Tuesday Tip – The Most Important Part of a Syllabus

What is the most important part of a syllabus? Due dates? Point structure? Attendance policy? The concept of “Backwards Design” suggests that Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are among the most important because they guide every single thing that you and your students do for the entire course. An SLO defines what students should know or be able to do by the end of your course and thus determines what will be taught and how. So, consider spending some time this semester creating or updating your SLOs. They should be in sync with your department outcomes and be clearly stated on your syllabus. All your assessments (labs, exams, papers, projects, etc.) should measure the extent to which students meet your SLOs. Below are a few examples of SLOs that are clear, observable, and measurable.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to…

  • Communicate using academic language appropriate for a nursing environment.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Develop an individual exercise program based on the results of a fitness assessment.