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Mindful and Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist

Checklist Directions: Please use this checklist to determine whether your course syllabus includes the components of a learner-centered syllabus.

Course information

____ Course Abbreviation and Number
____ Course Title
____ Semester and Year (Start Date to End Date)
____ Number of Credit Hours

Instructor information

____ Name (and preferred method of addressing)
____ Office Address
____ Office Hours and other contact information
____ Telephone Number

____ Email Address

If the instructor has a teaching assistant, include contact information.

Departmental information

____ Name of Department
____ Location of Departmental Office
____ Preferred contact information for the Department

Course goals and learning outcomes

____ Discuss how the course fits into the overall curriculum. Answer the question, “Why is this course useful?”
____ List 4-5 broad learning outcomes that reflect what the students will learn and the skills they will develop by successfully completing the course.

____ Orient students to the discipline if this is an introductory course.

Learning objectives

____ List 3-5 major learning objectives. For example: What will students know or be able to do after completing the course? What skills or competencies do you want them to develop? If appropriate, be clear about what the course will not address. 

Course format

____ Specify textbooks and readings by author and editions. When possible, explain connections to the course goals and how the text and readings address them.
____ Explain whether you expect students to have completed readings before class sessions and the degree of understanding that you expect (e.g., successfully complete pop quizzes, be able to discuss concepts, or apply reading information to problem-solving scenarios).
____ Explain other requirements such as group assignments, individualized consultation, etc.
____ If readings are placed on reserve in the library, discuss library policy.
____ Identify additional equipment or materials needed and where students can obtain them. 

Assignments (papers, quizzes, exams, projects, etc.)

Be as specific as possible about:
____ Types of exams, quizzes, exercises, projects, papers, etc.
____ Expectations for performance

How will students be evaluated?

____ Explain how students will be evaluated and how grades will be assigned.
____ Include components of final grade, weights assigned to each component, information regarding grading on a curve or scale, etc.

Course policies

Discuss your policies clearly regarding:
____ Attendance 
____ Late assignments 
____ Make-up options 
____ Extra credit 
____ Deadline extensions
____ Reporting illness
____ Cheating and plagiarism 
____ Expected classroom behavior
____ Expectations for attendance, assignments, and examinations

____ Students’ responsibilities in the learning process

Course Calendar 

____ Provide a course calendar that outlines themes/topics to be covered, reading requirements, assignment due dates, etc. If necessary, revise it and be sure students get an updated version. 
____ List important dates such as last drop date, registration dates for the next semester, etc. Visit CMU’s Academic Calendar website for semester detailed information.
____ Include dates and times of any exams scheduled outside of class time (If needed, visit CMU’s  proctoring site for additional information).
____ Highlight the date and time of the final exam.
____ Visit an Interfaith Calendar website when scheduling projects, presentations, and exams to consider any potential conflicts.

Additional learner-centered information

____ Provide a glossary of terms, acronym key, and jargon commonly used in the subject area.
____ Inform students about sensitive or potentially disturbing information or activities covered in the course.
____ Estimate student workload. Give students a sense of how much preparation and work the course requires. But be realistic; they don’t believe scare tactics or soft-pedaling. (Remember that yours is not the only class that they’re taking.)
____ Include information on how to succeed in the course, such as the following suggestions tailored for students:

  • ____ Check your CMU email regularly.
  • ____ Log into our Blackboard course daily.
  • ____ Communicate with your instructor and visit during office hours.
  • ____ Create a study schedule so that you don’t fall behind.

____ Include information about teaching assistants, supplemental instruction (if any), study skills help, and campus resources such as tutoring.


Adapted from “Mindful and Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist” by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University.

CMU’s Office of Curriculum & Instructional Support is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License