Online Syllabus Template
This syllabus template includes general required and recommended information for course syllabi for Auburn University. Please review specific requirements and recommendations established by your department. You may use all (or parts) of this template as needed to craft your own syllabus. If you already have a syllabus prepared, you may use this document as a checklist to ensure you have included all pertinent information and communicated it effectively to the level of student taking your course.
Be sure to read these annotations for “Best Practice” tips and ideas.
Course Number and Title: This is the title that appears in the Bulletin and on student transcripts. The abbreviated title should be abbreviated in a way that is clear to the average user (a potential employer reading a student transcript). Use Roman numerals to designate first, second and third course in a sequence.
Your Name and Contact Information:
- Office number and building
- Office telephone number
- Email address
- Virtual Office Hours (and what technology to use to have them)
- A statement about when and how quickly you respond to email
It is important to get students to contain their correspondence to Canvas when possible, but you need to include your email to contact you if they are struggling to get into Canvas and have questions for you. Here is a link: providing a brief, six step guide to proper student email etiquette that you can share with your students.
Course Description: This can be the brief description from the Bulletin, or you can write a longer description. The description should indicate course content and not outcomes of the course. The goals are not only to ensure that students know what the course is about but also to clarify its rigor and scope.
Here you want to be sure that students recognize that the course is a fully online course in addition to the traditional description.
Credit Hours: Define the number of hours of the course. Online time is flexible, so correlating this to a face to face in workload time is what is necessary here.
Course Prerequisites: Indicate whether the course has prerequisites, co-requisites (course(s) that must be taken the same semester) or prerequisites with concurrency (course(s) that may be taken before or during the same semester with the course.)
Outcomes and Objectives
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): These are clear statements of what you expect students to learn in your course. SLOs are often presented as a bulleted list of 4-8 comprehensive learning goals. These goals specify what students should KNOW by the end of the course and what students should be able to DO by the end of the course. An effective SLO will specify an action by the student (not the instructor) that is observable and measurable, and therefore, assessable by the instructor.
It is helpful to use an action verb that describes exactly what you want your students to be able to do. Here is a list of Bloom’s Taxonomy action verbs to help determine how you want your students to be able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
Good SLO: Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills (action) by applying X knowledge from the course (observable) to Y contexts in order to solve Z problems (measurable).
For a quick guide to writing effective outcomes, check out this resource from the University of Illinois.
Objectives: While outcomes describe the end-result learning that students must demonstrate and are framed from a student’s perspective, objectives focus on course content to describe the means by which students will achieve the outcomes and are framed from an instructor’s perspective. Objectives specify topics to be covered, teaching philosophy and teaching style. They use broad verbs: study, know, appreciate, enjoy, believe grasp, etc., as compared to the more specific verbs of outcomes: write, identify, calculate, compare, etc.
Still confused about the difference between Outcomes & Objectives? ASU offers here a brief, clear description of the difference and why it matters.
Examples of Objectives:
In this course, students will:
- Gain an understanding of the historical origins of art history.
- Read and analyze seminal works in the 20th Century American literature.
- Participate in Team Based Learning.
- Recognize the importance of ethics in decision making.
(Examples are taken from ASU Provost’s handout on Goals, Objectives and Outcomes).
Core Curriculum SLOs
Auburn University has identified 11 Student Learning Outcomes of the Core Curriculum. These “represent the academic skills and principles we want our students to know and/or be able to do as they progress towards completing their educational goals.” Relevant SLOs and their measures must be listed on undergraduate course syllabi for all Core Curriculum classes, and the rubrics must be included in the syllabi. Find the list of SLOs and a link to their measures here. Example SLO’s are below.
This course satisfies SLO 1: Students will be information literate. It is assessed by the following measures:
- Determine the nature and extent of information needed.
- Access information effectively and efficiently.
- Evaluate information critically.
- Use information to accomplish a specific purpose.
- Understand the economic, legal, and social issues associated with using information.
Once you’ve finished putting your syllabus together, you may wish to use this rubric from the University of Virginia as a tool for reviewing your course syllabus.
It is important to explain that the course is fully online and what your specific online teaching style is since courses can vary greatly. This is a good way to ensure students understand right up front what your expectations are for them in this course.
Example text: This will be an asynchronous course delivered online.it will include the use of a discussion board that will be monitored by the instructor. The course will also include quizzes over the required readings in your textbook. There will also be a final project that will pull together the skills and information gained throughout the course.
The course is not self-paced and you will need to ensure you keep up with the pace of the course. It is laid out in modules to help with the organization of the information and assignments as you move through the course with your fellow participants. It will require you to engage with students and with me, your instructor, as we progress throughout the semester. I look forward to the positive community this will build for everyone.
This is an online class. All of the class interactions will take place within the LMS system and any of the software utilized or linked within the course. You will be expected to log into the course on a regular basis and keep up with assignments and the other students in the course as it is not a self-paced course.
If you have any problems logging into the course, be sure to contact OIT and alert me by regular email or voicemail (text, etc depending on your desires as an instructor).
This is the plan of how the course will work and what are the components.
All required readings will be posted inside the course in PDF format or linked to websites (no required text) be sure Adobe Reader and browsers are up to date on your computer
- Ensure you have a working computer and reliable internet connection
- This course will include discussions. Be sure to follow basic grammatical rules: no text slang allowed and all comments should be constructive, no personal attacks or derogatory comments permitted. Results from such conduct are a zero for discussion posting grade.
- All paper submissions need to follow these guideline: (whatever requirements you want, and are in xyz format)
Be sure you have installed and have access to all of the software required to participate in the course and complete your assignments (List software here: Canvas, PDF reader, Panopto, Padlet, etc)
It is also helpful to explain how they will use the technologies. Consider linking to how-to tutorials and basic explanations of the ins and outs of the required software. Be sure you are comfortable using any technology you require the students to use.
Assignments, Grading and Class Materials
List of assignments and a brief overview of each:
Grading and Evaluation Procedures:
- The grading system (for example, “90-100 is an A”) and the method of determining the grade (points for assignments?)
- The relative importance of assigned papers, quizzes, exams and class participation (discussion, etc) in determining the final grade.
- The approximate schedule for examinations (other than the final).
- A reminder that students may withdraw without grade penalty until the 15th class day, and until mid-semester (although a W will appear on the student’s transcript if the student withdraws between the 16th and 36th class day).
- A reminder that students who withdraw from the course between the 6th class day and the 15th class day will pay a course drop fee of $100.
- Describe your turnaround for grades and the type of feedback students will receive (written, audio, video, annotations, etc)
Include well defined descriptions of assignment requirements and how students can successfully complete them in the online environment:
Discussions will be one per week about various areas in teaching with technology. The initial posts will be on various technologies with discussions cover pro’s and con’s and a sharing of what the students find for examples of technology throughout the semester as well. Each discussion board will require one original post and two responses (in-depth) to other students (if the class is large you will be broken into groups). You can disagree with another student’s point of view, but any critique in the discussion board must be respectful and backed by legitimate points as to why. Swear words, disrespectful or hateful comments, and weak validations of points will not be tolerated in this course. Results from such conduct will result in a zero grade for the discussion posting grade. Please refer to these netiquette guidelines: http://www.studygs.net/netiquette.htm
Exploration Assignment “Sharing Links” will be a document that will submitted via dropbox to the instructor sharing the technologies the student found that could be shared for further research and then shared through a discussion board with their fellow classmates as well.
Quizzes (2) will cover some of the basic readings in the course that will be provided by the instructor via web links or PDF files. The quizzes will be hosted inside the LMS and they will be timed. No exams will be required for this course and proctoring will not be necessary.
Final Project will include specifying a useful technology, learning how to use the technology on a basic level, and demonstrating the use of the technology. This can be through a final project or a recording of an actual use of the technology and will need to be discussed in detail with the instructor.
It can be helpful to include rubrics for the assignments. It would be best to only make mention of the rubrics though and include the actual rubric in the course with the assignments instead of making for an extremely lengthy syllabus. Tell the students where to find them and how to best utilize them here.
List of assigned textbooks (include access to electronic version if available), readings, and any other required or recommended course materials:
To avoid confusion and costly mistakes, be sure to specify all relevant information about the acquisition of materials. If there is a particular edition of a textbook you want to students to use, be sure to highlight that information, provide a link, and/or include a thumbnail image of the cover of the edition you want them to purchase.
Include policy statements on class-related matters, such class attendance/absences and class participation. Here are some policies with examples.
- Policies on course participation, Submission of Late Written Assignments, Accommodations and Missed Examinations:
- (Time frames are flexible in online- but you may run into students missing a week of school for extreme circumstances or issues with computers.)
Excused Absences: Students are granted excused absences from class for the following reasons: Illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the student’s immediate family, death of a member of the student’s immediate family, trips for student organizations sponsored by an academic unit, trips for University classes, trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoena for a court appearance and religious holidays. Students who wish to have an excused absence from this class for any other reason must contact the instructor in advance of the absence to request permission. The instructor will weigh the merits of the request and render a decision. When feasible, the student must notify the instructor prior to the occurrence of any excused absences, but in no case shall such notification occur more than one week after the absence. Appropriate documentation for all excused absences is required.
- Make-Up Policy: Arrangements to make up missed major examination (e.g. hour exams, mid-term exams) due to properly authorized excused absences. Except in unusual circumstances, such as continued absence of the student or the advent of University holidays, a make-up exam will take place within two weeks from the time the student initiates arrangements for it. Except in extraordinary circumstance, no make-up exams will be arranged during the last three days before the final exam period begins. The format of the make-up exam will be (as specific by the instructor).
- A statement that students are responsible for checking class emails and Canvas, if you use email or Canvas:
- A statement assuring students of your willingness to comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Students who need accommodations are asked to electronically submit their approved accommodations through AU Access and to make an individual appointment with the instructor during the first week of classes – or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed immediately. If you have not established accommodations through the Office of Accessibility, but need accommodations, make an appointment with the Office of Accessibility, 1228 Haley Center, 844-2096 (V/TT). Office of Accessibility website
- A statement concerning Academic Honesty: All portions of the Auburn University Student Academic Honesty code (Title XII) found in the Student Policy eHandbook will apply to this class. All academic honesty violations or alleged violations of the SGA Code of Laws will be reported to the Office of the Provost, which will then refer the case to the Academic Honesty Committee.
- A statement concerning Behavior: Please refer to the Student Policy eHandbook
- Academic Honesty Code
- An Emergency Contingency statement: If normal class and/or lab activities are disrupted due to illness, emergency, or crisis situation (such as an H1N1 flu outbreak), the syllabus and other course plans and assignments may be modified to allow completion of the course. If this occurs, an addendum to your syllabus and/or course assignments will replace the original materials.
- For Core Curriculum courses, you must also include a statement about the Early Alert Grade Requirement: Early Alert Grade: You will receive an “Early Alert Grade” one week prior to midterm (31st class day). The Early Alert Grade represents your current performance on class work graded at that point in the semester. If your Early Alert Grade is a “D,” “F,” or “FA,” you will receive an email from the AU Retention Coordinator. Early Alert Grades can be viewed by logging into AU Access, opening the “tiger i” tab, selecting “Student Records” and opening the “Midterm Grades” window from the drop down box. If the grade appears inaccurate, please contact the instructor.
Notify students that they have control of the notification settings in their Canvas accounts. You might specify that they should set up their notifications to alert them when an Announcement is posted, an Assignment is due, a grade is released, etc. For students new to Canvas, save time (and emails) by sharing this link to a 7 minute “Getting Started with Canvas” video (and transcript) created by Canvas LMS.
Tentative 15-week Schedule:
- Due dates for reading assignments with a reminder that readings should be completed before the class discussion or lecture about them.
- Due dates for written work, including exams, papers, projects, and other assignments
- Exams should not be scheduled during the final three class days of the semester, nor should major papers be due so late in the semester that they cannot be returned to students by the last day of class.
- Time frames for exams are flexible in an online class. They are not predetermined by the university. Best practice for online learning is to give a week to complete exams. The exams can be timed and proctored if required.
This can be the groundwork for laying out modules in an online class if you need a starting point. Be sure the schedule for course matches the syllabus, and that due dates on assignments match those that are laid out in this schedule as well.
*Faculty assistance with exams:
Proctoring instructors can contact: Testing Center – Test Proctoring
Guidance in planning exams for online can be accessed by contacting: Betsy Gilbertson at email@example.com
Setting up an online exam is available through: Canvas Help Guides
Additional Resources (Be sure to utilize the resources available to you)
- To conduct research and look up specific information use your library access
- Auburn Libraries
- For assistance in writing papers please use the online tutoring option from Miller Writing Center Tutoring.
Added to Syllabi for Graduate Courses
Along with the information required for undergraduate course syllabi, graduate course syllabi should include a section titled “Justification for Graduate Credit.” Provide justification for graduate credit for course at the 6000-level or above. Graduate course should be progressively more advanced in academic content than undergraduate programs and should foster independent learning, according to SACS guidelines. For information, please visit the Provost’s website.
Last modified: July 15, 2020