A College Syllabus and Students with ADD
Your Friend the Syllabus:
Most colleges require that professors give each student a syllabus. The syllabus is your lifeline in the class. It gives you information about what is expected of you as a student. Here are areas that a good syllabus will address:
*The instructor's name, office location, office hours, and how to contact him are at the beginning of the syllabus. Sometimes instructors include special information about their qualifications, special interests, and websites.
*Course supplies and textbooks needed are given. Some instructors tell students where to get the books and supplies. This would include whether a book must be purchased or whether it can be rented.
*Attendance policies tell you how attendance affects your grade. Some professors say that you should be in class no later than 5 minutes after the start time. You should not leave early. If there is a problem, like an appointment, discuss this ahead of time with the professor. Tardies are defined by the instructor. Some instructors say that a certain number of tardies will be treated like one absence. In a college class, unless the instructor says otherwise, a student is EXPECTED to be in class, on time, and ready to learn. Points may be deducted for absences and tardies.
*Grading policies are delineated, including whether, and under what circumstances that work may be turned in late. This section also will give a grading scale. How the points are distributed, for instance what percentage is tied to quizzes, tests, attendance, special projects, and presentations. This section usually addresses extra credit.
*Information about "academic dishonesty" and plagiarizing is discussed, along with the consequences for those behaviors.
*A course outline tells in what order you will learn the information, and the outcomes section tells you what you are supposed to learn in the course.
*Sometimes an instructor will tell you explicitly what each learning module will contain. For example, in a music course, there might be reading assignments, chapter summary exercises, a playlist for listening to the music, unit quizzes, and how special topics or projects will be addressed.
*A course calendar, often subject to multiple revisions, will tell when assignments and projects are due.
*The syllabus will tell you about special projects and when they are due. Some professors will give information about how to get started on a project. Some might link to a model project or information.
*General guidelines for completing assignments will be given on the syllabus. Whether assignments are expected to be typed will be discussed. How they are expected to be submitted will be detailed. In this age of computer technology, more schools are starting to go to electronic submission formats like Desire 2 Learn (D2L), which allows students to take and submit quizzes from home, if allowed by the instructor. Some colleges expect all coursework to be submitted via D2L, which can be a problem for students who are not technologically proficient. Colleges have resource labs to teach these skills. If your syllabus says that the professor only takes typed work submitted by D2L, don't walk up to him with a handwritten paper. It won't be accepted.
*Finally, the syllabus tells you the days when the class will not meet, since there are holidays and breaks in the academic calendar.
The syllabus is your roadmap to success in a college class. A syllabus can keep a student with Attention Deficit Disorder on the road to success. It can guide you through the necessary information that you need to turn in high-quality work in a timely manner. The value of using a good syllabus cannot be overstated. A student who doesn't make use of the syllabus is a student who is not getting the most out of his education.
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