1. Find the answer to the question, What
personal benefits have former students in this
course derived? Sources for this information are direct
(former students whove completed the course) and indirect
(colleagues, Dept. Chair or Dean, Institutional Effectiveness
Office). Obvious answers are:
- this is a required course, so students
benefit = advancing in their degree program
- this course will provide them with
tools needed to succeed in their chosen fields
Less obvious answers might be:
- my best friend is taking this course,
and I want to hang with him
- my parents want me to be a doctor,
so I have to take this course
Here, the concept of student motivation
is important because students who recognize personal benefits
are generally more motivated as learners. See the discussion
concerning Maslows hierarchy for some ideas about identifying
potential personal benefits your students might derive from
The above comments refer only to categories
of student benefits. The provide them with tools needed
to succeed category might include these two benefits
for a course in oral communication:
Additional phrases to guide you as you
craft your course goal statements are:
- assist you in . . .
- familiarize you with . . .
- provide you with a better understanding
of . . .
- help ensure your success as you . .
- give you experience in . . .
- develop your ability to . . .
If you use student comments in this list,
the importance of having these statements be in the students
own words can't be overemphasized. Even attributing names
(John S., sophomore English major) to individual
benefits is a good idea because, for this purpose, use of
student-produced information is a more learning-centered approach
than use of teacher-produced information.
Students personal benefits (some
- Develop confidence
- Prepare me for the next course
- Develop my ability to argue effectively
- Develop ability to work in teams
- Adapt to a fast-paced environment
- Develop specific skills (identify them;
e.g., for video production students: good lighting techniques
in outdoor shooting)
- Ask former students
- Talk w/colleagues
- Check other syllabi
3. Include the list as part of your syllabus
and preface it with a statement that engages students
interest in reading the list. Heres a start: You
may wonder, as other students have, how you will benefit from
taking this scourse. Thats a good question, and there
are some good answers. . . .
for examples from several syllabi showing the course goals
Your prefacing statement for your course