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Syllabus Guide

Syllabus Guide

The purpose of a syllabus has evolved past its historical usage as a simple list of subjects and lectures to be covered in a course; it is now considered a learning guide and planning tool for both students and instructors alike. A syllabus not only provides unique opportunities to discuss the “what” of a subject, but also the “how” and “why,” serving as an outlet for the instructor to express their own passion and desire for students to learn and be successful.

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment's (CTLA) syllabus guide serves to outline requirements and recommendations for instructors as they create a course syllabus. This guide addresses curriculum, educational policies and broader issues concerning students.

Recommended Language

The language we use when writing or speaking to others, especially students, can make a big difference in obtaining the desired outcomes. For example, “Please come and talk with me” is a six-word phrase that, when added to a syllabus, can make a significant difference as to whether students may approach the professor for social support (Perrine, et al., 1995). Language is powerful, and framing language in syllabi as welcoming and encouraging to our students, rather than matter of fact, may make the difference in students' success.

Language to consider using:

This course is enjoyable, but demanding. There is a large amount of material and it can be overwhelming at times. If you find yourself doing poorly in the course, please come talk to me. Any time during the semester that you have problems in this course, I want to know about it. Together we can try to pinpoint the problem and get you off to a better start (Perrine, et al., p. 45).

Perrine, R., Lisle, J., & Tucker, D. (1995). Effects of a Syllabus Offer of Help, Student Age, and Class Size on College Students' Willingness to Seek Support from Faculty. The Journal of Experimental Education, 64 (1), 41-52. Retrieved from

Core Components of a Syllabus

An Ohio University course syllabus should be made up of both required and recommended information. The information outlined in both pages was established in conjunction with the Educational Policies and Student Affairs Committee (EPSA), Ohio University Faculty Senate, the Office of the President, the University Curriculum Council and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

For more details, please see the OHIO Faculty Senate Handbook.

Course Outcome Goals

Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, the Ohio University University Curriculum Council (UCC) established the directive to publish course outcome goals in the Undergraduate and HCOM catalogs. Additionally, departments are encouraged to maintain and update outcome goals for their courses on an ongoing basis.

To learn more about the directive, review the “Publishing Course Outcome Goals” document on the UCC Individual Course Committee page.

Peer Support for Writing Course Outcome Goals

If you need assistance writing student learning outcomes for your courses, past members of the Bruning Teaching Academy are available to serve as a resource. Member names are divided alphabetically into columns by last name. Click the expandable letters to view past member names, and feel free to reach out to ask a question or set up a time to connect.