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Essential Elements in a Course Syllabus

Download Essential Elements of a Course Syllabus

This template is offered as an aid to faculty. A syllabus is an agreement between instructor and students. A well constructed syllabus conveys instructor expectations and course requirements to students, stimulates student interest in the course, and clearly outlines student responsibilities during the semester. When these details are included in writing in the syllabus and attention is called to them as the semester begins, faculty are likely to avoid problems later in the semester. When questions arise about the course or syllabus, the department chair, course coordinator, and others who regularly teach the course are available as consultants. This template is offered as an aid. The basic elements may be expanded. Submit a copy of the syllabus for each course to the department office each semester.

A syllabus is an agreement between instructor and students. A well constructed syllabus conveys instructor expectations and course requirements to students, stimulates student interest in the course, and clearly outlines student responsibilities during the semester. When these details are included in writing in the syllabus and attention is called to them as the semester begins, faculty are likely to avoid problems later in the semester. When questions arise about the course or syllabus, the department chair, course coordinator, and others who regularly teach the course are available as consultants. This template is offered as an aid. The basic elements may be expanded. Submit a copy of the syllabus for each course to the department office each semester.

Course Identifiers: Bulletin title, curricular designation and number, semester and year

Instructor Identifiers: Name, office location and office hours (including virtual office hours), phone number(s), online and web addresses for course materials, email address (and frequency with which you respond to messages)

Course description: as printed in the Bulletin including course prerequisites

Course Objectives, Goals or Learning Outcomes: What will students know and be able to do at the end of the semester? How does the course support knowledge in general education or the major, the program, or other requirements?

Materials Required and Recommended: texts, workbooks, supplements, equipment, software and hardware, reserved readings. Note where materials can be rented, purchased, or borrowed, and where students can find course materials (libraries, MyGateway, web links). Guide students to understand which purchases are essential and which are recommended.

Semester Schedule of Topics (always indicate that the schedule is "subject to modification"): Identify the semester, year, and reference number for the course. Indicate for each week (or class) of the semester the specific readings and assignments that are due. Include when labs are scheduled, reports and requirements are due, when films and field experiences are scheduled, when tests and exams will be given.

Important Dates for the Semester: In the semester schedule insert dates students can use as benchmarks to assess their enrollment decision and progress: last day to enroll, last day to withdraw from a course without receiving a grade, mid-semester, last day to withdraw from a course with a grade.

Instructional Strategies: indicate the instructional formats (lecture, discussion, demonstration, lab, seminar, service-learning, online, on campus, etc.) and supports you intend to use so that students make plans to participate, work in groups, work online, schedule practica, labs, and projects.

Evaluation Criteria and Grading: List the value of all requirements, assignments and projects, tests and exams, attendance and participation relative to the course total. Include a grading scale showing how points earned during the semester will be assigned letter grades.

Faculty Expectations and Policies: Send clear messages to students about your expectations, requirements, and standards for coursework and behavior. Consider developing common policies regarding academic honesty, civility, disability access, and sending messages about campus procedures that appear in all the syllabi of a multi-section course or that appear in all syllabi from a department. Include a section that alerts students to Campus Safety procedures. Create your own or modify, adapt, or use the messages below:

Enumerate policies about attendance, late work, missed deadlines and tests, make-up opportunities, delayed grades. Examples are:

Enumerate expectations for submitting required work:

Academic Honesty:

Plagiarism is the use of another person�s words or ideas without crediting that person. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated and may lead to failure on an assignment, in the class, and dismissal from the University. View this campus policy here:

UMSL Academic Dishonest Policy

Civility:

Access, Disability, Communication:

Campus Safety

All members of the UMSL community are invited to register their cell and office phone numbers to receive notification of any pending danger on campus. Find instructions here:

The Center for Teaching and Learning's website includes sample statements of civility, academic honesty, and disability access. These are available for faculty to adapt at the following link: Resources for Teaching

Some departments expect all syllabi to include standard statements of these policies in each course syllabus. Be certain to check whether this is the case in your program.