The Course Syllabus
UBC requires all instructors to inform students about the requirements, standards, objectives and evaluation procedures at the beginning of each course they teach. This information needs to be provided to students in the form of a syllabus at the beginning of the course either in print or digital format. If a change needs to be made, it must be announced well in advance of the change and confirmed in writing, if possible.
The syllabus is a public document that serves different audiences. For example, it is the official document that facilitates the transfer of course credits should a student enroll in a program at another institution. At the program level, the syllabus helps provide transparency and consistency so that regardless of section or instructor, students can expect to gain similar knowledge and skills for a particular course. For instructors, the syllabus serves many purposes, including outlining the course and providing a space to share teaching-related UBC Policies and resources and course expectations. For students, the syllabus specifies required components of a course as well as the objectives and the grading system used to assess learning.
UBC Okanagan does not currently have a syllabus policy or template approved at the Senate level. However, Curriculum MAP is a UBC platform that offers a Syllabus Generator inclusive of best practices and policies relevant to syllabi. For example, grading practices, in-term academic concessions for missed assignments or tests, academic misconduct, among others. The site works independently from Canvas (UBC’s learning management system) or the CWL (campus-wide login). The syllabus you create using the generator will only be accessible by you unless you choose to collaborate or share a copy.
Additionally, your Faculty/School or academic department may also have a list of syllabus requirements, policies and templates.
For a general checklist of recommendations for your syllabus, scroll down to Resources to find a Syllabus Checklist.
In addition to the language around policies, statements, and resources available through the Syllabus Generator in the UBC Curriculum MAP website, we encourage instructors to consider including additional information in their course syllabi provided below. These are not mandatory statements, but if included, would help to ensure consistency in our course syllabi across campus and provide clarity for students. Please modify the statements as necessary to be consistent with your course structure and requirements. Regardless of how the language is adapted for your particular course needs, it is important that all expectations are stated at the beginning of the course and are revisited prior to each assessment.
Suggested syllabus language for academic integrity issues
The following statements pertain to academic misconduct issues in an online learning environment. These statements may or may not pertain to your course or assessment strategies directly, and are intended for you to select those that are most relevant. All language is suggested and can be modified as the instructor deems appropriate.
Examinations can be conducted either in closed-book or open-book formats. Regardless of the format chosen by the instructor, students are expected to abide by UBC’s rules and regulations for academic integrity. Instructors are encouraged to share the following link with their students: Student Start – Academic Integrity at UBC
Suggested Language for Closed-Book Examinations
The examinations in this course are all closed-book, so you are NOT permitted to access any of the course materials, including your notes, during the exam. You are NOT to use any search engines or other programs except for the program required to complete the exam. You are also NOT to communicate with anyone about the exam during the scheduled write time or after the examination – you are to work independently. Communication with other students (written, text, verbal, etc.) is not permitted and will constitute Academic Misconduct. If you violate these conditions you have engaged in Academic Misconduct and will be subject to the consequences articulated in the Academic Integrity section [insert link in your course syllabus].
Students will be asked to acknowledge the academic integrity pledge prior to completing the examination. [include this statement only if you intend to use this pledge] & [instructors, please include a reference to the software being used (i.e., Respondus Lockdown Browser, Proctorio) and exam invigilation procedures]
Suggested Language for Open-Book Examinations
The examinations in this course are all open-book, i.e., you have access to any of the course materials, including your notes, during the exam. It is important to note, however, that you will likely not have enough time to look up the majority of the answers, so preparation prior to the examination is beneficial. You should prepare for these exams as if you had to do them under supervised conditions so studying for them will be necessary if you wish to succeed.
You are NOT allowed to discuss questions and answers with your peers. You are/are NOT allowed to use any search engines [instructors, please include reference to the software being used (i.e., Respondus Lockdown Browser, Proctorio) and exam invigilation procedures]
For all examinations, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that any technical issues are reported to the instructor immediately. If you cannot connect with the instructor, please document the issue or technical concern via a screenshot. This is the only circumstance in which it is appropriate to document (i.e., screenshot) exam material. Failing to report technical issues in a timely manner, may result in the issue not being resolved and may negatively impact your grade.
For this course, some of your assignments will be handed in via Turnitin.com [replace Turnitin.com with whatever tool you are using]. This service ensures academic integrity by scanning submitted papers for material copied from a variety of sources (including public websites, paper mills, essays/assignments previously submitted and published works, such as journals and books). For more information on the UBC policy regarding the Turnitin service, see the webpage at Turnitin | Teaching with Technology
Suggested components to include for online learning: Technical issues
The following statements pertain to technical issues in an online learning environment that may impact academic integrity indirectly. These statements may or may not pertain to your course directly. All language is suggested and can be modified as the instructor deems appropriate. Providing information related to technical issues will help students maintain academic integrity and succeed in their studies.
In order to engage fully with this course online, students are required to have a laptop or desktop computer and a stable Internet connection. Students are encouraged to check out this link: https://keeplearning.ubc.ca/setting-up/
This course will have a blended form of learning (i.e., both synchronous and asynchronous). While the lectures will be pre-recorded and posted (asynchronous), this course also includes live activities (synchronous; assigned and moderated virtual discussion groups) which will require a microphone; a camera (recommended) and most importantly, a quiet space.
Examinations will be completed online during the scheduled course time [e.g., XX PST]. If there are graded assessments in the synchronous components of the course, students are encouraged to send their instructor an email stating that they are not able to attend the live sessions (e.g., because of time zone conflictions) to see if possible alternative arrangements can be made. Should you have any questions please feel free to email the instructor at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
My office hours are [e.g., Monday and Wednesday between 10:00 am – 11:00 am, PST.] The teaching assistants will have their office hours [e.g., Thursday 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PST]. All office hours will take place with Collaborate Ultra (or Zoom) [if you plan to use Zoom, please use the same Zoom ID throughout the term].
You are encouraged to use your camera, when asking questions, but it is not required. If you have any questions outside of office hours, please email the instructor. All emails will be responded to within [24 hours]. If you do not hear back from the instructor, please do not hesitate to send the instructor a reminder email.
There are a number of supports on campus to assist students with technical issues. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the software required for their courses. Instructors are also encouraged to have contact information for technical support available, should students reach out for support. For example, the Student Learning Hub’s technical support [https://students.ok.ubc.ca/academic-success/learning-hub/tech-support-for-online-learning/] and MS Teams [https://it.ubc.ca/services/email-voice-internet/microsoft-teams].”
Suggested learner-centered language
There are ways that you can use language in your syllabus to set a welcoming tone and foster a positive dynamic between you and your students. Rhetoric and tone are aspects to consider in creating a learner-centered syllabus. To learn more about the learner-centered syllabus and visual syllabus, watch this recording of a CTL Course Design Workshop and review the slides here.
Also, use this Learner-Centered Syllabus Rubric to explore where you can start to incorporate content and update formatting to make your syllabus more responsive to the questions/needs of learners. The Rubric also provides suggestions for extending beyond the basics when you are ready.
UBC Okanagan Senate
- Resources to Support Student Success
- Academic Integrity Statement
- Academic Concession
Centre for Teaching & Learning
- Learner Centred Syllabus Rubric
- Syllabus Checklist
- Course Checklist
- Canvas Course Template (to help organize your course content)
- Canvas Course Checklist (to ready your course for start of term)
- CTLT Learner-Centered Syllabus Toolkit
- UBC Wellbeing Checklist for Creating Student-Centered Syllabi
- Assessment Strategies to Reduce Academic Misconduct