A Syllabus-Based Assignment (with Template)

A cartoon from phdcomics.com: students ask about what was covered in class, the late policy, office hours, and how grades will be computed -- to which the instructor replies repeatedly "It's in the syllabus."


1. "A Template for Assignment Development and Clarity" (post) outlines a detailed writing assignment based on the syllabus -- a "Personal Statement Response to the Syllabus" (pdf template) -- that requires the following of students:

  • Reading the syllabus
  • "[F]inding out what’s happening in the course"
  • "[R]espond[ing] to the course and react[ing] to its activities and the work they’ll be required to do" 
  • "[A]sk[ing] questions and voic[ing] concerns"
  • "[S]ee the course in a larger context—how it fits in with what else they’re studying and what it might contribute to their professional goals"

2. Divided into Purpose, Skills, Knowledge, Tasks, and Assessment, the template "ensures that most students will discover on their own what they need to know about the course."

  • "And that leaves the professor free to do something more worthwhile on the first day."

Hafer, Gary R. and Maryellen Weimer. "A Template for Assignment Development and Clarity." The Teaching Professor 11 March 2019.

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