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  1. Constructing a CSUDH Syllabus

  2. Purpose of the Tutorial • This tutorial is designed to provide the appropriate framework and content for syllabus construction. • Framework: Essential components established by University policy AAAP016-001.pdf • Content: Required by University and/or College • A syllabus constructed using this tutorial should be acceptable for: • Curriculum Review • Program Review • Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

  3. How to Use this Tutorial • Information in this tutorial is intended to be informative, useful, and interactive. It is divided into several sections (section sequence on your syllabus is discretionary). • Each section has a sample link. The user is encouraged to view each sample. At the end of the sample section, several acceptable syllabi formats are presented. • It is advisable that users practice the elements of the syllabus with a familiar course.

  4. Rationale for University Syllabus Guidelines • This tutorial reflects research on effective teaching as well as years of experience by veteran CSUDH faculty, and University Student Learning Outcomes Assessments Committee (USLOAC). • The information in the following slides is designed to help you organize the required syllabus elements and to assist your instruction by providing clarity and organization.

  5. Clarity and Organization • Research by Feldman (1997) and Pascarella and Terernzini (2005) and many others document that the best predictors of a number of student success measures are clarity and organization of the instructor. Cooper and Cuseo (1988) asked several hundred CSU students, faculty and administrators to identify the characteristics of their most effective teachers. All three groups identified that a clear and detailed syllabus ranked number one on the list of behaviors that were exhibited by their best teachers. • One of the best ways to deliver with clarity and organization is with the syllabus.

  6. Clarity and Organization (cont’d) • Despite these research findings instructors still struggle with Clarity and organization in their own teaching. • Clearly stated student expectations in your syllabus may positively affect the following PTEs items: • #2. The instructor expressed himself/herself clearly. • #5. The instructor stated clearly what was expected of students. • #6. The course content covered the stated purposes of the course. • #7. The assignments were helpful in learning the subject matter. • #8. The tests given were related to course content.

  7. Syllabus Sections • Heading – Course/Instructor Information • Required Textbook/Supplemental Readings • Catalog Course Description/Course Sequencing • Course Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes • Course Requirements/Expectations/Policies • University Policies • Course Schedule/Outline • Additional Information (Instructor’s Options)

  8. Heading Course/Instructor Information • Course Information • Name of the University • Name of College • Name of the Course • Course Number • Unit Value • Semester/term course is offered • Instructor Information • Instructor Name • Office Location • Office Phone Number • Email Address • Office Hours Sample

  9. Required Textbook Supplemental Readings • Required Textbook and Supplemental Readings • Provide complete information for book or article i.e., title, author, year/edition, publisher • Specify which texts are required and which are suggested. • Other Required Material • Specify if lab materials, binders, journals, etc. are necessary. Sample

  10. Catalog Course Description • Catalog Course Description with prerequisites if required • The syllabus must contain the course description information as stated in the current course catalog. • If prerequisites) are listed in the course catalog, they also must be listed on the course syllabus to demonstrate sequencing. • Instructors may add elaborations for clarification specific to their subject. Sample

  11. Student Learning Outcomes in the Syllabus • Linking Course and Program Level Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) • Course-level SLOs or course objectives must be listed in the syllabus. • Course SLOs are linked to program-level outcomes (PLOs). • PLO’s are identified in Program Review materials and Student Learning Outcomes Assessment reports and reflect expectations for students at the conclusion of the program. • Not every course-level SLO is linked to every PLO; however, there must be evidence of linkage to at least one PLO in each course.

  12. Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes • Clarifying Terms • Program/course goals explain the overall purpose of the program/course. • The focus is on what the program/course will do for the students, e.g., “The program (or course) is designed to provide students with a through understanding of organizational structure.” • Course objectives specify the content knowledge, skills, or abilities that students will master. • The focus is on what students will learn or be able to do by the end of the course, e.g., “Students will learn the five key issues in organizational structure.” • Course student learning outcomes are similar to course objectives in the level of specificity but the focus is on students’ ability to demonstrate what they have learned or are able to do. • Outcomes must be stated in measurable terms, e.g., “The student will be able to describe the five key issues in organizational structure.” • Additional Information/Samples

  13. Defining SLOs • What are SLOs? • Statements that describe what students will be able to know, do, or value as a result of their educational experience. • Descriptions of knowledge, skills, abilities, and values attained by students that clearly imply a measurable student behavior or quality of student work. • For example, SLOs can refer to knowledge, practical skills, critical thinking skills, areas of professional development, etc. that students are expected to develop or learn.

  14. Benefits of Well Defined SLOs • Well-defined SLOs allow instructors to: • Identify specifically what students are to learn in the course. • Efficiently design course content, instruction, and evaluation. • Clearly define what is covered in the course. • Manage their expectations regarding what can be accomplished in the course. Additional Information

  15. SLOs Focus on Students • SLO’s are learner-centered and measurable. • Learner-centered requires a paradigm shift from teacher focus to learner focus. • A shift from teacher actions (what the teacher does in the classroom). • A shift to expectations for students (what the learner will know, skills the learner will attain, and affinities the learner will demonstrate at the conclusion of the course). • Measurablerequires evidence (beyond a grade) that learning occurred as indicated in the Course-level SLOs (PM00-04, dated 7/21/00).

  16. Use of Action Verbs in SLOs • Constructing Observable and Measurable SLOs • SLOs must be measurable and the action specified in the SLO must be an action verb -- it should specify overt behavior that can be observed and measured. • Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain, from the simple recall or recognition of facts through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels. • Examples of Action Verbs that represent intellectual activity are available via the sample link below. Additional Information on Bloom and SLO Samples

  17. Comparing Objectives and SLOs • Objective Examples – Too general and difficult to measure: • Student will appreciate the benefits of exercise. • Student will be able to access university resources. • Student will be able to have more confidence in their analytic abilities. • SLO Examples – Specific and easy to measure: • Student will be able to explain how exercise affects stress. • Student will be able to identify important university resources. • Student will able to analyze inventory costs and its influence on corporate profile performance. Sample

  18. Writing SLOs • Course Objectives or SLOs? • Students will have opportunities to master information technology. • Student will be exposed to a wide range of theories currently practiced in the field. • Students who participate in critical writing seminars will learn how to use critical thinking skills. • Students will be exposed to exceptionality in learning disabilities including visual and perception disabilities.

  19. Assessing/Measuring SLOs • Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes: • Assessment is the process of gathering evidence of student learning, reviewing the evidence to determine if students are learning what they are expected to learn, and using this evidence for course improvement. • Assessment of SLOs must be evident in syllabus. SLOs are aligned to course topics, assignments, examinations, and other assessments. • SLOs may be measured in several assessment activities (chapter test, essay, mid-term exam). Conversely, several outcomes may be measured by one assessment activity (final exam, course project, final paper). More Information and Samples

  20. Assessing/Measuring SLOs (cont’d) • What assessments could be used to measure these objectives? • Student will appreciate the benefits of exercise. • Student will be able to access university resources. • Student will be able to have more confidence in their abilities. • What assessments could be used to measure these SLOs? • Student will be able to explain how exercise affects stress. • Student will be able to identify important university resources. • Student will demonstrate the ability to analyze and respond to arguments about racial discrimination.

  21. Course Requirements, Expectations, and Policies • Course Requirements Expectations/Policies: • Readings, Assignments, Examinations • Assessment Procedure • Grading Policy • Due Date Policy • Make-up Work Policy • Attendance Requirements • Participation* • Classroom Civility* • University Policies • Academic Integrity • Academic Accommodations Additional Information

  22. Course Requirements and Student Learning Outcomes Assessments • Course requirements should include clear and relevant information that will assist students in mastering course SLOs, including but not limited to the following: • Readings • Assignments (in class and homework) • Assessments of SLOs such as examinations, essays, projects, products, and performances • It should be clear which assessments will measure related SLOs. • Provide a statement regarding the use of rubrics (if applicable) to assessment assignments including what constitutes a passing rubric score.

  23. Grading Policy • The grading policy statement should be explicit about the grading system you are using, including: • University letter grading uses plus and minuses except A+ and D- • Allocated percentage distribution, e.g. A= 96-100%, etc. • If the course is for Credit (CR/NC) your statement should identify what constitutes CR, e.g. CR = 80% • If you are grading on the curve, include a statement to this effect • Additional information on Grading Policy at: (more)

  24. Due Dates and Make-up Work • Instructor statements regarding due dates of assignments and/or examinations and make-up work are necessary to avoid misunderstanding or ambiguity in your course. • Due Dates • Specify conditions for submitting work (i.e. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date) • Include consequences for not turning work in on time (i.e. Late assignments will not be accepted or One (1) point will be deducted for each day an assignment is late). • Make-up Work • State whether or not make-up work will be allowed • Specify points allowed for make-up work

  25. Attendance Requirement • Expectations regarding attendance must be included in the syllabus and or often paired with expectations for class participation. • Attendance Requirements • State importance of good attendance • Stipulate conditions (attendance is 10% of your grade; no more than two absences will be allowed) • Include consequences (each absence equals a reduction of .05 grade point)

  26. Class Participation Expectations • Expectations regarding class participation is discretionary but is often included to encourage students to take an active part in their learning. • Class Participation • State the importance of class participation; relate this to the learner-centered focus of your course (i.e. In order to be successful in this course, students are expected to participate in class discussions, peer review, and group assignments). • Include conditions (Participation is 10% of your grade). • Stipulate consequences (Lack of participation in peer-reviewed assignments will result in 2 grade points reduction for each assignment).

  27. Classroom Civility • Although not a university requirement for syllabus content, many instructors include a statement regarding expectations for student behavior in their course. • Provide clear and concise expectations for acceptable behavior: • Respect for others (instructor as well as fellow students) • Disruptive behavior (loud talking, coming late, leaving early) • Not paying attention (sleeping, working on other courses’ papers) • Use of electronic devices (cell phones, text messaging) • Refer students to the University Student Rights and Responsibility Handbook at

  28. University Policies • Reference to University Policies on Academic Integrity and Accommodation must be included in the syllabus. • Academic Integrity • A specific reference to the University Catalog’s statements on Academic Integrity/Plagiarism, and an explanation of the course expectations as they relate to academic integrity. • The Catalog states: Academic Integrity is of central importance in the university community and involves committed allegiance to the values, principles, and code of behavior held to be central in that community. Integrity concerns honesty and implies being truthful, fair and free from lies, fraud, and deceit. • For more information see: Additional Information (more)

  29. University Policies • Academic Accommodations • A statement on the policy for accommodating students with disabilities, including a reference to Disabled Student Services (DSS) must be included in the syllabus. • For More information see Disabled Student Services at: Additional Information

  30. Tentative Course Schedule/Outline • The Course Schedule/Outline should include the word “Tentative” and consist of the following information: • Date, day, or week # of class meeting (Week # and class session if meeting more than once a week) • Topics and brief explanation of tasks/activities for the day • Assignments and examinations with Due Dates • NOTE:Most instructors find it helpful to put the Course Schedule in a table format. This helps keep the text aligned and avoids confusion. Samples

  31. Additional Information • Additional information should be an asset to instructor and student. Many instructors find it useful to add: • Details about assignments • Rubrics for scoring assignments and assessments • Helpful hints for successfully completing the course • Details on Classroom civility • Suggested Readings Samples

  32. Final Thoughts • You have completed this tutorial and have constructed a syllabus for the course you know best. Now you can take the skills you have learned to construct the rest of your syllabi. • Below are links to syllabi from CSUH faculty; they may not look like yours, but they do reflect the essential syllabi content. • Links to completed syllabus: • Sample 1 • Sample 2 • Sample 3

  33. Questions and Answers If you have questions regarding survey construction and or Student Learning Outcomes, please contact: Dr. Cathy Jacobs Outcomes Assessment Coordinator and USLOAC Chair (310) 243-3973