For example, all of my syllabi start with a question about the importance of the class: Why should you take (and be interested in) this class? This is followed by my brief description of what the course entails and why I think it will be useful to them.
This is followed by “Who is your professor?” introducing me and including my contact information and office hours.
This trend continues:
What textbook do I need for this class? (required materials, LMS information)
What am I getting graded on (a.k.a. how will I show what I have learned)? (brief description of various assignments and how much of the grade they are worth)
What will I learn about in this class? (course topical outline)
What are the learning goals and outcomes that this courses assess? (learning outcomes and course objectives)
Do I have to go to class? (Attendance policy)
Can I turn in things late? (late policy)
Academic Honesty Policy (about cheating and plagiarism)…I know this isn’t a question, but I did add the parenthetical statement to make it clear where in the syllabus this is mentioned. In this section I also added examples of what plagiarism or cheating might look like in each particular class. For example, “working with another student on a reflection paper is considered cheating” or “copy-pasting from a textbook or website”
Where can I get help? Here I put in information about what office hours are and what they can be used for; information about tutoring, mental health resources, and then accessibility resources.
University Credit Hour Policy (or how many hours can I expect to put into this class?). Here I put our required statement about federal guidelines and out of class expectations.
When is stuff due? (course calendar; which I set up to look like an actual calendar Monday-Saturday for each month with the appropriate due dates…I think this helps students process the time between due dates).
My hope in taking this approach is that students will be able to navigate through all of the information more effectively during that first brush, and remember that the answers are there if they have questions later.
Here is a copy of my syllabus for general psychology in a PDF and in Publisher (in case you want to edit for your own classes!).
Written by Ciara Kidder