What is and why have a syllabus?
The syllabus provides a road map for students to succeed in your course, clearly stating your expectations and what students can expect while taking the course. It is your opportunity to develop a strong connection with your students and model your inclusive learning environment. You want to make a positive first impression and build community within your class through your syllabus and first day of class. A syllabus, like any communication, is most effective when you use your words. We recognize you may need a starting place and/or some suggested language and the best syllabi require creative energy of the author.
Your syllabus has several parts and serves multiple purposes. You should write your syllabus using accessibility guidelines. The Faculty Handbook states that syllabi will be made available to students by the second class meeting or within a week of the start of the course for online courses. The best practice is to provide and go through the syllabus during the first class. In the Faculty Responsibilities of the Faculty Handbook under “Teaching Responsibilities” are the required elements of an MSU syllabus, as well as other important information about your work responsibilities. In addition to the required information, we suggest you use this webpage to guide your development of an effective and inspirational document for your students.
The list below can be used as a checklist for your syllabus and each link will take you to more information on the category and/or suggested language for your syllabus. On the first day you use the syllabus to introduce what you know is important about your class, student success and important MSU policies. Make your syllabus learner centered.
The sections below have examples can be incorporated into undergraduate and graduate course syllabi.
- You may want to consider some additional items for your Graduate Course Syllabus.
Health and Wellbeing
Your syllabus is a critical resource your students can refer to or use as a rock on which to cling when they are confused about an aspect of your class. Similarly, you can rely on it and refer to it during the chaos that sometimes comes for an instructor later in the semester.
Please feel free to email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.