites of other schools in the area made it difficult to find out what they wanted to know.

    Of course, there’s self-selection involved because these are all students who did, in fact, come here. Those who decided not to are not in the class to explain why.

    This first chunk of the class is devoted to thinking, talking, reading, and writing about education and literacy. One part of that chunk is their reflection upon their own education and the decisions they’ve made that brought them here.

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