Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creating a Syllabus for Millennial College Students

I am finishing my syllabi for the fall semester and I had to keep a few items in mind when planning for my millennial students. Here is the checklist for my syllabi:
(    ) Include a picture of the textbook. I like to include a picture of the textbook that we are using in class because the students know exactly which textbook to choose when perusing the bookstore. In addition, when I was an undergraduate, I bought all of my books on barnesandnoble.com. If my professors would have included a picture of the textbook (or the ISBN) on their class syllabus, the textbook search would have been easier. 
(    ) Include an explanation of my virtual office hours. Many professors have not adopted virtual office hours and my students do not have any frame of reference for such office hours. As a result, I include my yahoo im username and briefly describe how virtual office hours may help them.

(    ) Remind the students that laptops are not allowed in my classroom (except on designated days). Laptops are a distraction in the classroom. As an undergraduate, I used a laptop to take notes in my class (and also to play games and search the internet). Since my lectures are in powerpoint format and I provide these notes for my students, there is no reason for laptops to be present in my classroom (except on designated days).
(    ) Include the "Best Practices" Section. Millennial college students want to know how they can make an "A", "B", "C", etc. I provide these best practices for the students in my classroom, because I want them to know exactly what they need to do to make a satisfactory grade. 
(    ) Include My Attendance Policy. This is my third year teaching and I have always taken attendance. In addition, students have two to three allowed absences (without a doctor's note, etc.) from my class. I hold my students to a very high regard and I remind them that they will enter the post-graduation world in a few years. They cannot miss an extra ordinate amount of days on their jobs without a penalty (reduced pay, etc.). 
What do you include on your syllabus?
- Millennial Professor


  1. Have students been receptive to your virtual office hours? I think it's great that you explain virtual office hours. Also, nice work on getting the image of the textbook. Gen Y need images as stimulus.

    Have any students been grumbling about the "no laptop" rule?

  2. The ACRL blog recently wrote about how to avoid "divided attention" because of electronic devices in the classroom. They advise including something in the syllabus to deal with this problem. Click here to read the article.

  3. Including the picture of the textbook is an excellent idea, but definitely also include the ISBN! That's what librarians and booksellers are ultimately going to use to determine the exact edition of the book.

  4. Amy,

    I recently finished a research study focused on the virtual office hours that I offer the students in my classes. Slightly over 25 percent of students in my classes (that took the survey) used the virtual office hours. In addition, a majority of students who did not use the virtual office hours felt that the communication feature was beneficial.

    As for the "no laptops" rule, I have not had one complaint from my students. At the beginning, I felt that the student would complain, but they have not. (I am not complaining about the lack of complaints.) :)

    - Millennial Professor

  5. Amy,

    Thanks for the ACRL blog post about electronic devices in the classroom. I am glad that someone recommends adding a statement to the syllabus about electronic devices. Please feel free to forward any articles on text messages, virtual office hours, etc. to me.

    Thanks again!

    -Millennial Professor

  6. Amanda,

    Thanks for coming to the workshop and for writing a blog post. I think that is ISBN is important and I include it on my syllabus every semester, but I FORGOT to include it on my checklist. :)

    Please feel free to post anytime! Have a great weekend!

    - Millennial Professor


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