A clear syllabus can help both faculty members and students to avoid unwelcome surprises and to share a clear understanding of expectations. Below is a list of sample statements addressing a wide range of issues that may be relevant to your course, ranging from core issues like university policies that might apply to all courses to more class-specific issues such as fieldwork or service learning study. Feel free to use these statements as they are or to modify them for your purposes. If you would like to add or share a statement here, please email it to email@example.com.
Integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence are the core values that guide our conduct, performance, and decisions.
I will practice and defend academic and personal honesty.
I will cherish and honor learning as a fundamental purpose of my membership in the UCF community.
I will promote an open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual.
I will use my talents to enrich the human experience.
I will strive toward the highest standards of performance in any endeavor I undertake.
An Ethics statement shows the guidelines of which your class will be run. This statement discusses Plagiarism, cheating, honor and what is expected of students with respect to these aspects. The following two sample statements may be displayed:
As reflected in the UCF creed, integrity and scholarship are core values that should guide our conduct and decisions as members of the UCF community. Plagiarism and cheating contradict these values, and so are very serious academic offenses. Penalties can include a failing grade in an assignment or in the course, or suspension or expulsion from the university. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow the University’s Rules of Conduct (see http://www.osc.sdes.ucf.edu/).
UCF faculty support the UCF Creed. Integrity - practicing and defending academic and personal honesty - is the first tenet of the UCF Creed. This is in part a reflection of the second tenet, Scholarship: - I will cherish and honor learning as a fundamental purpose of membership in the UCF community. - Course assignments and tests are designed to have educational value; the process of preparing for and completing these exercises will help improve your skills and knowledge. Material presented to satisfy course requirements is therefore expected to be the result of your own original scholarly efforts.
Plagiarism and cheating - presenting another’s ideas, arguments, words or images as your own, using unauthorized material, or giving or accepting unauthorized help on assignments or tests - contradict the educational value of these exercises. Students who attempt to obtain unearned academic credentials that do not reflect their skills and knowledge can also undermine the value of the UCF degrees earned by their more honest peers.
The Academic Integrity/Plagiarism Statement elaborates on the line between seeking help from other sources or students, and cheating, and the consequences for plagiarism. This statement will help define your attitudes towards cheating, and helps clarify further student expectations in the class. The following is a sample Plagiarism Statement:
Plagiarism and Cheating of any kind on an examination, quiz, or assignment will result at least in an "F" for that assignment (and may, depending on the severity of the case, lead to an "F" for the entire course) and may be subject to appropriate referral to the Office of Student Conduct for further action. See the UCF Golden Rule for further information. I will assume for this course that you will adhere to the academic creed of this University and will maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. In other words, don't cheat by giving answers to others or taking them from anyone else. I will also adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity, so please do not ask me to change (or expect me to change) your grade illegitimately or to bend or break rules for one person that will not apply to everyone.
The following is a second sample Plagiarism Statement:
Many incidents of plagiarism result from students’ lack of understanding about what constitutes plagiarism. However, you are expected to familiarize yourself with UCF’s policy on plagiarism. All work you submit must be your own scholarly and creative efforts. UCF’s Golden Rule defines plagiarism as follows: “whereby another’s work is used or appropriated without any indication of the source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student’s own.”
Similarly, please see an Ethics statement.
If your course is using Turnitin.com as a form of detecting plagiarism, students would find this information useful for checking their own work. Information that may be included is information related to using turnitin.com, such as specific login accounts available to them.
The following is a sample Turnitin.com statement:
In this course we will utilize turnitin.com, an automated system which instructors can use to quickly and easily compare each student's assignment with billions of web sites, as well as an enormous database of student papers that grows with each submission. Accordingly, you will be expected to submit all assignments in both hard copy and electronic format. After the assignment is processed, as an instructor I receive a report from turnitin.com that states if and how another author’s work was used in the assignment. For a more detailed look at this process, visit http://www.turnitin.com.
For those classes where you want to selectively use Turnitin.com, here is a sample syllabus statement:
In this course we may utilize turnitin.com, an automated system which instructors can use to quickly and easily compare each student's assignment with billions of web sites, as well as an enormous database of student papers that grows with each submission. Accordingly, you may be expected to submit assignments in both hard copy and electronic format. After the assignment is processed, as an instructor I receive a report from turnitin.com that states if and how another author�s work was used in the assignment. For a more detailed look at this process, visit http://www.turnitin.com.
UCF faculty members have a responsibility for your education and
the value of a UCF degree, and so seek to prevent unethical behavior
and when necessary respond to infringements of academic integrity.
Penalties can include a failing grade in an assignment or in the course,
suspension or expulsion from the university, and/or a "Z Designation"
on a student's official transcript indicating academic dishonesty,
where the final grade for this course will be preceded by the letter
Z. For more information about the Z Designation, see http://z.ucf.edu/.
For more information about UCF's Rules of Conduct, see http://www.osc.sdes.ucf.edu/.
An accessibility statement provides readily available information for students with disabilities, and how to get accommodations for the course. Syllabus statements can be made to include accommodation details, or the following sample accessibility statement may also be used:
It is my goal that this class be an accessible and welcoming experience for all students, including those with disabilities that may impact learning in this class. If anyone believes the design of this course poses barriers to effectively participating and/or demonstrating learning in this course, please meet with me (with or without a Student Disability Services (SDS) accommodation letter) to discuss reasonable options or adjustments. During our discussion, I may suggest the possibility/necessity of your contacting SDS (Ferrell Commons 185; 407-823-2371; firstname.lastname@example.org) to talk about academic accommodations. You are welcome to talk to me at any point in the semester about course design concerns, but it is always best if we can talk at least one week prior to the need for any modifications.
On the question of media, the assumption is that everything is accessible so the only language that would be appropriate would be some sort of reinforcing statement on the syllabus stating something like this:
The instructional media and materials for this class are accessible to students with disabilities. Students who are having difficulty accessing them should contact the faculty member.
It is worth noting that including a disability statement later in the syllabus may cause students to feel that inclusivity is simply a matter of policy. A Kairos page, Suggested Practices for Syllabus Accessibility Statements, suggests not only to place this statement "at the beginning of the policy document directly after the course overview and objectives," but also for faculty to create their own disability statement in order to "foreground their flexible approach to disability and demonstrate their interest in providing an inclusive and accessible classroom for all students."
A Webcourses statement will help in portraying to students when, how and why the web application will be used. Helpful comments include how often Webcourses will be used, the semantics involved in online communication, and for what purposes will Webcourses be used for, such as a forum for communication and announcements, and/or a medium for turning in assignments.
The following is an example of a Webcourses statement:
Webcourses is an online course management system (accessed through my.ucf.edu and then the "Online Course Tools" tab) which will be used as a medium for turning in assignments and a forum for communicating with your teammates. Under the "Discussion" section, you will have a designated forum section. My recommendation is to check Webcourses every 2-3 days for updates from your teammates or myself.
Students will want to know how you are reporting their grades back to them. The most common methods are handing tests and material directly back to students or using Webcourses's online gradebook.
Graded tests and materials in this course will be returned individually only by request. You can access your scores at any time using the Grades section of Webcourses@UCF.
If there are specific software or hardware used, the Technology/Software Requirements statement can help further define what available resources must the students have access to. Additional information may include troubleshooting/installation tips, how to access free versions of the products if available, and what computer labs provide the specified software and hardware. For computer lab information, please visit (http://registrar.sdes.ucf.edu/webguide/index_quickfind.aspx).
The following is a Software Requirements example:
You will be required to have access Macromedia Dreamweaver MX version 6.0 for your assignments for this course. My recommendation is that you have Dreamweaver installed on your personal computer since you will be using this software frequently throughout the semester. Please see the UCF bookstore for details on student discounts for this software. In addition, Dreamweaver is available in <insert location> computer lab.
And the following is an example of a Technology Requirement:
Students will be expected to have access to a computer frequently, as all writing assignments used will be typed out and not handwritten. The software you use to write your assignments is irrelevant, as long as you follow my writing guidelines outlined later in my syllabus. I recommend to have access to a computer weekly. If you do not own a computer, there are computer accessible to you in all UCF's computer labs. For further information on computer labs, please see the following website: http://registrar.sdes.ucf.edu/webguide/index_quickfind.aspx.
Similarly, please see the Internet Usage statement for more details on addressing internet/email usage.
An Internet Usage statement may be utilized if your course requires accessing the internet, such as using email. The statement can highlight expectations of students in relation to how often must a student have access to the internet, how frequent must email be checked per week, and the semantics involved in online communication. Most computer labs are connected to the internet. For computer lab information, please visit (http://registrar.sdes.ucf.edu/webguide/index_quickfind.aspx).
The following is an Internet Usage example:
You will be expected to have daily access to the internet and email, since I will be emailing you constantly about assignment updates, additions and changes. All students at UCF are required to obtain a Knight's Email account and check it regularly for official university communications. If you do not own a computer, there are computer accessible to you in all UCF's computer labs, and most computer labs have computers connected to the internet. For further information on computer labs, please see the following website: http://registrar.sdes.ucf.edu/webguide/index_quickfind.aspx.
Similarly, please see the Technology/Software Requirements statement for more details on addressing computer related usage.
If you are using an e-pack or electronic content from a publisher or linking to a publisher website, your publisher may require that students purchase a PIN. The PIN grants permission for the students to access the information. If students need a PIN, please include the requirement with your textbook information. Generally, you can bundle the PIN with the purchase of a textbook. However, students purchasing used books will need to purchase a PIN from the publisher.
Please note if your class meets Gordon Rule, Diversity, or GEP requirements, and what requirements specifically are met through your course. Such information is helpful on behalf of the students for tracking their own progress throughout their college career. For more information please see the current course catalog (http://www.ucf.edu/catalog/current/) for Diversity and GEP course requirements.
This course may count as a GEP Humanities requirement and a Diversity requirement for some majors. For more information about GEP and Diversity requirements, please see the current course catalog (http://www.ucf.edu/catalog/current/) for Diversity and GEP course requirements.
This section describes the importance of learning teams. You may include the purpose for having learning teams, such as improved learning for study groups, working on a team project, or working on group quizzes. Students may also would like to know when and how they will be grouped, the number of people per group, and what kinds of activities and tasks will be expected to be accomplished while in groups. Such information is important for students who feel less confident about working in groups and would like to be more familiar with what is required. This statement is also important to further inform students of what is expected of them and whether they feel they will be more successful compared to another course sections.
This course relies heavily on teamwork and cooperation throughout the semester. Early on in the semester, you will be assigned into groups of four at random and will be asked to accomplish various tasks in a group effort. Since your final grade is mostly composed of grades on various team projects, teamwork skills are essential for this class. If you are having difficulties with working in groups, please feel free to discuss this with me and whether this course is ideal for you.
Note to Faculty: Please be sure to indicate in the syllabus statement which model of clicker you have chosen.
We will be using clickers in class on a regular basis. You will need to purchase an iClicker/iClicker2 pads(commonly called a “clicker”) from the bookstore or computer store and bring it with you to every class session. It would be wise to bring extra batteries as well, as we will be using the pads in activities that count for class points. The purchase of an iClicker/iClicker2 pad is NOT optional; it will be used as an integral part of this course. I will provide a short demonstration of how to use iClicker/iClicker2 in class.
After you purchase your clicker, you must register your clicker online for this class. It is imperative that every student register their unit no later than __________. Instructions for the registration process can be found at http://www.iclicker.com/.
The Study statement is a list of observations that you found helped students succeed in your course. For example, if the textbook and/or supplemental materials are technical and not easy to read for students, you may provide tips in this statement as to how to read it. Also, you may give suggestions about how to study for a test in your course, such as group studying or practicing problems.
Since the textbook is technical and in depth about the topics, I recommend skimming through the reading first, then reading it again in more detail so that you have a greater grasp of the material. I would also like to recommend making a list of questions or confusing points in the reading so that I can emphasize it more in my lecture. I have seen that study groups that go over key concepts is the most effective way to studying for my tests.
If fieldwork is required for the course, a Fieldwork statement is important for a student's health and success in your course. Essential information includes what kinds of allergens will students be exposed to, what kinds of fieldwork will be done, how will they be done, and how often will students be engaged in these activities. In order to provide a more general idea of the fieldwork done, you may further provide your purpose for the fieldwork, the importance of the fieldwork in the course, and how it will change and/or enhance student learning experience. Also, feel free to include materials that students are expected to have, and where they are readily available.
This class will require catching water and species samples in the Loxahatchee River for identifying, testing and dissecting. You are expected to visit a designated area of the river twice a week for a two months, and bring the samples back to the lab for further analysis. If you are allergic to plants near the water, daisies that grow regularly near the river at this time, or feel uncomfortable with dissecting, I would strongly recommend you to not sign up for this section.
The statement answers a student's potential question about your course: "Why even bother knowing this material?". In this section of the syllabus, you have the opportunity to answer this question. In order to help portray this, you may link your topic to other disciplines, real-life applications, and unexpected applications. The statement also gives you an opportunity to briefly explain why do you study this particular field.
The following is an example:
Computer Science is a rewarding field to study, since its application is used in a variety of fields. For example, the study of sorting algorithms takes intuitive ways that humans normally sort any set of items, such as cards, lists, or documents, and improves them using a variety of changes. Think about how you would sort objects. It can most likely be linked to any one of the more common sorting algorithms. Computer Science is connected strongly in math, engineering and the sciences in general, while the study of how users interact with computers is highly connected to psychology and humanities, and the theory is related deeply in history. I would recommend all students to take Intro to C and get a sense of what this exciting field is about.
For students who are new to service learning, this statement provides insight into service learning in general. You can help students introduce what is service learning, why you chose it for this course, and how will it be built into the course. You may also explain in further detail what kinds of projects can the students get involved in, such as the organization(s) the students will be working with, what will the projects(s) involve, what kinds of extra-curricular work would be required, and whether the project(s) will be done individually or in a group. If done in groups, you may add a Learning Teams statement as well.
The following is a sample service learning statement:
Service learning gives students a venue to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-life setting, giving them valuable experience in the field. Your service-learning project will involve making a website for an organization that will be assigned to you. You will be responsible for content, graphics, design, and other aspects of this project, and I highly recommend you to be in constant communication with your Organization contacts for developing and feedback. To assist in feedback, you will be required to present your work in progress at a meeting for your Organization at least once during the semester. You will be designing this in groups no more than three. Please do not feel overwhelmed by service learning; it has been my experience that once the projects are underway, completing the project becomes easier.
A controversial content statement acts as a disclaimer for classes that may show some form of problematic content as part of study. The statement is to inform students who are sensitive to these issues and to outline your expectations. The following is a sample statement:
Since we will be studying art throughout history, there may be times when some of this art may have nudity in it. If you feel uncomfortable with this, please let me know and we can make accommodations.
If your course requires frequent trips to the library, this statement may be useful to portray your student expectations. You may also provide a link to the library's website for easy access.
The following is an example Library Skills statement:
Since this course requires writing several research papers, you are expected to know how to use the library's resources. If you are not familiar with using the library, please ask for assistance from the library's personnel, take workshops provided by the library, or visit the library's website (http://library.ucf.edu/).
The Prerequisite Skills statement highlights what courses are needed, or even more specifically, what skills from those courses are needed to succeed in this course. This may be a simple list of pre-requisite or co-requisite courses, or you may briefly explain what concepts you expect students to have already mastered from each course. You may also add a brief list of course that aren't pre-requisites or co-requisites, but ones that you personally found helpful for students.
An example of a Prerequisite Skills Statement is the following:
College algebra and Geometry is a pre-requisite for this course, since you will be working with 2-D coordinate systems frequently. Also, I have found taking Statistics (STA 2023) facilitates in learning is course material.
Students may want to be clarified about what is Online Learning, and what does it require from the student to succeed. Expectations about course interaction, participation, self-pacing and whether it's feasible may be expressed in this section. You may also describe some qualities you recommend online students should have, and what behavior will and will not make a student successful with respect to an online course.
The following is an example of an Online Learning statement:
Online learning is not for everyone; some people may not be able to manage a course that does not meet face to face to learn. Online learning requires lots of planning and self-pacing so that you may be successful in my course. Since I will be covering much material in 16 weeks, I would highly recommend treating this course like a regular lecture course, and keeping up with lectures and assignments. Please do not be tempted to skip two weeks of lectures and expect to catch up easily.
Whether your students communicate using a Discussion forum or through email, you may wish to have a set of rules of appropriate ways to communicate. You may discuss topics on "netiquette", email, discussion forums, online chatting, whiteboard, when to come to office hours, how to schedule appointments, and other forms of communication.
The following are three sample rules:
To inform students in your courses about the services of the University Writing Center, please include the following in your syllabus:
University Writing Center
Satellite Locations: Main Library, Rosen Library & Online
The University Writing Center (UWC) offers writing support to UCF students from first-year to graduate in every discipline. Trained peer consultants provide help at every stage of the writing process, including understanding assignments, researching, drafting, revising, incorporating sources, and learning to proofread and edit. The UWC’s purpose is not merely to fix papers or to make better writers, but to teach writers strategies to navigate complex situations for writing, both in and outside the University. Consultations are available for individuals and small groups. To make the best use of the UWC, visit far enough before your due date to allow yourself time to revise after your consultation, browse the writing resources on our website, and arrange a regular weekly appointment if you’d like long-term help. You may schedule a 45-minute appointment by phone or by using the TutorTrac scheduler on our website; walk-in consultations are also available. In addition, the UWC seeks graduate and undergraduate tutors from all majors; contact the UWC to learn more about peer writing consulting and ENC 4275/5276: Theory & Practice of Tutoring Writing, our three-credit tutor-education course.
Faculty have reported errors in the class notes being sold by third parties, and the errors may be contributing to higher failure rates in some classes. The following is a statement appropriate for distribution to your classes or for inclusion on your syllabus:
Third parties may be selling class notes and other materials from this class without my authorization. Please be aware that such class materials may contain errors, which could affect your performance or grade. Use these materials at your own risk.
Students may have multiple emails recorded with the university, including "campus email" and "personal email," and they may be confused about how you will communicate with them. The following is a statement appropriate for distribution to your classes or for inclusion on your syllabus:
In this class our official mode of communication is through email. All communication between student and instructor and between student and student should be respectful and professional. As of 2009, Knightsmail is the only official student email at UCF. Class rosters list Knightsmail addresses rather than external email addresses, and all official class communications will be sent only to the Knightsmail addresses. Students are responsible for checking their Knightsmail accounts regularly. See www.knightsemail.ucf.edu for further information.
If you instead use Webcourses to communicate with students by email, here is a sample statement for the syllabus:
In this class our official mode of communication is through email located inside Webcourses. All communication between student and instructor and between student and student should be respectful and professional. It is the student's responsibility to check the "coursemail" tool frequently. You may also wish to create a Knight's Email account at www.knightsemail.ucf.edu for separate official communication from the university.
Faculty should include in their syllabi procedures for resolving conflicts between the normal class schedule and major religious observances. Students are expected to notify their instructor in advance if they intend to miss class to observe a holy day of their religious faith. Click here for a list of the major religious holidays in a number of faiths. For more details about these and other holidays, go to http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/TeachingAndLearningResources/CourseDesign/MajorReligiousHolidays/ or contact the Office of Diversity Initiatives at 407-823-6479.
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