Spring 2003



Center of Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Minnesota




This address takes the user to a Syllabus Tutorial provided by the Center of Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Minnesota.

In their welcoming statement the authors state that a syllabus is a document that should bring students and faculty members together in the sense that a syllabus is a showcase of how well faculty manages to communicate the material, their interest in it and in the students' intellectual struggles.

Students in return should be enticed to become more involved in the courses.



- The tutorial has 8 sections arranged in the typical sequence that appear on one's syllabus (goals, expectations, texts and material, grading, ect.).

- The site showcases many examples of high quality allowing the user to get a hands-on experience while learning.

- Through this site, the user can get feedback for his/her own syllabus. In fact, one can arrange for a teaching consultation with their staff.

- The site provides a syllabus checklist for one's final product.


Reviewed by Iris Busch



Aspects of Task-Based Syllabus Design, by David Nunan




I chose this site because of its specialized content.  As I read more of the page, I realized that it doesn't actually give a detailed account of "how to" create a syllabus such as providing a template or a check list, it deals mainly with what is important to focus on in the ESL/EFL classroom as a teacher using a task-based approach.  It doesn't exactly teach me how to write a task-based syllabus but it does give me some more insight into ESL/EFL task-based teaching.


Reviewed by Jonathon Constantine



Penn State University’s Syllabus Writing 101




This is a very useful website to consult when designing a syllabus for the following reasons:

1)      It enumerates important factors for designing a syllabus. For that reason, it is very good for those people who do not have any or enough knowledge of designing a syllabus.

2)      With the information of the necessary factors for the syllabus, this website makes us think about what we should consider to organize these factors, such as how to select materials, what to consider when thinking about assignments, etc.

3)      This website offers specific and practical examples for each factor such as course description, course objectives, course schedule etc.

4)      In addition, it offers other extra information such as classroom assessment techniques, technologies for teaching and learning, and management and assessment tools.

5)      It is easy to access the items that we want to know.

However, this website failed to provide two important elements such as instructor information and additional learning resources for designing a syllabus when considering Dr. Cubillos’s 9 important elements for a syllabus, which are instructor information, course description, course objectives, course policies, course requirements, required materials, additional learning resources, grading and evaluation, and course calendar. In addition, this website is not meant to serve foreign language courses. In spite of those two limitations mentioned above, the information in this website is still useful to employ.


Reviewed by Myengju Ahn


Adams Center for Teaching Excellence




The reason that I liked this website so much is because there is an excellent checklist that teachers can use when they are designing their syllabi. The checklist is very thorough and has the most important elements listed.  Another even better characteristic about the website is that the checklist has links about each of the components.  This is wonderful because it gives the readers a more in-depth understanding for each element. 


Reviewed by Tina George


This website provides comprehensive information regarding the proper and recommended design of a syllabus.  It has abundant resources for understanding the philosophy, utility, and various functions for each part of a syllabus.  This site also gives ample guidance for course design and instruction as pertaining to syllabus design.  Lastly, it offers a template to facilitate syllabus design.  Overall this site has all of the key functions necessary to enlighten anyone on the precepts for designing the proper and correct syllabus for any course.


Reviewed by Stephen Lee


This website is a very useful resource on syllabus design. Here, you can find definitions, checklists, templates and deep insights about general course development.


Reviewed by Doran Marin


How to design a language and culture learning program



The reason I chose this site is first of all, because I knew culture would be big component in designing a syllabus.  I also liked it because not only did it give me advice on creating a syllabus, but also how to make unit plans, prepare language learning materials, make daily lesson plans, and decide what kind of language learning syllabus to develop.  It also explained the different language ability levels and listed the kinds of things a student should be able to say at that stage.


Reviewed by Shannon Breedlove





Spring 2002

Syllabus Handbook: Brown University


This web site is a great resource to use to help design any kind of syllabus.  First it gives the reader an explanation of the importance of designing a syllabus.  It discusses how a well-written syllabus enhances student learning and helps students make appropriate course selections.
Next the viewer has a chance to explore some sample syllabi from four different areas.  They can look at a syllabus in the area of Humanities, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences.  At the end of each of those syllabi there are some questions that evaluate the effectiveness of each of those syllabi.  At this point the viewer is ready to design his or her own syllabus.  This web site has a template on it to help organize the information that should be on any syllabus.
By clicking on “Master Syllabus Form” you are ready to begin.  This form has the titles of the sections set and all the designer has to do is follow the directions and input their own information.  This template is not only helpful in helping you set up how your syllabus looks, but it also gives examples and hints for each part of the syllabus to ensure that you produce a well-written syllabus.  Someone who has had experience designing syllabi and knows what works and does not work from their own experience gives the hints.  This is a great resource to use for any one designing a syllabus, but especially for beginners.

Reviewed by Christine DeSantis

Syllabus Design: Stanford University


This is site offers: suggested steps for planning your syllabus, suggested principles for designing a course that fosters critical thinking, what type of role the syllabus plays, and what is needed to design a learning-centered syllabus.  This site also offers a small passage written by William H. Johnson Jr.  about inserting learning objectives into a syllabus.  Some other perks to this site are:  electronic syllabus templates, a link to additional hints when designing a syllabus, and various titles of books, which would help, assist when designing a syllabus.

Reviewed by Chantel M Dreher

Syllabus Design: University of Hawaii
This website by University of Hawaii offers practical explanations about how to develop a course syllabus or what we should keep in mind in writing a syllabus or what the core components are (showing examples in the syllabus suggested form), and so much more. These are well explained in the link of  "preparing a
course syllabus". Originally, this site is made for the purpose of faculty members' syllabus preparation. However, this site is worthwhile for us, soon-to-be teachers, to investigate.  It also contains other interesting and useful links on teaching tips in general.
Reviewed by Kyung-ja Lee.

Designing a Learning Centered Syllabus: Michigan


This site provides a better understanding to what a syllabus represents and gives an extensive outline of its major components.  Sample syllabi and course websites are possible links from this site as well as numerous online resources for understanding and creating both paper and electronic syllabi.

Reviewed by Melissa M. Probst

Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center: Northern Illinois


This website was developed at Northern Illinois University.  I believe it to particularly helpful because it provides a well organized set of links to websites covering a wide variety of questions encountered by teachers.  The topics include the preparation of teaching assistants, designing the syllabus, lesson plans, advice to those who are teaching for the first time, teaching strategies, learning styles, grading, multiculturalism, portfolios.  In short, this websites covers almost any topic that an instructor could wish to research.  The section on Syllabus Design is particularly useful because of its links to websites at seven universities, including University of Delaware, SUNY - Buffalo, and Penn State.   These sites in turn provide links to more useful information.

Reviewed by Karen Konyk Purdy

English Teaching Forum Online Magazine


This publication is the online version of a quarterly journal published since 1963 which is compiled by foreign language teachers outside of the United States and Britain that teach English in their classrooms.  Generally, the magazine publishes articles that discuss methods, ideas for classrooms and updates on American culture.
The article I reviewed “Towards more Reality and Realism in ESP Syllabuses” was written by a Slovakian teacher on the transition from structural-based to learner based syllabi in the school curriculum.  I think that this is an excellent place to start for some general advice and observations on designing or reconstructing a new syllabus.  The article briefly reviews the historical lineage of theoretical approaches to the approaches implemented today on syllabus design.  The article stresses the need for a syllabus to be based in the reality of the needs of the learner with emphasis also on the importance of practice.  The article also considers time a restriction in the classroom that the syllabus shouldn’t neglect.
Since this is my first experience in being on the creation side of a syllabus instead of the receiving end, I thought that the advice Anna Jureckov offers from the symbiosis of both the old theories and the new ones were both relevant and informative.

Reviewed by Sarah Rose Vieni

Helpful Sites for Syllabus Designers


This website provides an overview of how to design a learning-centered syllabus. It gives suggestions for planning and designing a syllabus, and includes a checklist of all the things a syllabus should contain. The site has an email and telephone number to get in touch with Center for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Delaware.


This page helps you design a syllabus using hyperlinks that specialize in different aspects of a course. Many of the links provide step by step instructions along with templates, recommended readings and useful ideas to create your course.


This page contains ideas for constructing an ESL syllabus. It helps teachers decide what things needs to be taught. Also has tips on what to include in the syllabus.


This site provides examples of different types of syllabi and what to include in each of them. It also includes different ideas of how to manage a language learning program. Gives step by step strategies on how to plan the course and syllabus.

Sites reviewed by Fran O'Brien

Support for Syllabus Designing


St. Edwards University's Center for Teaching Excellence was a useful web site for support of syllabus design.  It discusses four main issues to consider when developing your own syllabus.
The first topic is Components and Content areas of a Syllabus.
This section lists all the key components and content areas a syllabus should contain, as well as gives advice to keep in mind while creating a syllabus.  Such advice includes, being as specific as possible without intimidating the students, discussing the syllabus during the first class period, making sure that your syllabus is a reflection of your educational philosophy, etc
The next two sections are entitled Writing a Syllabus and Checklist for Developing your Syllabus.  These sections give a more detailed description of the key components of a syllabus as well as providing an actual checklist to make sure you have included everything.
The last topic discussed on this web site is Motivating with the Course Syllabus.  This section was extremely interesting to us because it shows how to word everything on a syllabus positively and to make goal(s) of a course obtainable.

Reviewed by Erica Kleinman, Aimee Chippie

Helpful Syllabus Design Links




The last one's Nunan's; no doubt you're already familiar with it.  The first two provide "content checklists" with little theoretical background, but I think they're helpful nonetheless, at least for people who are putting their syllabi together for the first time.

Reviewed by Jack Chen

Syllabus Design Handbook: Michigan State University


This is a web site of the Michigan State University TA Handbook.  The page explains what syllabi are ("the syllabus is the tool used to enhance of the process of learning and clarify the teacher's expectations, a contract between the teacher and students").  It has a list of hallmarks of an acceptable syllabus:

- Name of Instructor
- Where Instructor can be reached/office hours
- Course Number; Section Number; Days, times, and classroom the class meets in
- Required Text(s) and other class materials
- Course Objectives
- Grading Procedure, including Attendance Policy, Class Participation, and the like
-Course Outline, by weeks at least

Then, the site lists hints for preparing an effective syllabus.

1.  Relevant information about the course and instructor. The information should include the current year and semester, the name and number of the course and the meeting time (with days of the week and meeting times), and location. It should also include the instructor's name, phone number, the location of the instructor's office, and the times of his or her office hours. These facts are normally placed at the beginning of the syllabus.
2.  A list of the resources to be obtained by the students. Most important here are the required text(s) and reading assignments. Their role in the class and where they are available for purchase or loan should be included. (It is important to check that the bookstore or library will have the materials on the shelves before students are sent to find them!) It might also explain what, if any, materials other than text(s) are required of students. Any supplemental materials (such as lecture tapes, sample projects, or past tests) that are available can appropriately be mentioned.

3.  A clear statement of course objectives. The course objectives should be as clear as possible and should describe what the students will be expected to know-and at what level of competency-at the end of the semester, rather than what the instructor plans to do. Note that the use of vague terminology (such as "students will develop a clear understanding") can result in arguments over degrees of understanding. It is generally better to use specific, measurable behaviors as objectives. Arguments over degrees of understanding. It is generally better to use specific, measurable behaviors as objectives.

4.  A description of the means (or activities) by which the course objectives will be met. Possible items include field trips, guest lecturers, discussions with active participation, problem-solving groups, assignments, use of audiovisual materials, etc. The amount of student time required for each activity may be estimated.

5.  A statement of grading criteria. This will explain the grading criteria, the components of the final grade, the weighing of various components, the impact of class participation and attendance to the final grade, and other relevant information. The number of tests each semester should be included, along with a brief description of what each test will cover. The numerical equivalent of letter grades or the "range" for each grade can be provided.

6.  A statement of course policies. This is best expressed in a clear, non-threatening form. Policies should be set for such events as missing an exam, turning in a late assignment, missing class, requesting an extension for an assignment, and reporting illness. It is a good idea to go on record with a fairly stringent policy that can be informally softened at a later date, if and where circumstances so warrant. The Ombudsman's Office recommends avoiding absolutes on the grounds that they are always more trouble than they are worth.

7. Schedule. If each class hour is mapped out in detail, this will become the longest and most time-consuming segment of the syllabus to prepare, although it will be a good investment in a well-organized class. The syllabus should, at a minimum, contain dates and corresponding lecture or lab topics, the preparations that are required or suggested, and due dates for projects, papers, and major assignments.

At last, the web site presents an example of well-developed syllabus.  This web site is not very interactive (no links, no templates etc.), but can be used as an introductory guideline for somebody who creates a syllabus for the first time (like myself) or who intends to evaluate others' syllabi.

Reviewed by Mutsuko Sato

WWW Resources for syllabus and materials designers

1. Information:
a. Learn about the language
i. The more one knows, the better prepared
. i.e. cognates (Dulay & Burt)
b. Learn about language acquisition
i. Theories about language acquisition
ii. i.e. comprehensible Input/ Output (Krashen, Swain)
c. Learn about learning styles and attitudes
i. Understanding yourself leads to understanding learning styles
ii. i.e. brain dominance, learning type, personality, etc.

2. Creating a syllabus:
a. Set language goals
i. Situations & activities
ii. Skills required (L, S, R, W)
iii. Proficiency level
b. Check resources (available and possible)
i. Expertise, materials, training
(instructors, books, etc., workshop for future)
Technology (trend)
(what, when, who, where, how)
c. Compare and research
i. Variety of existing syllabi
ii. Goals and resources
d. Create strategy plan
i. What gets taught in what order
ii. How does it get taught
(method and material/ technology)
e. Design syllabus
i. Decide what syllabus to design

3. References:
a. Eric Digest: http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed295460.html
b. Syllabus Magazine: http://www.syllabus.com
c. SIL International: http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/LANGUAGELEARNING/MangngYrLnggLrnngPrgrm/ChoosingWhatKindOfLanguageLear.htm
d. http://www.cortland.edu/fllteach/mm-course/mm-syl.html

Reviewed by by Claire Renaud & Peter van Leusen



Spring 2001



This site is geared toward integrating technology into the classroom and as I believe that this is the trend in education, I think this site is particularly helpful.It is possible to get full text online from past issues as well as clips that may give enough information as to not require the entire text.There are options of existing online courses to look at and a product review of the technology that one may be considering incorporating into one's class.I believe this to be a helpful site in more than one dimension.

Reviewed by Emma Bricker



This site shows an example of a syllabus designed around the latest classroom computer technology. It maps out important information that should be included in a course taught with the long distance student in mind.There are excellent links provided on the syllabus to distance education web sites and to the Asynchronous Learning Network at http://www.aln.org (check out publications) and http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/jaln.htm

Reviewed by Carolyn Becker

OHIO UNIVERSITY CALL (=Computer Assisted Language Learning) LAB


This is a site primarily concerned with ESL topics, however it is also relevant for other languages.The resources for teachers section includes a large number of links to theoretical and practical sites concerned with second language acquisition.Many of the sites are dedicated to lesson plans and communication activities, among them technology-oriented activites, which should serve useful for the materials development section of this course. The site also refers to research groups and journals.

Reviewed by Greg Knott


I find this web-sit very useful. When you click onto this site, you'll find the title page reads "Syllabus Design". There is a well-written definition of what a SYLLABUS is.Also, this site introduces many other interesting and useful sites (links).Such as...

1)There are sites about "Creating a Syllabus" (UC Berkeley) and "Designing a Syllabus" (Syracuse University). Both of these sites give detailed and necessary information on actually creating/designing a syllabus. What's even better is that both sites provide extensive references, which help guide people to search for more information.

2)There are lists and links to "Sample Syllabi" on various subjects developed by University at Buffalo faculty.

3)There is a link to "World Lecture Hall".This site contains links to pages created by faculty worldwide who are using the Web to deliver class material, including course syllabi. Personally, I strongly recommend a visit to this "World Lecture Hall". No matter what your major or interest is, you'll find something that will help you with creating a related course syllabus.And what's more, you'll get to meet with some of the world lecturers (professors).

However, some of the sites introduced at this web site have errors in them.Links to "Writing a Syllabus" (University of Louisville and Kansas State University), "Components and Content Areas of a Syllabus" and "Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Humanities Research" do not work. Thus, I think the webmaster of this site should check and update these links.

Overall, I think people will find this web site very pleasant and helpful.

Reviewed by Sun Ah SON

SYLLABUS DESIGN (2nd review)

This is a general web page about syllabus design. A definition of the word "syllabus" is provided.According to the author, a syllabus should be designed while keeping in mind the three following questions:

1- What does the teacher expect from me?

2- What will I need to do to get a good grade?

3- How will I juggle the workload for this course with the workload from other courses?

This page has a lot of links to other web pages, two of which are about how to design a syllabus.While one focuses on the main components of a syllabus, the other provides samples of syllabi. Even though the samples are not all about second language, they are still informative.

Reviewed by Isabel Alijo

SYLLABUS DESIGN (3rd review)

I found a good syllabus design web site, "syllabus design". Visit and check it out! They explain how to create and design a syllabus simply but appropriately, and there are also several good sample Syllabi developed by University at Buffalo Faculty.

Reviewed by Young-jin Jeon

SYLLABUS DESIGN (4th review)

This site is interesting insofar as it mostly provides links to other syllabus design web sites or articles. For example: writing a syllabus, components and content areas of a syllabus, creating a syllabus or even an annotated list of resources to help faculty write clear objectives. I found interesting for the syllabus critique we will soon do because there are samples of syllabi provided in several areas of study.As a conclusion, I recommend it for the resources and to have a basic knowledge of what a syllabus is. Those who want to go further on the subject can check the sites mentioned.

Reviewed by Fatima MHINAT


This web shows the definition of a Syllabus and emphasizes the components in order to design a Syllabus, therefore, you have a very detailed information of seven components of the syllabus and it explains step by step every point. This web provides you with different ways of designing a Syllabus and it gives advises about each point content in a Syllabus.

As I'm interested in teaching a second language I would like also to tell you about this other web: http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed295460.html

In this web you also find an approach to Syllabus design focusing in Foreign Language. I think is a very interesting web because it offers further readings in order to complete the information about Syllabus design.

Reviewed by Maria Jose Perez Contreras


I found this website by the Arizona State University that offers pretty practical explanations about how to design or create a syllabus.It contains links to all syllabus components and further and clear explanations of those components as well as samples on how to present them in different ways. Such is the case of the link to "instructional approaches", where different items are provided as samples . From this link there is also another link to examples of how other instructors and professors have created their syllabus.

Reviewed by Yolanda Martinez.



[More results from http://www.sil.org]

This site offers guidelines to designing language syllabi. It briefly describes some of the types of syllabi there are as well as it provides teachers with information about language learning goals and different learning styles.

Reviewed by Carolina Correa


This is a journal article:

Schulz, R. A. (1984). Language acquisition and syllabus design: The need for a broad perspective. ADFL Bulletin, 15 (3), 1-7.

This website presents a general overview of the types of syllabi used for language teaching classes: structural, situational, and notional-functional.Each is discussed and evaluated by the author.The structural syllabus is dismissed because there is little evidence that it can facilitate language proficiency.The situational syllabus is indicated to be the best for tourists, though it has limitations for long term study due to the fact that many different kinds of dialogues can take place in a situation and these are all not addressed.The notional-functional syllabus is seen as the best because it more closely addresses the learners' needs.

However, the author sees weaknesses in taking an entirely communicative approach.If grammar is not taught or if errors are not corrected, this can lead to severe fossilization.The author seems to be advocating a balanced approach to language teaching, which incorporates the best elements of each type of syllabus.

Though the article is dated and the theoretical framework is highly dependent upon Krashen's work, the author makes some basic, valid points.For this reason I believe that the website is worth visiting.

Reviewed by Erik Schaubach