Tag Archives: syllabi


From the Archives: Starting a New Semester

seminar table

Whether you’ve already been in the classroom for a week or two, or will be heading back in September, the ProfHacker archives are full of helpful tips to start the new semester off right. Here I mention several of our back to school roundup posts, highlighting just a few of the many links each contains.

The posts linked in From the Archives: Creating Syllabi (2014) focus on the basics of syllabus creation, including technology policies, accessibility, syllabus design, and our ever-popular 11 Fa…


From the Archives: Preparing for the New Semester


It’s that time again . . .  here are some tips from the ProfHacker archives.

Designing/Revising Your Syllabi

If you’ve only got a few minutes, check out 11 Fast Syllabus Hacks for useful updates to your course documents.

Konrad’s Citing Syllabi suggests some best practices for citing the work of other instructors whose syllabi you’ve consulted and for ensuring your own syllabus can be shared and remixed if that’s your intent.

Jason’s Creative Approaches to the Syllabus provides links to a numbe…


Estimating Student Workload for Your Courses


As the start of the fall term approaches, many ProfHacker readers are designing or revising course syllabi. Among the challenging decisions that instructors face in creating syllabi is the question of how much reading, writing, and other work to assign each week.

The federal definition of course credit hours assumes a minimum of “two hours of out-of-class student work per week for a semester hour.” According to this metric, a student should assume at least six hours of out-of-class work per wee…


From the Archives: Creating Syllabi

We’ve written quite a lot at ProfHacker about syllabus and course design. Check out 2010’s Archives post or the many posts tagged with syllabus or syllabi. This roundup of posts focuses on the basics of syllabus creation.

What Do You Need to Do?

  • In a previous Archives post on Syllabi and Course Design, I said

    Keep in mind, the first rule of productivity is “don’t fix what’s already working.” If you’re satisfied with the assignments, policies, and course plans you’ve used before,…


Best Practices for Accessible Print Document Design

I suspect we’ve all been on the receiving end of poorly-designed documents: pages drowning in enormous gray oceans of text with no navigational cues whatsoever; emphasis indicated by text that is bold, all-caps, italicized, and underlined*; color choices that threaten to damage retinas (or that make text practically unreadable); text so small and margins so narrow that it’s obvious the desire to save paper has trumped the desire for clear communication.

As authors, when we create documents for …


From the Archives: New Semester, New Year

classroom The start of each new semester and academic year offers lots of new possibilities, as well as memories and echoes of past events and experiments.

ProfHacker’s series of open letter posts are multi-authored posts that offer advice to people taking on certain roles in academe, like new graduate students or first time tenure track faculty. If you’re not new in your current role, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what you’d like to do differently this year, and what you’d like to retain from your past h…


Asking Students To Revise Your Syllabus

picture of a toy robot

About a month ago, Inside Higher Ed reported on a study (PDF) conducted at the University of Akron on automated essay scoring software. The researchers compared the performance of the software with that of trained human graders on a sample of 22,000 essays. Surprisingly (or not–it is, after all, the 21st century), the Akron team found the differences between computational and human scoring to be minimal. 

Of the many responses to this article, the ones that struck me most were the ones that cri…


Forking Your Syllabus

A forking path

Here at ProfHacker, we’re all about encouraging you to collaborate and share (200+ posts and counting!). Perhaps one of the best places to practice sharing is when you are working on a designing a new class and syllabus. No matter how many classes you’ve taught or how many ProfHacker posts on syllabi you’ve read it can be a bit daunting to start from scratch. Which is a great reason not to start from square one.

In a post for graduate students who are teaching for the first time, I suggested th…


Open Thread Wednesday! Sharing Syllabi?

Each Wednesday, ProfHacker hosts an open thread discussion. Sometimes a specific topic is announced, and sometimes the discussion is completely open. Please remember to abide by our commenting and community guidelines. Thanks!

Today’s specific topic comes from a ProfHacker reader:

I get five or six requests a year from grad students asking for copies of syllabi for courses I have developed and teach (I teach them once every two years). I never know how to respond. On the one hand, I don’t want t…