DISCUSSION for PROF-it (Professors-In-Training) Session: Learn how to develop a syllabus

  • Faculty Development CenterEvent: How to Create a Syllabus, featuring Dr. Linda Hodges (Director, UMBC Faculty Development Center)
  • For all TAs, graduate students interested in teaching, and postdocs
  • Date: Friday, September 19, 2014
  • Time: 12-2pm
  • Location: ENG 023 (UMBC Campus)
  • RSVP: Graduate students and postdocs from UMBC, click here: http://my.umbc.edu/groups/promise/events/26020; interested parties from campuses other than UMBC, register using the purple “Questions/Comments?” dialog box section in the “About PROF-it” section on the main page. This is a brown bag seminar. You may bring your lunches with you.
  • Information: Dr. Linda Hodges from the UMBC Faculty Development Center will discuss creating a syllabus, time management in the classroom, and planning a semester. About Dr. Hodges: http://www.umbc.edu/fdc/staff.php
Evaluate! Discuss!

Make the most of your attendance at each PROF-it event! Discuss what you learned with other participants in the comments section below. Your participation in the PROF-it community boards counts toward possible recommendations when you apply to teaching fellowships with PROF-it partner institutions, and posting immediately following a session helps you to document your immediate reflections and plans for your own use in the future. We hope to see you again soon.

7 thoughts on “DISCUSSION for PROF-it (Professors-In-Training) Session: Learn how to develop a syllabus

  1. Before the session: Think about what you hope to gain from this event. What are your questions about developing a syllabus, and what strengths do you bring as you sit down to begin answering those questions?

    During the session: Note anything that surprises you or answers one of your questions. What are your reactions to the discussion?

    Afterward: What questions still remain? What do you want to remember for the future as your biggest take-home messages? Finally, what suggestions do you have for us as we organize future events for you?


  2. Before attending the session I hoped to gain valuable information about how to construct a syllabus for future classes I will be teaching.

    Attending the PROF-It How to Develop A Syllabus workshop was extremely helpful today. I gained an understanding of how important the wording in a syllabus is as well as the most important components that should be included in a syllabus. I was very surprised at how careful you need to be when listing course objectives and developing class assignments.

    Dr. Hodges also talked about the necessity of assignments given in a course should actually measuring the course objective goals. I enjoyed this workshop and look forward to the opportunity to teach my first class…hopefully soon.


  3. Dr. Hodges shared a lot of valuable practical information during Friday’s seminar, but the most important message I took away was that one must develop each class in the same way one would approach a new research study–by investing a lot of time thinking it through forwards and backwards. In other words, adopt an integrated approach to class design! This message was reinforced by Dee Fink’s “Self-Directed Guide to Designing Significant Courses,” which was referenced in the the handout “The Syllabus as a Teaching Tool” (and which, by the way, has some useful worksheets).

    I already feel better prepared to teach at the university level. I’m looking forward to the next seminar on opportunities at Anne Arundel Community College.


  4. I greatly appreciate Dr. Hodges approach to scaffolding how to develop a syllabus. My biggest takeaway is that we should think about course design with the end in mind. Using this technique we can plan all of our course activities around the main areas we want students to have the ability to understand after the completion of the course.


  5. I found found analyzing the verbs used in you syllabus to be a great exercise. Using the appropriate language required me to be more precise and really define what it is that I would want a student to know. I will definitely be using the verb sheets when I need to write a syllabus in the future.


  6. The information presented in this workshop was relevant, thought-provoking and helpful. There were several points that will certainly assist me in being better prepared to develop future syllabi. Being concise with accurate verbs when describing course descriptions, while making sure that objectives can be measured was an important concept our group discovered during the practice exercise. Additionally, it was beneficial to learn to “keep the end in mind” when creating the syllabus- that is actually an important tool for students. I am looking forward to the next seminar.


  7. Going in I expected to learn how to tailor a syllabus, specifically how to come up with the course content whether it were following a book “timeline,” or by creating my “own” curriculum as far as the department requirements allow me. I have seen syllabus for a while as a student, but wanted to learn more about how to develop one when being on the other side, a professor. I was surprised to see people with such a diverse background during the session, even people who have been teaching for a while. I enjoyed the work in groups with people of the same career/major background, it was refreshing to learn different perspectives to approach a task (developing an assignment during the workshop). I learned a lot in this seminar; for example, how to narrow specific objectives to accomplish an overall goal(s) for a specific class, and the importance of relating every task, HW, project, or exam to that goal in the layout of the syllabus. The handouts provided will be great tools to use in the future, I am glad Dr. Hodges took the time and effort to bring us this seminar. I would like to have more practice/seminars on how to develop actual course content, maybe a workshop to “practice” some of the tools we learned in this one. Looking forward to the next!


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