What is a Learner-Centered Syllabus?
The syllabus, often the first document read by students each semester, establishes the tone for a course. Often viewed as a contract, the traditional syllabus is focused more on behavior, content and university policies. This authoritative tone can unintentionally create an adversarial relationship between instructor and student. The learner-centered syllabus, on the other hand, is focused on learner success and is more conversational in nature. Instead of a formal sounding document, the learner-centered syllabus uses language meant to generate interest, increase engagement, and to guide the student toward resources that may contribute to their success.
Syllabus template for a seated class (Updated 8-3-2021)
Syllabus template for an online class (Updated 8-3-2021)
Bart, M. (2015). A learner-centered syllabus helps set the tone for learning. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-classroom-management/a-learner-centered-syllabus-helps-set-the-tone-for-learning/
Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: five key changes to practice. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Fulmer, S. (2017). Weekly digest #64: Preparing a learning-focused syllabus. The Learning Scientists. Retrieved from https://www.learningscientists.org/blog/2017/6/18/weekly-digest-64
Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. & Norman, M. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Grunert O’Brien, J., Millis, B. J., Cohen, M. W. (2008). The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons.
Recommeded Syllabus Wording
The purpose of the University Syllabus Policy Statements is to support teaching and learning on the Missouri State campus. The established policies are in place to ensure that students, faculty, and staff may pursue academic endeavors with as few obstacles as possible. As a student at Missouri State University, you are a part of the university community therefore, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the University Syllabus Policy Statements. These policies cover topics such as nondiscrimination, disability accommodation, academic integrity, among many others. For program and course specific policies please refer to the individual course syllabus provided by your instructor.
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