I know what you’re about to say, “Alysha, you’ve told us 3210747958 times before how vital and important using your class syllabus is, what more can you seriously say?” Well, dear Bookish & Bright followers, the answer to that question is so much more.
I have so much more to tell you about how stinking vital using your syllabus is, how to utilise it to be organised, get good grades and what you should look for when reading through it for the first time.
It’s time to get acquainted with your syllabus!
If your school is anything like mine, most all syllabuses (syllabi?) will pretty much look exactly the same, with a few minor exceptions.
Here are the important things you need to take note of:
Staff Contact Information
Whether it’s a content related question or something more serious like an assignment extension, family or health issues or even issues related to your course/lecturer/tutor, your syllabus will tell you who does what, who is important, who to contact when and how. This is information you may not even need but if (and when!) you do, you’ll find it in your syllabus. I copy this information into my phone, so if I ever have an issue I know who to turn to and when/how they’re available.
One of the first things you should do after getting a copy of the syllabus is checking out what assessment is required for the subject and put all your due dates straight into your planner and/or calendar.
Your syllabus will also have a more in-depth explanation of each piece of assessment which is vital to look at whilst working on your assignments and reviewing for exams.
Your syllabus is basically your guide to the class and it’s obviously going to state which textbook you need. Ignore this and go straight to the weekly breakdown and weekly readings which will tell you how often you’ll actually be reading the textbook and if it’d be a better option to hire it from the library.
P.S if your class requires a class workbook (one that you write in), ignore this little piece of advice. That’s not something you can hire from the library very easily and it won’t be listed as a weekly or required reading.
Subject Intended Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes are everything you’re expected to know or be able to do by the completion of studying that you couldn’t do before. SILO’s are your secret to success. If you want to get a good grade, read the Learning Outcomes, keep track of them and aim to complete or follow them and cross of the one’s you can do. This will let you know what you need to work on, what you’ve already accomplished and how you’re traveling along in the subject.
Weekly Break Down & Weekly Readings
Here is the one thing most people ignore. Most syllabuses will break down exactly what topics you’re covering week by week, what each lecture is about and what reading you need to do for that week. This information is more important than you think. You’re able to plan ahead, read ahead and make sure that when an assessment is due, you won’t fall behind on class work because you’re cramming to get a good grade.
Policies, Procedures & Guidelines for Extensions, Late Submissions, and Academic Integrity.
So this can seem boring and a bit overwhelming but it’s good to give it a glance at least once.
It’s important to know your schools/lecturers policies on academic integrity because one innocent mistake really can cost you your degree, if your school is anything like mine, they don’t take plagiarism lightly, even if it is by accident, so read the policy and make sure you’re not going to get yourself into trouble.
Another good thing to know if your lecturers/professors/schools policy on late submission. I’m not advising you do submit work late but if your school has a lenient policy, it may be a better option than handing in rushed, unedited, terrible work. It’s also a good idea to know what the policy for extensions is. My school requires proof, in the form of a medical certificate or a death notice but I’ve been told that certain professors will also ask for some proof that you’ve at least started the assignment before you’ll be granted the extension. I’ve taken note of this because if I fall ill or a family emergency happens, it’s vital to know what steps I have to take in order to not face an academic penalty.
Are you a fan of using your syllabus? Have any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!