Tag Archives: syllabus design


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…


Make a More Inclusive Syllabus with Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus Project

small packages of useful things

Ok, I know it’s still June and so probably a little too early to be thinking about your fall syllabus. But if the alternative is thinking about #Brexit–or, worse, reflecting that “what is the EU?” is a top Google search *in* *England* today–maybe it’s not such a bad thing? I’m teaching a class this fall for the first time in a couple of years, and so I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to think about it.

Via Gerry Canavan, a syllabus-design resource that’s new to me is Tulane’s Acce…


Citing Syllabi

5167905071_e42568a44f_zMy first experience in the syllabi bakery was years ago while doing some tech support for a certain well-known scholar. She was staring at the beginnings of a reading list on her office computer while I tried to restore a dead laptop. Suddenly, she jumped to her feet and began to browse through her impressive collection of books, ‘Agency,’ she mumbled, ‘I need to assign something on agency.’ The professor was still on a search for agency when I left.

Wow, that looks hard, I thought. Having read …


Accessibility Statements on Syllabuses

Accessibility LogoWe’ve discussed accessibility issues before on ProfHacker, including accessibility in the classroom. But as I was designing my syllabuses* for Fall 2013, I realized that we’ve never talked about accessibility statements on syllabuses, which more and more institutions are—happily—mandating.

Many campuses have boilerplate language for accessibility statements (which are, unfortunately, occasionally called “disability statements,” a phrase that itself emphasizes exclusion rather than inclusivity). …


Creative Syllabuses

MissalA couple of weeks ago, I asked for examples of creative or interesting syllabuses that readers wanted to share. “Creative or interesting” is a pretty broad remit: while some of these syllabuses are unlike anything students are used to, others take more conventional forms and tweak them in stylish, intelligent ways. This is turning into an annual thing: here are last year’s results. My own syllabuses are, um, still coming together, so I have nothing to show off, plus I’m not sure “coming up with …


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…


Play the Way You Face

Dog soccerAs punishment for my sins, this semester I have three wholly or largely new courses, each of which involves material I’ve never taught. As a result, I have been thinking in a more fundamental way about my syllabuses. The two easy approaches are coverage (we’ll read everything!) and difficulty (I’ll unpack some super-challenging texts!).

These are powerful temptations, because there’s a lot of great stuff to read or do, and I’ve got a lot to say about most of the texts that I might plausibly ass…


Elephants, Riders, and Paths: Motivating Students

Switch cover [This is a guest post by Meagan Rodgers, an assistant professor of English at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where she teaches various writing classes and directs the writing center. You can find her online at meaganrodgers.com.--@jbj]

You’re in a field. You’re looking down a path. You’re riding an elephant.

This unlikely circumstance is the central metaphor that animates Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (2010) by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of the popu…