About this module

When students read your syllabus, they are not just wondering, “Which textbook should I buy?” and “When is the midterm?” They are also wondering, “Can I succeed in this course?” and “Do I belong in this field?” The messages students receive early on can shape their perceived answers to these questions, and impact the way they experience your course throughout the term. They can even influence whether students disengage and drop the course when it gets challenging, or stay motivated and persist to earn the credit. Using an evidence-based approach to syllabus development and messaging you can help ensure that students’ earliest experiences in your course promote a sense of belonging and self-efficacy that will support equity, belonging, and growth throughout the term.

This online module consists of a number of recorded videos to demonstrate practical tips for developing syllabi, as well as activities that will help you apply these  concepts to your own syllabus. It should take approximately 90 minutes to watch the videos and complete the activities, plus time to revising your syllabus. 


Christine Logel

Christine Logel is an Associate Professor of Social Development Studies at Renison University College, affiliated with University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. As a co-founder of the College Transition Collaborative, based at Stanford University, and co-Principal Investigator of the Student Experience Project, funded by the Raikes Foundation, she develops and tests tools that help students approach the challenges in their journey through postsecondary education with the most adaptive mindset, increasing equity in academic outcomes and improving well-being. Dr. Logel earned her PhD in social psychology at University of Waterloo, followed by postdoctoral fellowships at University of Colorado and Stanford University. She received University of Waterloo’s 2018 Equity Award for her work promoting women’s success in STEM fields. Dr. Logel teaches Introductory Psychology and upper-year online courses.

Course Preview

  • 1


    • About this module

    • Pre-Module Survey

    • Your Instructor: Dr. Christine Logel

    • What to Expect

    • Why Revise Your Syllabus if Students Don't Read It?

    • Download: Faculty Worksheet

    • Navigating the module

  • 2

    Why Growth Mindset Matters

    • Why Instructor Growth Mindset Matters

    • Activity 1: Growth and Fixed Mindset

  • 3

    Why Students' Sense of Belonging Matters

    • Why Students’ Sense of Belonging Matters

    • Activity 2: Sense of Belonging

    • Six Core Questions for Syllabus Review

  • 4

    Communicating Growth Mindset

    • Overview: Communicating a Growth Mindset

    • Example Syllabus: Fixed Mindset

    • Identifying fixed mindset statements

    • Example Syllabus: Fixed Mindset (Highlighted)

    • Identifying growth mindset statements

    • Example Syllabus: Growth Mindset

    • Activity 3: Growth Mindset and Your Syllabus

  • 5

    Normalizing Challenges

    • Overview: Communicating About Challenges

    • Example Syllabus: Attuned to Sense of Belonging

    • Identifying Belonging Messages

    • Example Syllabus: Attuned to Sense of Belonging (Highlighted)

    • Activity 4: Belonging and Your Syllabus

  • 6

    Communicating Care for Students

    • Overview: Communicating Care

    • Example Syllabus: Communicating Care

    • Identifying Messages that Communicate Care

    • Example Syllabus: Communicating Care (Highlighted)

    • Activity 5: Communicating Care in Your Syllabus

  • 7

    Valuing Diversity in the Classroom

    • Overview: Valuing Diversity

    • Example Syllabus: Valuing Diversity

    • Identifying Messages that Communicate that Diversity is Valued

    • Example Syllabus: Valuing Diversity (Highlighted)

    • Activity 6: Communicating About Diversity in Your Syllabus

  • 8

    Communicating about Resources and Success

    • Overview: Communicating about Resources and Success

    • Example Syllabus: Communicating About Resources

    • Identifying Messages that Communicate About Resources and Success

    • Example Syllabus: Communicating About Resources (Highlighted)

    • Activity 7: Communicating About Resources in Your Syllabus

  • 9

    Next Steps

    • Putting It All Together

    • Revising Your Syllabus

    • Additional First Day Practices

    • Supplemental research evidence

    • Post-Module Survey

Ready to get started?

Click below to sign up for this free course.

Thank you to Christine Logel, Kathryn Boucher, Mary Murphy, Krysti Ryan, and Samantha Levine for their contributions to this course.

Thank you to the Raikes Foundation for supporting the Student Experience Project.