The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach


Judith Grunert

Document Type



This practical manual presents why and how to construct a syllabus that shifts from what you will cover (the traditional syllabus) to one that reflects what tools and information you can provide students to help them learn (the learning-centered syllabus). The book's underlying assumption is that good teaching helps students understand how to actively acquire, use, and extend knowledge in an ongoing process of learning. The book's goal is to assist anyone interested in designing a learning-centered syllabus to plan and construct one.

Contents include

  • definition of a learning-centered syllabus planning the syllabus
  • planning a syllabus, starting with developing a rationale
  • eight principles of designing a course that fosters critical thinking
  • checklist for the content of a learning-centered syllabus
  • using e-mail, listservs, and the WWW
  • samples of contents of a learning-centered syllabus: letter to students; purpose of course; course, descriptions, goals, and objectives; resources for students; readings; evaluation and self-evaluation; learning contract form; learning style inventory; purpose of syllabus; how to study for this course
  • samples from successful syllabi
  • helpful references and suggested readings

This concise, practical, and straightforward guide is an immediately applicable resource for those who are constructing or revising a syllabus that focuses on student learning. It is a valuable resource for the newest to the most experienced teachers.

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