Creating a Syllabus: Step 8- Create a Course Description

Once you have created the learning outcomes, assignments, and homework for your course, you should write a course description that is based on those outcomes. Learning outcomes and the course description are not the same thing!

A course description provides a general overview of course content and fills in some of the blanks that learning outcomes don’t address. Although there can be some repetition, the course description is usually more lively and descriptive of what you will cover in the course in terms of topics.

Here is an example of a typical course description:

Drawing Studio 2: Foundation level studio course in the creation of drawings demonstrating an understanding of color in a variety of media. Building on skills you learned in Drawing Studio 1, you will continue to develop your basic rendering skills in representing illusionistic space while demonstrating your increasing understanding of color theory.  You will experiment with a variety of tonal and color media including charcoal, conte and soft pastel on toned and textured papers.  Technical concepts of accurate rendering, color mixing, convincing color representation, color theory and manipulation of media will be combined with the expressive aspects of drawing.

This entry was posted in Creating a Syllabus, Preparing to Teach and tagged , by Jane Alden Stevens. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jane Alden Stevens

Jane Alden Stevens is a photographer and educator who is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati. An active artist, Stevens has exhibited and published her work extensively both in the US and abroad. She is the author of “Tears of Stone: World War I Remembered” (2004). In the course of her teaching career, Stevens taught courses in film, photography, and professional practices for fine artists. Her interest in teaching practices was deepened when she started teaching the "Graduate Teaching Workshop", a required graduate level course for fine artists and art historians that prepares them to teach the courses they will later be assigned. She was also involved in the Preparing Future Faculty program at the University of Cincinnati, which prepares masters and doctoral students across all programs for teaching at the university level. She has conducted pedagogy workshops for a variety of universities, as well as participated in academic practicum panels at educational conferences. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Stevens was honored with the all-university Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and Professor of the Year honors in her college in 2011.

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