20 Minute Programs
Is Your Syllabus Sending the Wrong Message?

Is Your Syllabus Sending the Wrong Message?

Your syllabus and classroom policies set the tone for your class, but they may not be creating a welcoming learning environment. Learn tips designed to help you use classroom policies to support student engagement and a smooth-running classroom.

Use classroom policies to support student engagement

They say you have only one chance to make a first impression.

If that’s true, what is your syllabus saying about your class?

Find out how you can use your syllabus to create interest and inspire learning in your courses in Is Your Syllabus Sending the Wrong Message? featuring Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D., award-winning educator and editor of The Teaching Professor newsletter.

This video is just 20 minutes, which is long enough to deliver actionable insights, but short enough to fit anyone's schedule.

Realize the problems

Your syllabus and classroom policies set the tone for your class, but they may not be creating a welcoming learning environment. Weimer has identified two significant ways classroom policies can be counterproductive:

  • Policy creep—This develops when professors attempt to close loopholes and prevent student misbehavior by adding policy after policy, year after year.
  • An authoritarian tone—By focusing on the negative and laying down the law, policies can promote an adversarial environment from the start

Take advantage of the opportunities

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Weimer shares course design tips and supplemental materials designed to help you use classroom policies to support student engagement and a smooth-running classroom. You’ll explore two alternative approaches to help you spark motivation and clarify responsibility:

  • Abandoning the quest to write policies to cover all potential problems
  • Getting students involved in setting policies

Learning goals

After completing this classroom management focused program, you’ll be able to:

  • Articulate a proactive, student-focused role for classroom policies in the syllabus
  • Identify three key concerns about the function of classroom policies in your syllabus
  • Describe alternative approaches to classroom policy design
  • Incorporate effective classroom policy design in your next syllabus

Product Code: PM22IA

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