What is a learner-centered syllabus?
The learner-centered syllabus (LCS) serves as the “handshake” in the introduction between you and your students. Thus, how you “introduce” yourself sets a climate that can forge a positive learning experience for your students.
Like a traditional syllabus, the LCS’s primary purpose is to act as a document that communicates course information, policies, and requirements to learners. Beyond this, the learner-centered syllabus provides the necessary components
of the course through the context of student success using a warm, welcoming tone. Ask yourself: if you were enrolled in your course, what would you want to know about the class and the instructor? The LCS is a prime opportunity to bridge
gaps for students who may not otherwise understand the nuances of navigating the terrain of your course. Essential characteristics of a learner-centered syllabus come with a specific description of yourself as the instructor, the course through a learner-centered lens, student and instructor
expectations, and course goals. Other important aspects of the LCS include a comprehensive calendar of course activities and assignments, class themes, and helpful tips. View all components of the learner-centered syllabus on this page.
What is a master course syllabus?
What if there is no Master Course Syllabus?
This may mean the course is in development, by you or another educator. You may find benefit in some of our related web topics, such as instructional design, student learning objectives, assessment/evaluation methods, and grading methods to help craft the content therein.
Consider practical tips for modernizing a syllabus and appealing to adult audiences, such as: using inclusive, respectful language, promoting civic awareness, streamlining content for current reading habits, focusing on the schedule, designing a layout that is accessible and engaging, etc. Additionally, research has suggested that:
- Graphical syllabi can assist retention, particularly with at-risk, first-generation learners (Mocek, 2017). Of course, if you pursue a graphical syllabus, you'll want to be certain to safeguard for accessibility so that all learners can benefit from your syllabus.
- Bringing learners into syllabus construction/refinement can have significant impact in terms of establishing a participatory culture, clarifying course expectations, and providing learners with a useful reference that more effectively meets their needs (Jones, 2018).
The first day of class is the best time to distribute the learner-centered syllabus and to begin building rapport with learners. Giving learners a chance to introduce themselves through first-day icebreakers or share a little about their interest, helps instructors to foster relationships and express investment in learners’ lives and expectations of the course. However, the extent of the learner-centered syllabus does not need to end on the first day of a course; the LCS can be a useful teaching tool throughout the semester.
It can be difficult to remember the many characteristics that go into creating a learner-centered syllabus, but we have compiled resources to support your efforts, including a Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist that will help to identify areas of opportunity within your current syllabus. Additionally, we have created a list of sample statements regarding classroom etiquette and university policies and a learner-centered syllabus that models many of the elements addressed in this guide.