Syllabus Critique walking in the footsteps of other instructors

Manuel Niño, Candidate for M.A. in Foreign Language Teaching, TESOL

Florida International University

Syllabus Critique: What is useful, what can be improved, and how?

On any topic relevant to your content area or academic interest

I selected a found on the web for Miami Dade College’s English for Academic Purposes Grammar ESL course EAP 0260 because it is relevant to my area of academic interest. This critique reviews the content of syllabus to identify of areas of effectiveness as well as areas of improvement based on.

This syllabus includes the professor’s basic identifying information. The professor’s name is clearly listed in bold letters as well as the department name. The syllabus also lists ways by which a student can communicate with the professor. The office location, office telephone number, and an email address. The syllabus includes a departmental website to view faculty information.

The syllabus currently lists the office hours as TBA. The syllabus would be made stronger by listing the office hours. It is important for students to know when the professor is available to answer questions about the lecture or materials. On some syllabi, I noticed some instructors allowed students to text them within specific hours. According to O’Brien, Mills and Cohen (2008), communicating availability is important because students want more, “frequent interaction with faculty’’ (p. 25).

I feel that additional instructor information would be helpful to the student. I like it when professors list their credentials and professional backgrounds. Professor Behar did not list her degrees or experience on this syllabus. Reflecting on our previous class lectures, this section also offers a likely spot for listing the professor’s teaching philosophy.

This syllabus is easy to follow along. It is well-designed and not text heavy. That’s why I think it is appropriate for ESL students who are low-level English readers. I would only recommend that additional relevant information, such as dates or deadlines be added so that students can better plan.

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