Preparing a Course

Course Design Resources

Cutting Edge Course Design Tutorial. This online tutorial for developing effective courses is available through the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC). Although this tutorial was originally designed for geosciences faculty (and uses geosciences examples), it is useful for all faculty.

Course Design Resources from Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt provides an overview of course design principles and contain links to a variety of other resources.

MERLOT: Online Teaching and Learning Materials. MERLOT provides discipline-specific online learning resources for a number of different disciplines including business, criminal justice, English, history, math, music, world languages, and more.

Blended Learning Courses. The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee has a helpful Web site about blended learning courses. Their site includes information about what a blended learning course (aka hybrid course) entails, advice on course redesign, sample courses, and more. The sample courses are worth taking the time to examine.

Writing the Syllabus

Be aware of the tone you are using when you write your syllabi. Think about describing your course in terms of students’ opportunities to learn rather than required assignments. Many instructors find it tempting to translate their pet peeves into a list of prohibitions accompanied by the threat of sanctions: no cell phone use or text messaging, no baseball caps, etc. Simpson students are unlikely to respond favorably to such language. That does not mean that your syllabus should not address issues of civility, but students tend to respond more favorably if you describe the respectful behavior you expect of all your students than if you describe the disrespectful behavior you will not tolerate.

Elements Required in a Simpson Syllabus

Sample syllabi

World Lecture Hall is an online collection of syllabi and course materials from an extraordinarily wide variety of courses:

Ken Bain has studied the teaching practices and syllabi of the best college teachers. He describes his findings in What the Best College Teachers Do. He has labeled the syllabi of these effective teachers as promising syllabi. You can learn about the promising syllabus via an online PowerPoint presentation.