A course syllabus can affect students’ perceptions of the motivational climate within a course. Yet, few researchers have conducted experimental studies of students’ perceptions of syllabi in courses in which they were currently enrolled. The purpose of the present studies was to assess the extent to which syllabi language and organization affected students’ motivation-related perceptions in hypothetical and real courses. In Study 1, undergraduate students reported their motivation-related perceptions for hypothetical syllabi statements about the course overview, late submissions, attendance, and use of electronics. Statistically significant differences in perceptions were documented between different types of syllabi statements. Study 2 was an experimental study in which students in a “real” course were randomly assigned either a regular syllabus or one that was designed to increase their motivation-related perceptions. No statistically significant differences were documented between the two groups for students’ motivation-related perceptions. Implications for instructors and researchers are provided.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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