Working Bibliography on Higher Ed Syllabi

Al Harahap asked about research on what people (ok, really students) look for in syllabi today on Facebook. Here’s an “as-is” export of all the sources I have in my Zotero bibliography.

Editing Note: I will likely come back to edit and clean this up. Zotero adds a lot of junk to the HTML. I also prefer the Kairos Style of including full names to amplify gender as possible.

Afros, E., & Schryer, C. F. (2009). The genre of syllabus in higher education. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 8(3), 224–233.

Altman, H. B., & Cashin, W. E. (1992). Writing a Syllabus. IDEA Paper No. 27.

Baecker, D. L. (1998). Uncovering the Rhetoric of the Syllabus: The Case of the Missing I. College Teaching, 46(2), 58.

Bayraktar, B. (2020, July 28). Tip: Creative Syllabi [Substack newsletter]. Tips for Teaching Professors.

Bazyar, Z., Dastpak, M., & Taghinezhad, A. (2015). Syllabus Design and Needs Analysis of Students in Educational System. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 6(4), 162–165.

Biktimirov, E. N., & Nilson, L. B. (2003). Mapping your course: Designing a graphic syllabus for introductory finance – ProQuest. Journal of Education for Business, 308–312.

Birdwell, M. L. N., & Bayley, K. (2022). When the Syllabus Is Ableist: Understanding How Class Policies Fail Disabled Students. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 49(3), 220–237.

Bogost, I. (2023, August 21). The Most Disrespected Document in Higher Education. The Atlantic.

Brown, C. (1975). The Devil’s Syllabus. College Composition and Communication, 26(4), 365–367.

Brown, S. (2015, October 9). Should a syllabus ever tell students what not to say? The Chronicle of Higher Education, 62(6), A12+. General OneFile.

Burdina, M., & Sasser, S. L. (2018). Syllabus and economics: Reasoning with Generation “Why.” Journal of Economic Education, 49(1), 38–45.

Caesar, T. (2005, January 27). Against Syllabi | Inside Higher Ed.

Calhoon, S., & Becker, A. (2008). How Students Use the Course Syllabus. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(1).

Carello, J., & Thompson, P. (2022). What Are We Centering? Developing a Trauma-Informed Syllabus. In P. Thompson & J. Carello (Eds.), Trauma-Informed Pedagogies: A Guide for Responding to Crisis and Inequality in Higher Education (pp. 203–218). Springer International Publishing.

Carrasco, M. (2022, April 21). Creating a Friendlier Syllabus. Inside Higher Ed.

CETL. (n.d.). Syllabus Tips and Sample Statements. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from

Clarke, D. F. (1991). The negotiated syllabus: What is it and how is it likely to work? Applied Linguistics; Oxford, 12, 13–28.

Cody, J. (2003). Asynchronous online discussion forums: Going vibrantly beyond the shadow of the syllabus. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 30(3), 268–276.

Cohen, D. (2011, March 31). A Million Syllabi. Dan Cohen.

Combs, D. S., Frost, E. A., & Eble, M. F. (2015). Collaborative Course Design in Scientific Writing: Experimentation and Productive Failure. Composition Studies, 43(2), 132–149.

Comer, A. R. (2016, July 27). The Syllabus as a Contract. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cunliff, E. (2014). The Boring Syllabus. The Teaching Professor, 28(2), 5.

Cydis, S., Galantino, M., Hood, C. L., Padden, M., & Richard, M. (2017). Integrating and Assessing Essential Learning Outcomes: The Syllabus and Formative Feedback. Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 13(2), 81–97.

Deans, T. (2019, January 20). Yes, Your Syllabus Is Way Too Long. ChronicleVitae for Higher Ed Jobs, Career Tools and Advice.

Devitt, A. (n.d.). Syllabus as Genre. Amy Devitt. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from

Doolittle, P. E., & Lusk, D. L. (2007). The Effects of Institutional Classification and Gender on Faculty Inclusion of Syllabus Components. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7(2), 62–78.

EXAMPLE: College Writing II. (n.d.). Campus Compact. Retrieved June 2, 2018, from

Faris, M. J., & Wilson, G. (2022). Mapping Technical Communication as a Field: A Co-Citation Network Analysis of Graduate-Level Syllabi. In J. Schreiber & L. Melon�on (Eds.), Assembling Critical Components: A Framework for Sustaining Technical and Professional Communication (pp. 69–115). The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.

Fernandez, D. P., Figares, A., & Cecil, H. W. (2022). Preparing Syllabi: The Art of Self Defense. University of Baltimore Law Review, 51(3. Article 2), 304–327.

Fornaciari, C. J., & Dean, K. L. (2014). The 21st-Century Syllabus: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Journal of Management Education, 38(5), 701–723.

Frey, T. K., Moore, K., & Dragojevic, M. (2021). Syllabus Sanctions: Controlling Language and Fairness as Antecedents to Students’ Psychological Reactance and Intent to Comply. Communication Studies, 72(3), 456–473.

Gannon, K. (2016, October 28). What goes into a syllabus? The Chronicle of Higher Education, 63(9), A40. General OneFile.

Generic Syllabus Maker. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2019, from

Gere, A. R., Curzan, A., Hammond, J. W., Hughes, S., Li, R., Moos, A., Smith, K., Van Zanen, K., Wheeler, K. L., & Zanders, C. J. (2021). Communal Justicing: Writing Assessment, Disciplinary Infrastructure, and the Case for Critical Language Awareness. College Composition and Communication, 72(3), 384–412.

Germano, W. P., & Nicholls, K. (2020). Syllabus: The remarkable, unremarkable document that changes everything. Princeton University Press.

Gooblar, D. (2017, August 18). Your syllabus doesn’t have to look like a contract. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 63(43), B1+. Biography In Context.

Gowell, J. (2019, August 22). Syllabus-as-Metaphor. Hybrid Pedagogy.

Graves, R., Hyland, T., & Samuels, B. M. (2010). Undergraduate Writing Assignments: An Analysis of Syllabi at One Canadian College. Written Communication, 27(3), 293–317.

Habanek, D. V. (2005). An Examination of the Integrity of the Syllabus. College Teaching, 53(2), 62–64. JSTOR.

Hardy-Lucas, F. (n.d.). Constructing Legally Sound Syllabi: Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). Retrieved March 17, 2018, from

Harnish, R. J., & Bridges, K. R. (2011). Effect of syllabus tone: Students’ perceptions of instructor and course. Social Psychology of Education, 14(3), 319–330.

Harrington, C. M., & Gabert-Quillen, C. A. (2015). Syllabus length and use of images: An empirical investigation of student perceptions. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 1(3), 235–243.

Harrington, C., & Thomas, M. (2018). Designing a Motivational Syllabus: Creating a Learning Path for Student Engagement: Vol. First edition. Stylus Publishing.

Hewings, A., & Seargeant, P. (2014). Constructing a discipline: Pedagogically focused knowledge production in open and distance education. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 29(2), 131–144.

How to Create a Syllabus. (2018, September 12). The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Iannarelli, B. A., Bardsley, M. E., & Foote, C. J. (2010). Here’s Your Syllabus, See You Next Week: A Review of the First Day Practices of Outstanding Professors. Journal of Effective Teaching, 10(2), 29–41.

Jones, J. B. (2011, August 26). Creative Approaches to the Syllabus. The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: ProfHacker.

Jones, N. N. (2018). Human Centered Syllabus Design: Positioning Our Students As Expert End-Users. Computers and Composition, 49, 25–35.

Kauffman, K. D. (2014). Is Your Syllabus a Contract? A Comparison of the SoTL Literature and “The Law.” 14.

Kay, S. L. M. (1980). On Notional Syllabuses. The Modern Language Journal, 64(2), 179–186.

Kim, Y., & Ekachai, D. “Gee.” (2020). Exploring the Effects of Different Online Syllabus Formats on Student Engagement and Course-Taking Intentions. College Teaching, 68(4), 176–186.

Lang, J. M. (2015a, February 23). The 3 Essential Functions of Your Syllabus, Part 1. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Lang, J. M. (2015b, March 30). The 3 Essential Functions of Your Syllabus, Part 2. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

LINK: UTexas Access Syllabi and CVs. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2018, from

Ludy, M.-J., Brackenbury, T., Folkins, J. W., Peet, S. H., Langendorfer, S. J., & Beining, K. (2016). Student Impressions of Syllabus Design: Engaging versus Contractual Syllabus. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2).

Luke, A., Woods, A., & Weir, K. (2012). Curriculum, Syllabus Design and Equity: A Primer and Model. Taylor & Francis Group.

Matejka, K., & Kurke, L. B. (1994). Designing a Great Syllabus. College Teaching, 42(3), 115–117. JSTOR.

Maybee, C., Carlson, J., Slebodnik, M., & Chapman, B. (2015). “It’s in the Syllabus”: Identifying Information Literacy and Data Information Literacy Opportunities Using a Grounded Theory Approach. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(4), 369–376.

McDonald, J., Siddall, G., Mandell, D., & Hughes, S. (2010). Two Sides of the Same Coin: Student-Faculty Perspectives of the Course Syllabus. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 3, 112–118.

McNair, T. B., Bensimon, E. M., & Malcom‐Piqueux, L. (2020). From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (1st ed.). Wiley.

Mocek, E. A. (2017). The Effects of Syllabus Design on Information Retention by At-Risk First Semester College Students. Syllabus, 6(2), Article 2.

Moosavian, S. A. Z. N. (2017). Using the Interactive Graphic Syllabus in the Teaching of Economics. American Journal of Business Education, 10(2), 45–64.

Neaderhiser, S. E. (Ed.). (2022). Writing the classroom: Pedagogical documents as rhetorical genres. Utah State University Press.

Newbold, C. (2014, July 2). Would a Course Syllabus Be Better as an Infographic? The Visual Communication Guy: Designing, Writing, and Communication Tips for the Soul.

Nilson, L. B. (2007). The graphic syllabus and the outcomes map: Communicating your course (1st ed). Jossey-Bass.

Nowogrodzki, A. (2016). Mining the secrets of college syllabuses. Nature, 539(7627). Science In Context.

Nusbaum, A. T., Swindell, S., & Plemons, A. (2021). Kindness at First Sight: The Role of Syllabi in Impression Formation. Teaching of Psychology, 48(2), 130–143.

O’Brien, J. G. (2008). The Course Syllabus, Second Edition (2 edition). Jossey-Bass.

One Syllabus Nearly Reached to Roanoke – Hokies Write. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2019, from

Ostergaard, L. (2015). Working with Disciplinary Artifacts: An Introductory Writing Studies Course for Writing Majors. Composition Studies, 43(2), 150–171.

Paradowski, M. B. (2002). Needs Analysis as the First Step in Syllabus Design.

Parkes, J., & Harris, M. B. (2002). The Purposes of a Syllabus. College Teaching, 50(2), 1.

Parson, L. (2016). Are STEM Syllabi Gendered? A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis. The Qualitative Report 2016, 21(1), 102–116.

Perry, D. (n.d.). Syllabus as Contract. How Did We Get Into This Mess? Retrieved March 17, 2018, from

Ramírez Espinosa, A. (2016). Fostering Autonomy through Syllabus Design: A Step-by-Step Guide for Success. HOW, 22(2), 114–134.

Raymark, P. H., & Connor-Greene, P. A. (2002). The Syllabus Quiz. Teaching of Psychology, 29(4), 286–288.

Reed, M. (2013). Syllabus Bloat? | Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed.

Richmond, A. S. (2016). Constructing a Learner-Centered Syllabus: One Professor’s Journey. IDEA Paper #60. IDEA Center, Inc.

Robinson, P. (2009). Syllabus Design. In The handbook of language teaching (pp. 294–310). Wiley-Blackwell.

Rocha, S. D. 1982-. (2021). The syllabus as curriculum: A reconceptualist approach (1–1 online resource (xii, 221 pages) : illustrations.). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Roen, D., Pantoja, V., Yena, L., Miller, S. K., & Waggoner, E. (Eds.). (2002). Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. NCTE.

Rumore, M. M. (2016). The Course Syllabus: Legal Contract or Operator’s Manual? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 80(10).

Sample, M. (2013, September 9). Accessibility Statements on Syllabuses. The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: ProfHacker.

Sauer, K. M., & Calimeris, L. (2015). The Syllabus Evolved: Extended Graphic Syllabi for Economics Courses. Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, 16(1), 135–148.

Schumacher, J. (2019, January 19). Opinion | An Adjunct Instructor’s Final Syllabus. The New York Times.

Schwab, K., & Schwab, K. (2019, July 16). This historic map of 6 million syllabi reveals how college is changing. Fast Company.

Show Don’t Tell: Decolonize your classroom, syllabus, rules, and practices. (2018, September 13). Liberated Genius.

Slattery, J. M., & Carlson, J. F. (2005). Preparing an Effective Syllabus: Current Best Practices. College Teaching, 53(4), 159–164. JSTOR.

Stein, K. A., & Barton, M. H. (2019). The “Easter egg” syllabus: Using hidden content to engage online and blended classroom learners. Communication Teacher, 33(4), 249–255.

Stowell, J. R., Addison, W. E., & Clay, S. L. (2018). Effects of Classroom Technology Policies on Students’ Perceptions of Instructors: What is Your Syllabus Saying about You? College Teaching, 66(2), 98–103.

Streamas, J. (2013, January 30). The Irascible Professor-commentary of the day-01-20-12.”The bloated syllabus.”. The Irascible Professor.

Sundari, H., Febriyanti, R. H., & Saragih, G. (2018). Designing Task-Based Syllabus For Writing Class. SHS Web of Conferences, 42, 00019.

Syllabus-Writing Season | Inside Higher Ed. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2019, from

Taylor, K. (2010, September). The learned word. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(1), 6. Biography In Context.

Taylor, S. D., Veri, M. J., Eliason, M., Hermoso, J. C. R., Bolter, N. D., & Van Olphen, J. E. (2019). The Social Justice Syllabus Design Tool: A First Step in <em>Doing</em> Social Justice Pedagogy. Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity (JCSCORE), 5(2), 133–166.

The Three Most Important Parts of a Syllabus. (2023, May 31). Lifehacker.

Thompson, P., & Carello, J. (Eds.). (2022). Trauma-Informed Pedagogies: A Guide for Responding to Crisis and Inequality in Higher Education. Springer International Publishing.

Tokatlı, A. M., & Keşli, Y. (2009). Syllabus:how much does it contribute to the effective communication with the students? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1(1), 1491–1494.

Toward Cruelty-Free Syllabi. (n.d.). Google Docs. Retrieved January 23, 2020, from

Vai, M., & Sosulski, K. (2015). Essentials of Online Course Design: A Standards-Based Guide (2nd edition). Routledge.

Waggoner Denton, A., & Veloso, J. (2018). Changes in syllabus tone affect warmth (but not competence) ratings of both male and female instructors. Social Psychology of Education, 21(1), 173–187.

Williams, A. (2022). A Review of Syllabus: The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document that Changes Everything. Across the Disciplines, 18(3–4), 364–367.

Wolf, J., Roderick, R., & Rooney, A. F. (2019). Improving Instructor Ethos through Document Design. Composition Studies, 47(2), 146–166.

Womack, A.-M. (n.d.). Accessible Syllabus. Retrieved June 29, 2016, from

Womack, A.-M. (2017). Teaching Is Accommodation: Universally Designing Composition Classrooms and Syllabi. College Composition and Communication, 68(3), 494.

Wood, T., & Madden, S. (2013). Suggested Practices for Syllabus Accessibility Statements. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 18(1).

Yarosh, J. H. (2021). The Syllabus Reconstructed: An Analysis of Traditional and Visual Syllabi for Information Retention and Inclusiveness. Teaching Sociology, 49(2), 173–183.

Zucker, K. D., Baker-Schena, L., & Pak, M. (2010). The Course Syllabus: Contract, Culture, and Compass. The Teaching Professor, 24(1), 3.

The Challenge of Ethics Discussions

The 1958 Code of Ethics for U.S. Government Service

Code of Ethics for Government Service by GovdocsGwen on Flickr, used under public domain. Click on the image to see transcript.

For the third week of Technical Writing, our template focuses on ethical considerations, asking students to respond to two online discussions. One of the discussions asks students to find the code of ethics for their field and then discuss what they find with one other person in the online course. The other presents an ethical dilemma, a case study taken from Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition, by Richard Johnson-Sheehan. Like the first, students are to respond to the dilemma and then another person in the class.

I wanted the online discussions to have a bit more purpose and to connect more directly to what’s going on in the course. The structure of the two discussions challenges my beliefs about teaching the most. It’s the problem I always see with the “you + 1 (or 2)” requirement for course discussions. Students are to post their ideas about the discussion topic and then are asked to respond to one or two other students. The trouble springs from the fact that they don’t have any reason to reply. It’s no wonder we get those “This is a great idea. I really agree with you” responses.

To address this challenge, I rewrote the two discussion prompts to build in more reason for the replies. For the first, students still locate and respond to the code of ethics for their fields. I have arranged students in the small groups that they will use for the entire term, working on collaborative writing for their project management unit. The group discussion gives them a chance to get used to working together before they begin writing the major projects together. For their responses to one another, I asked them to create an interdisciplinary code of ethics that their groups would follow as they worked on the collaborative projects. The task still requires them to discuss with one another but adds the purpose of negotiating ethical principles and creating a statement they will repurpose later in their teamwork agreements. The task is published as Try-It #5: Your Discipline’s Code of Ethics.

The second ethics discussion required more work. The original post asked students to respond to a fictional scenario related to radioactive waste a a potential building site. The scenario had nothing to do with the other assignments in the course. My theme focuses on analyzing usability and design of online sites in order to improve them; thus, students are applying all the writing strategies related to audience, usability, and design with every project. I kept the basic strategies of presenting an ethical dilemma that students were to respond to, but changed the scenario to focus on a workplace situation that arises as a group writes a collaborative document. The shift asks students to consider typical project management issues: a missing team member, strict project deadlines, and the impact of the writing project (and its accuracy) upon the intended audience. In this discussion, students interact by indicating how they would proceed if they were faced with the scenario and then propose how the fictional team could avoid similar challenges in the future. To give the activity relevance to the course, the instructions explain that the group will address similar issues when they create their teamwork agreement later in the term.
This second task is published as Try-It #6: The Ethical Dilemma of the Absent Team Member.

Visual Outline of Group Work for the Fall

Today is the last day of the second week of classes. I got my groups set up yesterday, using the Group Preferences Form that I developed a few years ago. I ended up aiming for five people per group, but I didn’t stress over having a few with four and one with three. I thought it better to team students who worked at the same time of day and in the same ways than to group students simply because five seemed like a good number.

With the groups set up, I wanted to provide a more visual overview of the projects that students would collaborate on. All of the projects are listed in the Short Guide, but that description focuses on what the assignments are rather than how students collaborate. I created the explanation below with Canva. The transcript is below the image.

There’s more that I need to communicate, but this is a good start. At this point, I want to help students understand that getting to know one another now and beginning the process of working together will make things go more smoothly when they turn to writing together.

Infographic outlining how you'll collaborate in Technical Writing

Image Transcript

01: Introductions

Once you’re assigned to a group, introduce yourself to everyone and begin getting to know one another.

Establish a backup plan for connecting in case someone is missing from discussions.

02: Group Discussions

Discuss technical writing concerns together, and decide on style and ethical guidelines for your group projects.

Share your second projects with one another for feedback before you submitting your work.

03: Teamwork Agreement & Schedule

Prepare for the group projects by composing a teamwork agreement to guide your collaboration.

Create the schedule for your drafts and meetings for the rest of the term.

04: Research Proposal

Choose a website to examine for your Recommendation Report.

With your group, compose a research proposal that pitches the website you’ve chosen and outlines your research and writing plans.

05: Progress Report

Assess the progress your group has made on the Recommendation Report.

Compose a Progress Report that tells me the project’s status and your plans to finish the work.

06: Recommendation Report

Collaborate to discuss your website’s usability and to identify how to improve it.

Together, compose a formal report that explains your research and recommendations.