What is really needed on course syllabi

When the semester begins, the first day of class is generally called “syllabus day” This means that the professor will go over the syllabus before teaching anything to the students.

The syllabus serves as the “roadmap” for the class that usually details all expectations for the course. The syllabus includes the professor’s name, contact information, office hours, & office location. This is the basic information found at the top of every syllabus.

Next, comes the course information which includes the time the course will occur, the location of which it will occur, and if it’s virtual or not.

The rest of the syllabus includes the course description, learning outcomes, requires information about attendance, assignments, readings etc., participation, and other specific requirements.

Other information found on the syllabus include grade information, academic honesty information, the disability statement, and the “subject to change” disclaimer.

It may seem that the syllabus is cookie-cutter, but many professors are inefficient with sharing basic information with the class. We as college students know the syllabus is “subject to change” However, this document should be used to hold our professors accountable.

For example, when a professor says that a textbook is required but you never actually use it. That is a major inconvenience for the students who went out and purchased reading material that is not even necessary.

It’s okay for minor changes to happen as things just change unexpectedly sometimes. But what is not okay is when major changes leave students to fall behind or be negatively affected.

Professors should not add extra work outside of what is posted in the syllabus, unless it is considered “extra credit”.

The good news is that we can report professors to the dean that do not follow the syllabus. Professors should be able to abide by the agreement that they send out to students when the semester begins.

I think the best solution to ensuring that both students and professors follow the syllabus is to have all parties sign the document. This can help alleviate any misunderstanding that may occur.

Leave a Reply