James Lang points out that the usual focus on coverage when preparing a syllabus considers the teacher ("the coverer") and the course materials ("the covered") but neglects the students. Lang recommends that when coming up with a syllabus, you should be "thinking first and foremost about what knowledge or skills students should learn in your course, and then thinking about the best ways for them to learn that knowledge or those skills." This may seem obvious, or too general, but it should guide nearly every decision you make as you put together your syllabus, and your course. -DG
Source: James M. Lang. On Course: A Week-By-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2008. 3-4.