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Constructing a Learner-Centered Syllabus: One Professor’s Journey - IDEA Paper 60

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abstract

Educators increasingly agree that a learner-centered syllabus is associated with better rapport between students and teachers and increased student motivation, achievement, and empowerment. Accordingly, in 2009 Cullen and Harris developed a rubric for assessing the degree to which a syllabus is learner-centered versus teacher-centered. To date, however, there has been no such resource to explain how to actually construct a learner-centered syllabus. Therefore, I set out to provide a primer: In the first half of this paper, I review the history of syllabus construction and then discuss the research that assesses the impact of learner-centered syllabi. In the second half, I provide an assessment tool for teachers, based on the work of Cullen and Harris, for evaluating a syllabus to determine its learner-centeredness. I then explain specific elements of a learner-centered syllabus and provide examples of how to include these elements in your syllabus.

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