The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach
This practical manual is meant to assist anyone interested in planning and constructing a learning-centered course syllabus. It presents why and how to construct a syllabus that shifts from what material a course will cover (the traditional syllabus) to one that reflects what tools and information an instructor can provide students to help them learn (the learning-centered syllabus). The book's underlying assumption is that good teaching helps students understand how to actively acquire, use, and extend knowledge in an ongoing process of learning.
The book begins by guiding readers through the planning stages of developing a learning-centered syllabus, using eight principles of designing a course that fosters critical thinking and a checklist for the content of a learning-centered syllabus. The discussions in each section include brief consideration of computer technology related to syllabus form, function, and use.
The book then moves into actual samples of learning-centered syllabi that cover: the letter to students; purpose of the course; course descriptions, goals, and objectives; resources for students; readings; evaluation and self-evaluation; learning contract form; learning style inventory; purpose of syllabus; and how to study for the course. Finally, the book concludes with a section of helpful references and suggested further readings.
This concise, practical, and straightforward guide is an immediately applicable resource for those who are constructing or revising a syllabus that focuses on student learning. It is a valuable resource for all instructors from new faculty, junior faculty, and teaching assistants to tenured faculty, faculty mentors or developers, department chairs, and deans.