Traditionally, a syllabus is considered a guide or map that details the content and structure of a given course. The document generally includes information about the instructor, course objectives, a description of what students might expect and a listing of course assignments.
But an effective syllabus can serve a much higher purpose. Not only can this document communicate the professor's vision of the course but it can provide motivation that challenges students in their semester efforts. Research supports the long-held pedagogical maxim that students achieve more in a class that is well organized. The comprehensive syllabus assists the instructor in creating a course structure that sets realistic goals and expectations for students thus providing a productive learning environment.