Give Your Traditional Syllabus a Needed Makeover!

Give Your Traditional Syllabus a Needed Makeover!

“In an effective classroom students should not only know what they are doing, they should also know why and how.” – Harry Wong

Many of us will be starting our classes soon! Give your learners the gift of the unexpected by revamping the syllabus. Chances are their other teachers will have the same old syllabus. As we know many learners won’t read it, because it is too long and the design is boring. Plus, the best kind of learning is when we meet the unexpected. Time to do away with the traditional syllabus and make it more engaging for your digital learners. The syllabus is the guide to the curriculum, materials, and procedures. Below, find 7 ways to ensure learners do much more than give it a brief glance.

Ideas & Resources

  • Transform the syllabus into an infographic.Piktochart is a free infographic tool. Check out their article, How to Create an Infographic Syllabus.Read a step by step approach from an instructor with lots of examples here.Find several syllabus infographics for various subjects here.
  • Gamify your syllabus! I actually did this for one of my Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). Transform activities into missions. Find out more about mission minded learning in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom. Give digital badges or set it up to where students can level up on a leaderboard!
  • Make it more engaging with links or transform it into a hyperdoc (opens in new tab). Start with this free Google Syllabus Template, then include links to resources, tools, and assessments related to the assignment. Think of it as a map of the learning adventure in your classroom and each assignment is a link to a new path of exploration.Link to your digital sandbox of tools for students to play with and use!Make it more engaging with links to curated boards with the assignment details (check out Pinterest or EduClipper).
  • Create a syllabus skeleton! Peeragogy is a flexible approach to digital learning in which the teacher and students use technology to apply knowledge together. One way to encourage co-learning is to create a basic outline of what you need to cover within a proposed timeline instead of the typical syllabus. See this free template. As a class fill in the details of activities to learn the concepts.
  • Want to get your learners to read the syllabus? Then try a digital scavenger hunt or Bingo.Create a Syllabus scavenger hunt. Find templates here (Pinterest), here, here, and here.Create a QR Code scavenger hunt of the syllabus.Create a Syllabus Bingo. Find card templates here and here.The “Drawing Exercise” activity is from Green River Community College. Place students in small groups and assign a section of the syllabus. Each group visually represents their part of the syllabus or creates a comic illustrating it with butcher paper and pens. The groups present their sections to the class.

Challenge: Try any of these tips to revamp your syllabus.

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Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at (opens in new tab)