It's in the Syllabus...


First of all, Happy Labor Day! If you're anything like most lecturers we know, you're probably laboring on wrapping up your syllabus today. If that's the case, maybe we can all help each other out here. Writing a syllabus can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility:

If we had a nickel for every time we said "It's in the syllabus" or, "did you check the syllabus?" or, "what does the syllabus say about that?" we'd all be very wealthy people. Likewise for every time we've grumbled about how little attention students sometimes pay the syllabus.

But maybe there's a reason for the seemingly disproportionate attention to syllabi among students and instructors?

Here's a terrific post by genre scholar Amy Devitt on what a syllabus does and can do. Some of her insights about underlying assumptions of the syllabus inspire me to take a breath, take a step back, and assess what my syllabus is actually doing. How can I make it more inclusive? More engaging? A better representation of the ethos of the course I want to create with and for my students?

Let's use this space to share ideas and insights, and to ask each other questions, to troubleshoot as we get ready to step into the chute of the semester tomorrow. What do you do with your syllabi that you find particularly effective and engaging? How do you navigate the tension between Canvas (or other course sites, if you use another platform) and hard copy?