Jump to: Standard Policies | Other Useful Items
Purpose and Value
A syllabus is an academic agreement that establishes the academic relationship between instructors and students in a course, used as the basis
for communication and accountability. It communicates course expectations, organizes information, sets the tone for the learning environment,
maps the path of student learning, and provides accountability. A carefully constructed syllabus helps clarify course goals and learning
objectives, assessment and evaluation standards, grading policies, and expectations for student and faculty behavior.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Criteria for Accreditation require that a syllabus be placed on file in the department for each course taught and that students must be provided written information about the goals and requirements of each course, the nature of the course content, and the methods of evaluation to be employed.
- Every regularly scheduled academic course, regardless of delivery method (e.g., traditional, media-enhanced, lab, or web), must have a
written syllabus distributed to students enrolled in the course. The syllabus should be posted electronically in the course management
site for the class and be available to students by the first day of class.
- A syllabus for each course taught each semester during each academic year (Summer, Fall, Spring) shall be placed on file in the
department offering the course. Only one syllabus is required for course offerings with multiple sections. Department syllabi should be
updated each academic year. Departments are responsible for maintaining these files.
- Instructors should avoid making major changes to a syllabus once classes have begun, particularly those concerning changes affecting
attendance standards, grading standards, or performance measures. However, since it is impossible to cover
all contingencies in the planning stages of a course, students should be advised that instructors may need to make changes as the semester
progresses. Any changes to a syllabus should be for compelling reasons and follow these guidelines:
- Fair and adequate notice is given to enrolled students either by email, in writing, or through online publishing
- Modifications to the syllabus are not arbitrary or capricious.
- Students are not unfairly disadvantaged by mid semester changes to grading standards, attendance standards, or performance measures.
Efforts should be made to avoid penalizing students as a result of any necessary changes.
The required components of the syllabus are listed below, with optional items noted:
- COURSE INFORMATION: prefix, number, section, title, credit hours
- FKL statement - All courses approved for the Foundations of Knowledge and Learning Core Curriculum should include the following
statement on the course syllabus
- This course is part of the University of South Florida's Foundations of Knowledge and Learning (FKL) Core Curriculum. It is
certified for [Identify Core Area(s)] and for the following dimensions: [List approved dimensions.] Students enrolled in this
course will be asked to participate in the USF General Education assessment effort. This might involve submitting copies of
writing assignments for review, responding to surveys, or participating in other measurements designed to assess the FKL Core
Curriculum learning outcomes.
- LOGISTICS: semester, meeting time, meeting place, delivery method
- INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION: name, office location, office hours, phone number, email, department, college, name of teaching assistant(s),
contact information, office hours
- COURSE DESCRIPTION: catalog description (including prerequisites and corequisites); expanded description (optional); university-wide requirements
fulfilled by the course (e.g., General Education, Gordon Rule, Capstone Experience, Writing Intensive); explain role of teaching
assistant(s)(optional); explain role of Blackboard or other course maintenance and instructional technologies.
- COURSE OBJECTIVES: list the knowledge, skills and understandings that will be taught in this course.
- STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: list the knowledge, skills and understandings that students should be able to demonstrate upon completion of
the course (with action verbs).
- READINGS: list required textbooks including basic publishing information, required access to websites (e.g., publisher's website),
and required software; indicate if additional readings will be available in course packets, over Blackboard, or online.
- GRADING POLICY: grading scale; item distribution contributing to final grade; whether +/- grades will be used; how students can track
their grades/performance; S/U options; circumstances for assigning an "I" grade; late work and make-up policy; statement regarding extra
credit; use of SafeAssign or other plagiarism detection system (optional).
- EVALUATION ITEMS: describe the nature and purpose of each type of item on which grades will be based: papers, projects, exams, quizzes,
journals, portfolios, performances, problem sets, etc.
- ATTENDANCE POLICY: explanation of instructor's attendance policy, including policy regarding frequency of web access for web-based
courses and any effect on grades. Include link to General Attendance policy in current catalog.
- COURSE OUTLINE/SCHEDULE: include topics, readings, assignments, scheduled exams, events, and field trips by date.
- UNIVERSITY POLICIES: see Standard Policies
Information regarding these policies are standard items, many of which can be included as a hyperlink (www.ugs.usf.edu/ugc/standard_policies.htm) if so desired. Some are only necessary if
- Final Examinations Policy - all final examinations are to be scheduled in accordance with the University's final examination policy.
- General Attendance Policy
- Early Notification Requirement for Observed Religious Days - Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to the observation of a major
religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, at the beginning of the term.
- Academic Integrity of Students
- Disruption of the Academic Process
- Student Academic Grievance Procedures
- Students with Disabilities - Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS)
in order to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business
days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request.
- In order to comply with privacy laws, students are not required to include personal identifying information, such as your name, in the body of the document.
Submitting to the SafeAssign Global Reference Database allows papers from other institutions to be checked against your paper to protect the originality of
your work across institutions. Please follow your instructor's instructions carefully regarding what identifying information to include.
- Blackboard Quick Reference Guide - Submitting SafeAssignments
- University Emergency Policy
- In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue
delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Blackboard, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or
an alternate schedule. It's the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for course specific
communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.
Other Useful Items
- Guidelines detailing how students are to prepare for and behave during a class session
- Student's responsibility for contacting technical assistance in the case of web-based courses
- Instructor's teaching philosophy
- Permission/non-permission to sell notes or tapes of class lectures
- Resources for further study
- Description of special procedures or rules for this class (e.g., laboratory rules and procedures)
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