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Distance Education Handbook
A syllabus makes a powerful impression. It can put a student’s mind at ease or create fear and stress, which has the potential to impede learning, particularly for students from marginalized communities. How your students receive your syllabus and are able to engage with it can affect whether or not they are successful in your class.
Creating a learning-centered, syllabus will assist you and your class with getting off to a great start. The “traditional” syllabus often includes language that is harsh and punitive, which can feel intimidating to students, and even instill fear. The style of a syllabus can be off-putting, especially where words are in caps, bold-face, and highlighted in red.
"ALL QUIZZES MUST BE COMPLETED AND SUBMITTED BY THEIR DEADLINES. QUIZZES SUBMITTED LATE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. NO MAKE-UPS ALLOWED!!!"
The learning-centered syllabus, however, is warm and invites students to interact with the instructor. Using language that is welcoming and positive communicates that the instructor believes the student can successfully complete the course.
Rephrasing the above example:
"Missed quizzes cannot be made up because there are only 10 questions, and you have an entire week to complete them. If life gets in the way and you happen to miss a quiz, you can always submit one of the extra-credit assignments to make up those missing points."
The above example is in an accessible PDF format. To obtain the Microsoft Word format, contact the LPC Distance Education coordinator. After customizing in Word, you will need to convert it to an accessible PDF before posting it in your class.