Course and Syllabus Design, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Course and Syllabus Design

Course Design

Your efforts to put together a course should result in an organized, coherent, and academically responsible course. Keep in mind that course and syllabus design are iterative processes—you will revise and improve your course as you gain experience with the content and with the students who take the course. The following two steps will help you begin the planning process.

Gathering Background Information.
Developing Course Content and Objectives

There is not ONE way to design (or redesign) a course. The links below provide different approaches to the process. Of course, many decisions must be made—teaching methods, assessment and grading, classroom management—and you can learn more by examining the teaching topics, listed on the left.

IDEA Paper #42: Integrated Course Design: A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning, a guide to plotting out learning goals, activities, and assessments from Creating Significant Learning Experiences, by Fink.

Cutting Edge Course Design Tutorial, a practical, effective strategy for designing or redesigning a course.

Syllabus Design

The design of your syllabus is also a personal choice. The following resources will provide advice and information to help you create a well-organized syllabus.

The Purposes of a Syllabus describes the syllabus as a contract, as a personal record, and as a learning tool.

Guidelines to the Organization and Contents of a Syllabus  lists items to include in your syllabus.

Syllabus Tutorial, examples for each section of a syllabus from the University of Minnesota.

Recommendations for Syllabi for General Education courses at Illinois have been established by the Provost.