3 Ways to Get Students to Read Your Syllabus

Do you ever wish students would JUST READ THE SYLLABUS?

If so, you’re not alone. And, we’re going to explore 3 specific things you can do to get students reading (and remembering) your syllabus.

Show Me How!

Watch this 8 minute video to learn about 3 things you can start doing right now:



Tell Me How!

Here are just 3 of the many things you can do and below is a deeper dive into how to apply each one:

  1. Make it worth reading
    • Some courses have syllabi that are 20 and even 30 pages long! Who wants to read that? The good news is, there are some simple things you can do to make your syllabus more readable and more user-friendly.
  2. Give them a quiz
    • If you want to help students remember what’s in your syllabus, give them a quiz! Pick the 3 or 5 or 10 most important things and make it into a graded assessment.
  3. Make an FAQ
    • Tired of hearing the same questions over and over? Make an FAQ, nuf said.


Make It Worth Reading

I don’t mean to suggest that your syllabus ISN’T worth reading, but let’s be honest, you students are busy. And, they’re taking as many as SEVEN courses per semester, plus trying to have some semblance of a life, so they’re more than a little overwhelmed and distracted.

So, maybe you can make it a little easier on them. How? By making your syllabus easier to read and easier to understand.

Here are two examples of what that MIGHT look like:

You can also check out this FIC article to see even more examples.

Want to get started?

PC users can click here to see just one of the many templates you can use to get started.

MAC users can use the Pages newsletter template.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to dig deeper or if you have any questions.


Give Them a Quiz

There are probably a small number of details in your syllabus that are more important than the rest, right? And, those details are probably the things you want your students to remember (and stop asking you so many questions about…).

Well, one great way to reinforce that information for your students is to give them a quiz. It’s also a great way to see if your students are “getting it” or if they need a little more time or support to get those key points.

How do you get started?

Just identify those specific details you want to make sure students know and remember, like your office hours or date of the midterm, whatever it may be. Then, develop one question to address each one of those things. Next, create a quiz in Canvas and have students take it whenever is best for your class.

You can also do this in a more interactive way using online response systems like Kahoot, Slido, or Poll Everywhere and have students look up information from the syllabus IN CLASS and have them post it to the online tool you’ve chosen.

The great thing about this is it gets them actually USING your syllabus to answer specific questions!!! And, isn’t that really what we want them doing in the first place?


Make an FAQ

If your class is anything like most, you probably get the same questions every semester.

Well, one thing you can do to help your students answer THEIR OWN questions, is create a frequently asked questions page, or FAQ, within your Canvas course.

Here’s an example of an FAQ that Sharon Carter created for her class:

Here’s another idea:

If you create a hyperlink IN YOUR SYLLABUS which points to your class’ FAQ, you can use it to get some of that dry, policy language out of your syllabus and into Canvas. This not only helps shorten your syllabus dramatically, it lets you focus your syllabus on your course rather than on university policy and 27 other things.

Shorter is (usually) better.

Wanna Learn More?

Here are some additional resources:


If you’d like to discuss how you can incorporate any of these strategies into your classes, please don’t hesitate to contact me. And, if you have some strategies that you use and would like to share, please let me know!

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