A detailed syllabus helps both instructors and students. Syllabi should contain the following information:
1. Course Information
- Course number and section
- Course name
- Hours of credit
- Pre-requisites or co-requisites as listed in university catalogue
- If on-campus, classroom location and room number
- Department, College, University
2. Instructor Information
- Instructor name
- Instructor contact: office, phone, VSU email address
- Instructor office hours (follow departmental policy for the expected number of office hours per week) or online availability
3. Course Description
- Course description as printed in university catalogue
- Required texts, resources, and materials
- Required out-of-class activities (field trips, projects, service learning, etc.)
4. Standards, Goals, Objectives, or Outcomes
- Institutional standards, goals, objectives, or outcomes: such as general education outcomes (http://www.valdosta.edu/gec/ProposedNewLearningOutcomes.shtml) , departmental learning outcomes (listed in the university catalogue), college-level standards, or professional organization standards
- Course objectives or outcomes: aligned with the institutional standards above and expressed as expectations of what students will be able to do by the end of the course to demonstrate evidence of their understanding or ability.
5. Assignments (explicitly aligned with the goals, objectives, or outcomes)
- general description of the assignments
- due dates
- policies for missed assignments, make-up assignments, late assignments, and/or extra credit
Recommended Syllabus Statement:
Make-Up Work: Make up work or alternative assignments will be determined by the professor and at the sole discretion of the professor. These assignments may or may not exactly duplicate the original and will not entitle other students to the same alternatives since they may not have experienced the same situations.
Detailed information for individual assignments may be provided separately.
6. Assessment or Evaluation Policy
- explanation of how much each assignment contributes to the overall grade for the class
- explanation of how grades are assigned
- grading standards
7. Schedule of Activities or Assignments
- Include due dates for all activities but also include a statement that schedule is tentative and may be subject to change
- Include the university-scheduled final exam time
- Include a statement about the administration of online Student Opinion of Instruction (SOI):
Sample SOI Syllabus statement
At the end of the term, all students will be expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI) that will be available on BANNER. Students will receive an email notification through their VSU email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of the term). SOI responses are anonymous to instructors/administrators. Instructors will be able to view only a summary of all responses two weeks after they have submitted final grades. While instructors will not be able to view individual responses or to access any of the data until after final grade submission, they will be able to see which students have or have not completed their SOIs, and student compliance may be considered in the determination of the final course grade. These compliance and non-compliance reports will not be available once instructors are able to access the results. Complete information about the SOIs, including how to access the survey and a timetable for this term is available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/OnlineSOIPilotProject.shtml.
8. Classroom Policies
- Attendance and tardiness: Instructors should provide a clear policy statement of how absences and late arrivals will be considered as part of a student’s class performance. Any absence policy should conform to the university policy.
University Attendance Policy from the VSU catalogue:
“The University expects that all students shall regularly attend all scheduled class meetings held for instruction or examination. . . . It is recognized that class attendance is essentially a matter between students and their instructors. Instructors must explain their absence policy in the course syllabus. All students are held responsible for knowing the specific attendance requirements as prescribed by their instructors and for the satisfactory make-up work missed by absences. When students are to be absent from class, they should immediately contact the instructor. A student who misses more than 20% of the scheduled classes of a course will be subject to receive a failing grade in the course.”
- Accommodations Statement: Instructors should provide a statement in the syllabus on how students should proceed in order to receive classroom accommodations because of a documented disability.
From VSU’s Access Office http://www.valdosta.edu/access/facresources.shtml):
Students with disabilities who are experiencing barriers in this course may contact the Access Office for assistance in determining and implementing reasonable accommodations. The Access Office is located in Farber Hall. The phone numbers are 229-245-2498 (V), 229-375-5871 (VP) and 229-219-1348 (TTY). For more information, please visit http://www.valdosta.edu/access/ or email: email@example.com.
Academic Integrity: Instructors should provide a statement explaining their expectations for academic integrity and detailing how incidents of cheating and plagiarism will be handled in the class.
From VSU’s Academic Integrity Code (the full code is available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/AcademicHonestyPoliciesandProcedures.shtml : "Academic integrity is the responsibility of all VSU faculty and students. Faculty members should promote academic integrity by including clear instruction on the components of academic integrity and clearly defining the penalties for cheating and plagiarism in their course syllabi. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Academic Integrity Policy as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and the faculty members’ syllabi. All students are expected to do their own work and to uphold a high standard of academic ethics."
Full information on Academic Honesty at VSU is available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/AcademicHonestyatVSU.shtml .
Beginning in Fall 2010, SafeAssign, a plagiarism prevention tool, will be available to all faculty through BlazeVIEW, VSU’s online course management system. All faculty should include the following announcement in their syllabi: “By taking this course, you agree that all required course work may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to SafeAssign, a tool within BlazeVIEW. For more information on the use of SafeAssign at VSU see SafeAssign for Students at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/SafeAssignforStudents.shtml .
- Classroom demeanor or conduct: Instructors should provide their expectations of students’ behavior in the classroom and/or in situations outside of class or in online environments (i.e., use of electronic devices, classroom courtesy, etc.).
- Communication: Instructors should specify the appropriate channels for official class communication. All VSU-related correspondence should be conducted via VSU email addresses for both student and instructor. Grades should only be discussed within a password-protected environment such as BlazeVIEW.
9. Additional Information (at instructor’s discretion)
- Expectations for competencies such as writing, technology skills, or performance
- Instructional philosophy
- Strategies used to support learning
- The Student Success Center: The Student Success Center (SSC) provides free peer tutoring in core courses, the top four of which are math, writing, Spanish, and biology/chemistry. It also offers time management and study skills workshops as well as provides free professional academic advising and on-campus job information in one location: Langdale Residence Hall. Help is available to all VSU students. Call 333-7570 to make an appointment, or visit the website: www.valdosta.edu/ssc.
- Odum Library provides a variety of services to assist classroom instruction, including library instruction, course reserves, and interlibrary loan. Please see http://www.valdosta.edu/library/services/faculty.shtml for further information.