Creating a Syllabus
The course syllabus helps set the tone for a productive semester and orients your students to how your class will unfold. Recent scholarship on the syllabus has suggested that creating a learner-centered syllabus (think “compact” not “contract” improves student learning and perceptions of teaching in the course (Herney, 2014).
Clearly articulate your expectations regarding homework, behavior, attendance, and any other information relevant to creating the classroom culture best suited for your course. Your specific department may have special requirements for your course and its syllabus, so check with the department website before you begin creating a syllabus.
Guidelines for Specific Syllabus Components
- Course Title: This is the title that appears in the Bulletin and on student transcripts. The length of the title is limited to 30 characters. The abbreviated title should be abbreviated in a way that the course title is clear to the average user (a potential employer reading a student transcript). Use Roman numerals to designate first, second, third course in the sequence.
- Credit Hours/ Prerequisites, if applicable: Define the number of hours of lecture. (50 minutes per credit hour for 15 weeks or 750 minutes for one credit hour).Indicate the number of contact hours per credit of labs and studios per week. The number of contact hours represent the number of scheduled hours per week associated with the specific activity. Contact hours do not necessarily equal credit hours. For undergraduate course, the Academic Standards Committee has set the relationship between contact and credit hours as follows: LEC 1:1; LAB 2:1 this is the minimum. In some disciplines it is 3:1 or 4:1.The syllabus should also indicate whether the course has prerequisites (course(s) that must be taken in advance of the course); 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).
- Texts or Major Resources: Include full citation for textbooks including publication year, and/or List appropriate potential resource materials (including journal titles) that could be assigned as required readings or to complete class assignments. Listing of texts or major resources is not required for internship courses.
- Course Description: Provide description as would be stated in the Bulletin. The description should indicate course content and not outcomes of the course. It should be brief. Term information should not be included in the description. Indicate whether credit will not be given for both Course 1 and Course 2″ if applicable to the course. This statement is important when there is a distance education version of a course, for example. Interdepartmental courses are co-listed in the Bulletin.
- Course Objectives: Include sufficient objectives to demonstrate breadth of course.
- Course Content: Provide sufficient outline to convey subject matter. Outline can be expressed in conjunction with the schedule. Provide weekly schedule of meetings (to be used to determine if credit hours requested are appropriate) for all 15 weeks of the semester. Identify approximate exam days/weeks, including the final exam. Explain how the final exam period will be used if another final activity, such as presentations or reports, will make use of the time. For example, in studio courses, final projects can be presented in the final exam time and in lieu of a written examination. Follow the University policy stated in the Student Policy eHandbook for final exams:Final exams should be administered during the hours specified in the semester examination schedule. Due to the specialized nature of many small upper-level undergraduate courses and graduate courses, deviation from this supplement is sometimes warranted. Such deviations are to be approved by the Office of the Provost and rescheduled examinations must not interfere with the scheduled academic activities of the students involved. The professor teaching a 6000-level course or higher shall determine whether a formal final examination is appropriate.
- Course Requirements/Evaluation: Clarify expectations of student performance, such as papers, quizzes, examinations, presentations, class participation, and field experiences. If the course requires a project as a means of evaluation, a description should be included. List relative weights for tests, assignments, class participation, unannounced quizzes, and other components that contribute to the final grade. Identify grading scale used and how it would be applied. Explain how class participation, if included in evaluation, is to be graded. Explain the criteria for attaining a grade of AS@ when an S-U scale is used.
- Course Policy Statements: Include policy statements on class-related matters, such as unannounced quizzes, class attendance/absences, and class participation. The following is an appropriate absence and make-up policy: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, the 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. Please see the Student Policy eHandbook for more information on excused absences (http://www.auburn.edu/student_info/student_policies/).Make-Up Policy: Arrangement to make up missed major examination (e.g. hour exams, mid-term exams) due to properly authorized excused absences must be initiated by the student within one week from the end of the period of the 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 that the student initiates arrangements for it. Except in extraordinary circumstances, 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 specified by instructor).
- Academic Honesty Statement: Include a statement on academic honesty which follows the Academic Honesty Code outlined in the Student Policy eHandbook. The following is an example of an honesty statement. Faculty may wish to develop their own statement following policy guidelines outlined with the SGA Code of Laws. Academic Honesty Policy: 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.
- Students with Disabilities Statement: Include a statement about students who may need special accommodation. The following is an example of appropriate wording for a disabilities statement. Disability Accommodations: “Students who need accommodations are asked to electronically submit their approved accommodations through AU Access and to arrange a meeting during office hours the first week of classes, or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed immediately. If you have a conflict with my office hours, an alternate time can be arranged. To set up this meeting, please contact me by e-mail. 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).”
Last modified: October 1, 2018