A Sylla What???
As instructors, the first week of classes becomes very mechanical for us. We have the students print the syllabus, read the syllabus and sign the syllabus. During one of those monotonous classes, I decided to ask the students to define the word syllabus and I was surprised that not one student really knew what a syllabus was.
Now, I have the students look up the word syllabus and write a definition. I spend time in class discussing that a syllabus is contract between the instructor and the student. We talk about expectations students can have of the instructor and what expectations the instructor has of the students. I also emphasis that they should never sign a contract without reading it in its entirety.
By taking the time up front to discuss what a syllabus is, I have found that I am answering less questions about what is due and when. Students are prepared for class and I have fewer attendance issues.