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Distinguish between course, syllabus, and curriculum.

Quick answer:

A syllabus is a document that describes the sequential topics that will be taught. It is created by a teacher. A curriculum is not determined by a teacher and outlines the broad concepts of learning necessary to be proficient in a particular field. A course includes the context of instruction and is guided by the syllabus and curriculum.

Expert Answers

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A syllabus and a curriculum are two terms that are frequently used incorrectly in education.

A syllabus is a document. It contains a summary of topics that will be covered and typically the order those topics will be taught in. A syllabus is created by a teacher and varies from teacher to teacher. There is a specific duration for a syllabus, which is usually a quarter, a semester, or a year, depending on the time constraints of the educational institution. A syllabus also includes the policies of an individual instructor, including grading policies, instructions for completing and submitting work, rules governing the course itself, and grading scales.

A curriculum is typically not established by a teacher; it is instead determined by the government or an educational institution. Curriculum refers to the overall content of a course and is a broad concept. Some distinguish the two terms by examining the focus. The curriculum guides a teacher in what should be taught. The syllabus guides students in how concepts will be delivered.

A course, or course of study, describes all of the units of teaching that are led by a teacher or teachers. It includes the interactions between teachers and students and the delivery of the instruction. The term course includes the context of the instruction and the activities used to achieve learning.

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