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Office of Teaching & Learning

Where Development Drives Quality

ul 2.11.23


As the initial and primary written communication between faculty and students, an effective syllabus:

  • Clarifies the purpose of the course and provides a central reference point for students
  • Informs students what they will learn in the course (learning outcomes)
  • Explains expectations for student participation and conduct, related to university policies
  • Describes how students can achieve success in the course
  • Reinforces institutional values related to student learning
  • Provides all logistical course related information

The syllabus can be viewed as a contract between the instructor and students, laying out the responsibilities and expectations on both sides.  In essence, the syllabus reflects the course design process.

Developing an effective syllabus begins with defining the overall purpose of the course and formulating the overarching course goals. Next, one must think about what knowledge and skills student should attain by the end of the course. This can be articulated in a list of action statements, or learning outcomes.

The course goals and learning outcomes are achieved and measured through assigned readings, activities, and assessments. Student learning and progress is evaluated through the completion of these assignments.

The syllabus also serves an organizational function. By listing all course logistical information (i.e., instructor contact information, assignments and related due dates, required readings) students will have a central reference point to find answers to common questions.

Finally, the syllabus can communicate a faculty member’s particular ground rules for...

  • expected student technology competencies
  • required course practices, such as classroom use of cellphones and computers
  • your attendance policy
  • your methods for evaluating student progress

as well as institutional values and policies, such as expectations regarding academic integrity, diversity and access and student conduct.

Syllabus Template

The following link will direct you to templates that include NLU’s best practices in syllabus design, each with a set of standard university policies, statements and resources for available to students.



    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
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    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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