Syllabus: Your Course Roadmap

"Syllabus: a brief statement of the main points of a course of study" -- American Heritage Dictionary

"Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." -- Deuteronomy 32:2

Dictionaries often use the phrase "brief statement" in defining syllabus. In reality, most course syllabi (at least mine) tend to be multi-page documents. A good syllabus is a gold mine of information about assignments, due dates and grading expectations.

A good description of syllabi1 at schools like Southern Nazarene University appeared some time ago in the Journal of Education for Business. In describing a syllabus, Greg Kearsley and William Lynch wrote:

"The single most important instrument of structure in a course is the SYLLABUS, [a document] which outlines the goals and objectives of a course, prerequisites, the grading/evaluation scheme, materials to be used (textbooks, software), topics to be covered, a schedule, and a bibliography. Each of these components defines the nature of the learning experience:

1Note: Syllabi is the plural form of syllabus.

Syllabi on this website

For courses at European Nazarene College

For course at Nazarene International Language Institute (Quito, Ecuador)

For a course at Nazarene Theological Seminary

For a course at Northwest Nazarene University

For courses at Southern Nazarene University

For course taught at Trinity International University

Are you one of these characters?

Online students I've met -- Caricatures of annoying behavior in online classes

    -- Howard Culbertson,

Origin of the word "syllabus"

The word "syllabus" has an interesting origin. It comes from the Latin word "sittybas," which itself is derived from the Greek word "sittybos" or "sittybos," meaning a label or table of contents. In ancient Greece, "sittybos" referred to a label affixed to a manuscript or a scroll indicating its contents.

So, in a sense, the concept of the syllabus has its roots in the organizational tools used by ancient scholars to keep track of written materials. Then, as education systems developed, the term came to refer to a summary or outline of topics covered in a course or a curriculum. Today, a syllabus typically outlines the objectives, topics, assignments and projects, readings, and other important information for a course.

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