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Constructing Syllabi


Bschaefer
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Hey All, 

quick question: for those that have taught classes and created your own syllabus, how much reading do you normally shoot for a given meeting time? I've been told not too much and not too many but also have had classes that either have a short NYTimes article to about 100 pages a night.... So, any feedback would be amazing! 

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This is an institution, department, course-level and reading-difficulty dependent question (among other factors I'm probably forgetting). Answers are guaranteed to vary greatly. Ask a faculty member - the chair, the undergraduate program director or just someone who you know teaches similar courses. You could also take a look at other syllabi by faculty in your department to see what they do. 

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In addition to fuzzy's suggestions, I would recommend googling for syllabi for courses similar to yours at other institutions to get a broader sense of how courses in your area tend to be structured and the workload assigned. I vary the amount of reading and length of assignments based on what year students are, the level of the course, and the department I'm teaching in. At my current institution, there are departments where 50-75 pages a night is the norm and others where it's 15-20 pages. You can't know the specifics for your department unless you ask.

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In addition, this could vary based on what you want your students to spend their time doing and accomplishing. For example, in my field, we sometimes have classes where the at-home work is almost entirely reading so the reading load is much heavier in those classes. In other classes that I've taken and TA'ed for, reading is more of a supplemental activity so there may only be a tiny bit of assigned reading (and more optional reading) because the at-home work is assigned as problem sets, lab work, etc.

Since it sounds like you are a grad student preparing this class, I think fuzzy's and rising_star's advice are more practical since you probably have less leeway to "rock the boat" in how this class is taught than if you were a professor. But this is another useful factor to keep in mind for the future perhaps.

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