Course Design and Assessment

Yale-NUS College Suggested Syllabus Template

The syllabus is an agreement between the faculty member and the students for your course. The syllabus should tell the students what the course is about, what you expect them to learn, and how they will demonstrate what they have learned through assessment assignments. The syllabus should also include language on core policies on academic integrity, late assignments and discipline-specific issues.

Click here to download the template in Word format.

Proposed Module‐Level Distinction

Numerical module codes indicate the progressive levels at which the content, methods, aims and outcomes are presented in a module. This document offers general guidelines for module structure, organization and degree of difficulty or sophistication at each of the levels, 1000,
2000, 3000, and 4000. Since these are general criteria across all majors, specific module pre‐requisites, co‐requisites, or necessary skills, if any, should still be clearly stated in each module description. Individual majors may wish to supplement these guidelines by specifying
particular learning objectives, skills and intellectual priorities for their own modules on their websites. This link (‐teaching‐practices/revised‐blooms‐taxonomy) may be useful for information on how to construct learning objectives for modules and, more broadly, for the major.

Common Curriculum (CC) Modules

Year 1 CC modules are taught at the 1000‐level, second-year CC modules are taught at the 2000‐level. Historical Immersion is at the 3000‐level and all capstone modules are taught at the 4000‐level.

Non‐Common Curriculum Modules

1000‐level modules are presented at an introductory level without prerequisites or expectations of previous experience. They can be surveyed modules or modules defining basic concepts and/or presenting the terminology of a discipline.

2000‐level modules may have 1000‐level modules as prerequisites or require some specific skills. They may be inter‐disciplinary or survey modules devoted to particular areas or fields within a discipline or topic area and related majors.  2000‐level modules help students understand material – through summarizing, classifying, and clarifying basic content, concepts, and procedures in and related to the discipline. Assignments should correspond to these learning objectives.

3000‐level modules, including Research Seminars required by some majors, will require more complex and sophisticated deployment of intellectual competences exercised in 2000‐ and 1000‐level courses. They will often be more specialised in their content, and expect a familiarity with a broader background than is treated in the course directly.  Students enrolled in a 3000‐level module should be prepared to produce some substantial independently‐conceived work (such as a term paper, a creative work, or experimental project) in anticipation of 4000 level modules and Capstone research.

4000‐level modules are advanced modules usually to be taken in Year 3 or Year 4, most likely by students who are pursuing a particular (or a closely allied) major in which the module is listed. These are advanced modules involving specialised and independent work which presumes experience dealing with areas of the discipline: final projects should demonstrate a student’s independent intellectual interests and capacities within the field.

Course Design

If you are teaching a course for the first time or inventing an entirely new course, we would like to help!  We can help you with literature to design the best possible syllabus, using “assessable learning outcomes” and research-validated techniques. By designing your class from the first with these principles in mind, your students will learn better, and your experience teaching will be better!

We can also help you design assessments within your course to assure student learning, document shifts in attitude, and create results from your course that will inform modifications in the course. This could even enable possible publication of your results in teaching in educational journals. Please contact us at for more information!

Course Assessment

Our Yale-NUS College Centre for Teaching and Learning is happy to help Yale-NUS faculty with mid-semester assessments. If Yale-NUS faculty would like CTL staff to help design an assessment of a course, we are happy to arrange a meeting to discuss some of the options below:

Focus Groups – We can meet with groups of students to discuss the course, and relay our findings to faculty in a confidential manner. These focus groups can be constructed from sub-samples of students in the course or can be conducted in the last 15 minutes of a class, where we would provide facilitation of a discussion of the class and relay our findings to faculty.

Video Recording of Class – We are happy to arrange for a video of classes to be taken, and to consult with faculty afterward to look at the video and review some of the dynamics within the classroom and teaching methods. While it is often difficult to look at oneself while teaching, it can be a helpful way to reveal distracting motions or other issues in the classroom. The results could really help to improve teaching skills in the classroom and are worth it!

Customized Surveys – We can help design unique surveys of classes, and administer those surveys via Canvas or the Qualtrics survey software. These surveys can be designed to assess student attitudes, domain knowledge, and emerging competencies in classes. Such assessments can be very valuable for validating new curricula and innovative teaching, and we are happy to work with faculty to help make the classroom environment an optimal learning environment, as well as a research-validated innovation in higher education!

Consultations – Our staff is happy to just talk one-on-one with faculty to find out how things are going – what is working and what can be improved. We can suggest literature – books, articles, and videos – that might help as courses are taught. Send an email to and we will set up an appointment!