The Course Syllabus
All instructors are required to inform students concerning the requirements, standards, objectives and evaluation procedures at the beginning of each course. This information must be conveyed to students either in writing or by written electronic means.
A syllabus is an outline of the rules by which a class is to be conducted. It holds the status of a legal contract. For this reason, you should spell out policies on any issues that bear on the students’s responsibilities. Providing this information to all students at the beginning of the course is not only fair to the students, but is essential to your interests in the event of a grade appeal.
Course documentation should be disseminated, on paper and/or on Canvas to students when the course begins. Changes to the syllabus, should they arise, need to be announced well in advance of the change and confirmed in writing if possible.
Documentation for courses taught must include the following information about the course:
- Instructor name, office location, contact information (telephone number and/or email address), office hours
- Required materials, including any texts and personal equipment such as clickers, calculators, software and related technology.
- Course prerequisites
- Attendance policy (for face-to-face classes)
- Special policies for the course, if any (e.g. a policy that collaboration is permitted on take home work; a policy that calculators can be used on exams; penalties for late work)
- A list of papers, exams, and other assessments that will contribute to the students’ grades, along with the exact or approximate value of those assessments, either in points or percent of total grade. Repeated small assessments, such as homework or quizzes, can be considered as one item in the list of assessments.
Other Useful Information (may be included at the instructor’s discretion).
- Projected schedule of assignments, quizzes, tests and other course work
- Information about how student work will be graded
- An exact or approximate grading scale, for courses that are graded on a point system
- Overall course objectives/expected learning outcomes for the specific course
- Policies regarding expected classroom behaviour (e.g. use of cell phones)
- Policies on academic honesty
- Required extracurricular activities; any special materials required for the class
- A statement is permissible indicating that: “the information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor”.