Center for Educational Innovation

Academic Affairs and Provost

Course prerequisites if any exist

Your syllabus should state any prerequisite coursework for this class. Depending upon the course, it might also be important to clearly define your target student group. Is this course for students who intend to go into a particular field? Is it a requirement for majors in several different fields? What skills and prior knowledge do you expect from students?

Example

The 1004-1005 General Chemistry sequence is a course of study in the principles of chemistry for students who:

  • intend to proceed in a professional school or program which requires additional study in analytical or organic chemistry (e.g., medicine, biology, or biochemistry)

  • want a basic knowledge of one of the physical sciences, especially to satisfy a group requirement for a laboratory course

  • need to satisfy an engineering or agriculture prerequisite, or

  • are undecided in their major (this includes prospective chemistry majors).

Students who plan no further work in the Chemistry Department and who do not need to fulfill a specific Chemistry 1004-1005 prerequisite should consider taking Chemistry 1001-1002 instead.

- J. Roberts, Chemistry 1004: General Principles of Chemistry

Telling students about background knowledge and skills you expect them to have for this course and what to do if they don't have that knowledge can be extremely helpful to them. Simple statements such as: "In this course I will assume that you are all able to do basic algebraic computations. If it's been awhile since you've taken a math class, it would be wise to visit the library and check out one of the following books to review..." can help prevent frustration for both you and your students.

Example

You don't need to have any specific background in language or linguistics to take this course - that's what it's providing. Some traditional terminology and ideas may be helpful as we look at new ways to analyze language (e.g., it helps to know terms like prepositional phrase, predicate, or subject-verb agreement). If I use traditional terms in class which you don't know, please see me for some good resource books.

- Chris M. Anson, English 3851: Introduction to the English Language

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