Newsletter Format for a Course Syllabus

In an attempt to help first year students/freshman and be sensitive to the cultural impact of both international students and students leaving a smaller town to venture into the 'big city,' I have adapted my approach to the 'course outline.' I have used a newsletter format in order to begin the semester on a more informal but informative note.

This idea comes about from experiential learning and a self-examination of what it is like to be a learner who is concerned about expectations and pathways to success. Consequently I began to consider what my students don't know but what would be helpful. I address areas of culturally different expectations such as:

  • academic integrity
  • expectations of time spent on coursework
  • earned grades (as opposed to 'given' grades)
  • the difference between critical thinking and memorization
  • the type of relationship I expect with my students

This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Emma Bourassa
Instructor, ESL Department
Thompson Rivers University