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Customize Your Syllabus

Tue Oct 26, 2021 at 07:30 AM

While professors are the only ones who can write and change the official syllabus, you can customize their syllabus to work most effectively for you. Once you have saved the official version of your syllabus, make a copy that you can revise to meet your needs. These strategies work best with an electronic version of the syllabus, but can also be adapted to a print version.

  • Rearrange content based on the information you prioritize most. University policy often requires faculty to put specific information at the beginning of the syllabus. If you would rather have the assignment schedule at the beginning, move sections accordingly.
  • Utilize Heading styles to organize content. Heading styles create an easy-to-navigate, outlined table of contents for your document to avoid excessive scrolling. 
  • Condense policy language to reflect only most relevant points. It is better to condense this language rather than delete it. Even if policies do not seem relevant, keep an original copy in case unforeseen circumstances come up.
  • Code your syllabus for important information (color-code, bold, highlight--whatever works for you).
  • Add planning notes. Note the day(s) you will miss. Write reminders of when you will need to work ahead, meet with the professor, coordinate with group members, schedule an appointment with the Writing Center, or plan extra time for projects and studying.

Put syllabus content into your calendar. Schedule reminders or alarms for project due dates. Consider a digital calendar such as Google Calendar to paste in information provided in the syllabus.

Save and adapt a Google Doc version of this teaching tip.

About the Author

Written by Christina Moore, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC

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