The Advantages of a Course Syllabus

A syllabus can help organize your entire classroom.

A course syllabus is used by high school teachers and college professors for a variety of different reasons. Whether an instructor creates a syllabus because it is required by his school or university or because he wants to design an effective organizational tool for his students, the syllabus has many advantages to both students and teachers. The advantages of a well-organized, specific and detailed syllabus are so prominent that some colleges and universities have even made the syllabus a required form of communication between teachers and students.

1 Clear Written Expectations

One of the most important advantages of a course syllabus is that the document helps make sure that your students know and understand what is expected of them. If you do not want students to eat during your class session, list that rule in the syllabus and refer students who break the rule to the syllabus for more information. Outline your policies on computer and cellphone usage in the classroom on the syllabus as well. Define participation in your class and give your students plenty of information to help them succeed.

2 Organization for Teachers and Students

Another advantage of the course syllabus is that it can be used as an organizational tool for students who are challenged with busy schedules and want to plan ahead. Include a calendar of important events, including days homework assignments, reading assignments and projects are due. Outline the dates for quizzes and exams so that students can begin studying in advance. List any days that class will not meet so that students can make other plans.

3 Outlined Grading Policies

One of the most common struggles between professors and students is over the grading policies and fairness throughout a course. Use your syllabus to outline your grading policies so that everyone has a clear understanding. Use the syllabus to communicate with your students about how you will grade by including rubrics, your policy on curving and information about how each assignment throughout the course will be weighted.

4 Source of Important Information

Another advantage of having a course syllabus is that the document can be used to store important contact information. For example, you should include your email address, office phone number, office hours and other ways that you want your students to contact you. By doing this, you help your students learn what to do when they face a problem or difficulty in your course. You should also include college or university policies that students need to be aware of, such as policies on plagiarism and academic honesty.

Kate Taylor is a professional writer based in Lafayette, Ind. She has served as an online copywriter in areas such as pet care, education and landscaping. Taylor is working toward her M.B.A. at Loyola University Chicago.