Course Plan

Chart of course design

Chart of course design

The course map describes how core ideas in your syllabus will transfer to the classroom, from course description to learning activities to assessments and grading. If you wish, the course map can serve as a guide for brainstorming, outlining, writing or improving your syllabus.

Course Description

The course description is similar to a mission statement for your class; it identifies the purpose of your course to students. This section may contain a catalog, departmental, and/or a personal description or portrayal of what your course covers in a discipline. Stating only the course prefix and title for this section may not sufficiently portray the course’s purpose.

Examples of how this statement can be introduced are phrases such as “Welcome to <Course title or prefix>. The purpose of this course is to… ” and “<Course title or prefix> is designed to…”.

General Goals

The General Goals section is a reflection of the course description section. Your goals and your desired outcomes at the end of the course are illustrated in this section. Goals should be sufficiently general and broad so that later sections will better elaborate on how these goals will be met. In addition, no more than four goals should be described so that other dependent sections are not overwhelmingly large.

Examples of how to begin with this statement include “At the end of this course...“ and “Students will develop an understanding of…”.

Assessable Goals

The Assessable Goals section is a more specific and measurable elaboration of the General Goals section. Each objective or assessable goal can be translated as a criterion for student assessment, and each objective should be specific enough so that a lesson plan can be constructed covering all the goals. Each general goal can feasibly have two assessable goals each.

Examples of introductory phrases for the Assessable Goals statement are “Students will be able to identify…” or “Students will be able to compare…” or “Given a <specific material(s)>, students can accurately elaborate on…”.

Learning Activities

The Learning Activities section elaborates on the objectives with respect to how each objective reflects on the lesson plan. Each learning activity or lesson plan consists of a topic and relevant information about the topic. Lesson plans may cover days/weeks in which each topic will be covered, relevant readings in the main and supplementary reading materials, what you expect students to master, and other lesson-specific information. Important dates with respect to exams, quizzes, projects, and/or assignments may be included either here or alongside their respective topic in the Assessment statement.

The following is an example of a Learning Activities section, in the form of a table:

Dates Topic Goals and outcomes for week Reading Assignments
Week 1 Introduction of the course Introduce the basic fundamental concepts of physics. Chapter 1: Principles of Biology
Week 2 The diversity of Biology Students will be more familiar with the broad range of subjects that fall under the field of biology and describe most briefly. Chapter 2: Branches of Biology
Week 3 The Hierarchy of Species Introduce the Kingdoms that all species belong to and basic differences between them. Students will be able to describe each of the 6 kingdoms, and the classification order of species. Chapter 12: The 6 Kingdoms
Week 4-5 Individual student research time on Project 1 Students will work on their individual projects and be familiar with major ethical concerns in fields within biology. Students should be able to present both sides of an issue, not simply support one side. Chapter 7: Ethics and Biology


The assessments section is a more developed section of the Assessable Goals with respect to measuring student performance. Each assessable goal should correspond with at least one assessment. There are two types of assessments that are covered, and both types cover assessment criterion, feedback and the types feedback given to the student, grading scale, and coursework.

Formative Assessment

The first type of assessment is Formative Assessment, assessment that relates includes your evaluation criteria, your expectations of student work, and the kinds of feedback you are most likely to give, such as whether you give out comments, symbols for proofreading. Important dates with respect to exams, quizzes, projects, and/or assignments may be included either here or alongside its respective topic in the Lesson Activities section.

Approaches as to write the formative assessment portion can be written out, or in a table format:

Grade Categories Description of the requirements
Writing Assignment Your writing assignments will be in the form of persuasive essays. The basis of grading will include the basics of all writings including style, tone, and consistency. Please see the writing criteria given for more details. If there are any questions about any feedback given, please clarify this with me.
Projects (Three) Each Project will consist of research, interviewing someone relevant to your topic, writing a paper on it, & presenting your findings to the class. Your topics will be pre-approved by me and will be done individually. The research paper will be graded and given feedback based on the writing criteria on my website. The presentation of the findings will be graded under the rubric for oral presentations, & I will give written feedback on your graded sheet.
Mid-term Exam The mid-term exam will be a multiple choice test covering all the material up to Chapter 7 in your book. This may be subject to change.
Final Exam The final exam will be a comprehensive multiple choice/short answer exam covering all the material covered from the first day of class.

Summative Assessment

The summative assessment is grading a student’s work in relation to a grade in their course. Helpful information includes your grading scale (+/-, numerical, point based, etc), the weight each coursework has on the final grade, and what score corresponds to which alphabetical grade that will be received. You may also add a disclosure at this last section of your syllabus, stating that anything on the syllabus may change at the professor's discretion. This disclosure is common to give you room for adjustment during the semester.

Examples of how the summative assessment can be portrayed may be a table format, such as the one below:

Activity Percent
Three Projects Class Participation Mid-Term (October 12, 2005) Final Exam (December 7, 2005)


Total 100%

86% - 100% A
71% - 85% B
57% - 70% C
43% - 56% D
0 - 42% F

This syllabus may be modified at the discretion of the instructor. Changes will be discussed in class and/or via email.


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