A course syllabus is more than an outline. However, while telling students what to expect of the course, a syllabus also conveys the instructor’s philosophy and methodology in his way.

What does a syllabus do

A course syllabus is a course planning tool. It helps the instructor to organise the course in a structured way, and to devote more time to important topics. As for the students, a syllabus answers their question of “What I take this course for”, and offers them a guide to refer to. In addition, a syllabus also makes it clear the requirements regarding the grading, students conduct, etc.

The information needed in a syllabus

There are certain information that need to be provided in a syllabus.

  • Set the tone for the course

A course description set the basic tone of the course, it includes the duration of the course, the grading criteria, the prerequisites, etc.

Then, describe how this course is related to the programme, and to the research fields of students. To acheive this, click F4 to add a note to this topic in XMind.

Share your teaching philosophy with students. Of course, it’s also important to convey this philosophy during the teaching process.

  • Communicate what, when and how students will learn

In other words, make it clear of the instructional goals, and the course methods.

For instance, this English III course is aimed at developing students’ competence as writers, readers, speakers, listeners, and viewers of many texts; reading and analysing a variety of American literature, from classis to contemporary, as well as preparing students for higher-level reading and writing skills and heighten their overall communication skills so they may become successful in life.

As for the course methods, list what you plan to do to improve students’ understanding on the subject. Like the class/small groups/partner discussions, Group and individual projects, and Peer writing workshops, etc. You can also star these subtopics in XMind using markers.

  • Provide additional details

Students may need help on this course from time to time, but you are not always available. So, don’t forget to provide the necessary resources and materials to them in adavance, like the manuals, useful website links, etc. Besides, there are some materials you may prefer the students to prepare or to collect by themselves, tell them in advance, too.

communicate expectations in terms of student responsibilities

Establish ground rules for classroom interactions, like what policies you may have on attendance, tardiness, or missed exams/assignments, and make clear of your expectations on students. In XMind, you can also numbering the topics. With one subtopic selected, click format at the rightside bar, and choose the numbering format from the “Numbering” choices, then all the sibling subtopic will be automatically numbered.

In XMind, we prepared a template for you to easily get started, just open XMind, and choose “Syllabus” from the templates, and you can see an outline of syllabus that can give you some ideas.

Hope this helps! If you have any questions, just leave us a comment below.

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Download this template