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Home Page for Annotated Syllabi

Page history last edited by Mark Potter 11 years, 6 months ago

Welcome to our Annotated Syllabus Web site. We are a group of "early career" faculty at Metropolitan State College of Denver working together as part of a Faculty Learning Community.


What are annotated syllabi? They are living artifacts that begin with a simple course syllabus and then grow in scope and in depth as annotations and links to additional materials are added. The annotated syllabus is an ideal format for prompting the reflection that goes into course design and for fostering a systematic approach to instructional growth and development.


Group members, their thoughts and ideas about the project, and links to their annotated syllabi follow:


  • Dr. Bethany Fleck, Assistant Professor, Psychology

The annotated syllabus has been a very active and reflective way for us to spend time thinking about and developing our teaching. Asking ourselves why we do the things we do in regards to course design, implementation, and policies was the first step. We then dug into the research on teaching pedagogy and used it to inform and influence our practices. Finally we used each other in a continuous cooperative exchange during meetings, through email's and in partners to help refine our ideas and practices. The annotated syllabus tracks this progress and serves as working documents that will be modified in the as we continue to work on our courses.

Click here to view Bethany's annotated syllabus for PSY 3250, Child Development.


  • Dr. Kimberly Klimek, Assistant Professor, History

This project has forced me to evaluate each of my teaching tools and to keep only those ones which really matter to me and to the students.  I found that prior to annotating my syllabus, I was using information from my department and certain “catch phrases” without internalizing and justifying them, both to myself and to my course as a whole.  By really delving into each objective, each rule, and each assignment, I have discovered that much of what I used before was meaningless – it had little concrete link to the effective teaching of history and very little link to how I actually taught my class.  I have since found that with the informed use of Learner-Centered Teaching and the ability to discuss teaching with my colleagues, my syllabus has much more meaning. It has ceased being a contractual agreement that delineates rules, infractions, and punishments and has started becoming a roadmap for myself and my students, showing us the route into our particular journey through history.

Click here to view Kimberly's annotated syllabus for HIS 3120, Medieval European History.


  • Dr. Virginia McCarver, Assistant Professor, Communication Arts and Sciences

As teachers, it is important to find and capitalize on opportunities to reflect upon our expectations of students, course policies, and learning objectives. The annotated syllabus not only provides such an opportunity, but allows for more nuanced reflection of the processes we engage in as teachers in creating an atmosphere conducive to learning. Structuring a course is a process involving many influences, both recognized and covert; crafting an annotated syllabus for a course is a means of excavating those influences and examining them one-by-one for their utility and alignment with one's teaching philosophy and objectives. My annotated syllabus has helped me craft a more sound pedagogy and a more comprehensive and cohesive understanding of myself as a teacher.

Click here to view Virginia's annotated syllabus for SPE 2770, Gender and Communication.


  • Dr. Theresa Miyashita, Assistant Professor, Human Performance and Sport

As teachers we often feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that is expected, and we don't often have time to reflect.  This project offered that reflection piece, and allowed me to investigate the "why" component of my teaching style.  I was able to look back and determine if the decisions I made, work I requested, and lesson plans I designed were having the desired impact.  There were aspects of my teaching that I have not fully considered or reflected upon until this project.  The annotated syllabus will also allow for goal setting, and the future altering of lesson plans/projects if the goals are not successfully met.

Click here to view Theresa's annotated syllabus for HPS 2870, Pathology of Athletic Injuries 


  • Dr. Mark Potter, Director, Center for Faculty Development and Affiliate, History

I consider myself to have grown into a reflective and intentional teacher. I am drawn to the learning-centered approach to teaching, and I regularly read in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Still, I was surprised by how revealing my participation in this annotated syllabus project has been. I've found that the annotated syllabus prompts inquiry in areas that I might not otherwise examine with such care. For example, knowing that I would need to explain how I distilled 17 course learning objectives down to 5, I took care to really think through and document my process. The results, I think, are a course design better suited to learning. 

Click here to view Mark's syllabus for HIS 1010, Western Civilizations to 1603.


  • Dr. Keah Schuenemann, Assistant Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

The annotated syllabus is a way of showing the scholarly thought process behind the decisions that go into designing a course. Each rule, required text, assignment, and piece of the schedule was put there for a thought-out reason rooted in helping the students meet the goals of the class. The annotated syllabus is a way of explaining these reasons. Through these explanations, we can share our thought process with fellow professors, students in the course, and most importantly, for personal improvement on a course from semester to semester. Each time I teach this course, I can go back through the syllabus annotations and ask myself if I accomplished what I intended to and make changes appropriately. It is also an organized, ground-breaking way to show my applied teaching style, teaching philosophy, and samples of student work to interested peers and superiors.

Click here to view Keah's annotated syllabus for MTR 1400, Weather and Climate.


  • Adrian Shopp, MSF, Visiting Professor, Finance 

 For me, the annotated syllabus is a way to analyze the learning environment we influence as professors. From lesson plans to why a text book is suitable; many aspects of a course get reviewed in this exercise.  Asking why reading assignments and homework assignments are established on a syllabus a certain way may help professors enable more learning.  Ultimately, the annotated syllabus is about creating a better learning environment for all. As a new instructor hired to bring recent business world experience to students, this is a useful exercise on how to properly enable learning of fundamental content AND the understanding of actual industry practices.

Click here to view Adrian's annotated syllabus for FIN 3010, Markets and Institutions.



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