Documentation:Guide to Teaching for New Faculty at UBC/Resource 4: Syllabus Checklist

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See here for the requirements for the UBC-V syllabus, as outlined in the Senate Policy on "Content and Distribution of Course Syllabi". An optional template can be found here.

The syllabus is your opportunity to inform your students about your vision for the course ahead; what the course will focus on, why things are important, where you will take them during the course, what you hope they will learn along the way, and what you will do to help them learn.

There are two schools of thought on what represents the “perfect” syllabus. Some instructors advocate a one-pager that highlights and sells the course, and provides a conceptual framework to aid student learning, while others advocate a multi-page “contract” that describes in detail schedules and topics, goals and objectives, pre/co-requisites, assignments, grading criteria, applicable institutional policy, teaching philosophy/ instructional approaches and your own course policies (late penalties, attendance, etc.).

Both approaches work, so you are welcome to pick the one that is right for you. If you select the shorter syllabus style, you will need to present the additional material in supporting documents. The following is typically contained in a syllabus and/or supporting documents:

General Course Information (see the UBC-V policy for details of requirements)

  • Course Description
  • Goals and objectives
  • Schedule
  • Course requirements (pre/co-requisites)
  • Instructor contact information
    • Office hours (location/time)
    • Additional availability
    • Email/Phone
  • TA contact information
  • Textbook information/list of readings/websites/additional resources

Classroom Information

  • Instructional strategy/teaching philosophy/rationales
  • List of topics and events
  • Ground rules/expectations

Evaluation Information

  • Assignments and due dates
  • Examination dates
  • Grading procedures, criteria and rubrics
  • Policies (attendance, late work, academic integrity, sickness, disabilities, drop dates)

Additional Information

  • What you expect of your students (time and effort)
  • What the students can expect of the instructor: here you could mention how you intend to manage expectations for 24-7 availability
  • Ways to succeed in the course
  • Campus support services

It is a great idea to include two empty contact information blocks at the end of the syllabus and give the students the opportunity in the first class to turn to a neighbour, introduce themselves and trade contact information.

Suggested Readings

  • O’Brien Judith. G., Millis, B.J., Cohen, M.W. The Course Syllabus – A Learning-Centered Approach. Jossey-Bass, 2008. link={{{link}}} [{{{link}}} Permalink]
  • Nilson, Linda B. The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course. Jossey-Bass, 2007. link={{{link}}} [{{{link}}} Permalink]