Course Policies, Expectations & Agreements for Syllabi
The following are examples of instructor's syllabi that spell out course policies, expectations and agreements. Each covers the same elements but each presents class expectations in a style as distinctive as the instructors.
THIS IS FROM A BUSINESS COURSE
My Promise to You
Over the years, students have made it apparent that they expect the following:
- That I come to class prepared and organized.
- That the instruction and assignments vary in presentation to accommodate different learning styles.
- That assignments and exams be returned in timely manner and have appropriate comments so students can improve their work.
- That I make myself available at convenient times to answer their questions.
- That the learning environment be a positive and enjoyable experience.
Please let me know if you would like something added to this list.
What We Need To Make an Effective Learning Environment
Attendance - Continual attendance is necessary for optimum performance in both the classroom and private business. It is equally important to come to class (work) properly prepared to take part in all discussions. While you may not always understand all of the readings, you should at least "know where you are confused! If you are unable to attend class, you are independently responsible for obtaining all material covered from your fellow classmates.
Assignments and Exams - All written assignments are to be typed and double spaced. I need the double-spacing as it leaves me room to make comments on your work. Assignments will be evaluated for grammar as well as composition. (Assignments that require math calculations do not need to be typed).
All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date specified. Exams are to be taken at the scheduled time. While I don't normally take work late, I also understand emergencies occur. If that happens, I would appreciate it if you would please call me in advance. If I am not available, just leave a message. Please note it is always better to turn in work early rather than risk having it not accepted because it was late.
Incomplete and Withdrawals - Incompletes will not be given during Finals Week. Withdrawals are the responsibility of the student and must be done through the Records Office in Boyle. Please see the class schedule for deadlines regarding dropping classes or changing your status from grades to audit.
Plagiarism - While I encourage you to work together when solving assignments, please remember each of you is responsible for your own work. Each of you should turn in your independent assignment. Students who have duplicated someone's work will receive a zero on that assignment or exam. Those doing it twice will receive an "F" in the course.
THIS IS FROM A HUMAN SEXUALITY SYLLABUS
Basic Classroom Agreements:
Agreement One: It is assumed the student will attend every class session for the entire time period. Do not come late, as it is disruptive to the class. In the event the student cannot attend, the student is still accountable for ALL information and assignments covered during class. Be aware that guest speakers are scheduled to come on particular dates and it may not be possible to make up assignments from those classes. If you know you will need to miss class, see the instructor PRIOR to the class to get an alternate assignment. It is the student's responsibility to obtain all missed information from another student, not from the instructor. The instructor will gladly distribute any missed handouts.
Agreement Two: Late assignments, for any reason, will not be given maximum points. Assignments may be turned in up to one week after the due date for 50% of points. No assignments will be accepted after the last day of class.
Agreement Three: IF the student misses the midterm or a quiz, he/she will take the test or quiz during the next scheduled class period. After one week, the test or quiz may NOT be made up.
Agreement Four: Due to the nature of the course, students are advised that subjects will be discussed that may be offensive to come (i.e. pornography, rape, incest, homosexuality, etc.) Some graphic photographs of male and female genitalia will also be viewed for instructional purposes. If you have concerns about the topic(s), you are encouraged to talk with the instructor prior to the next class session to determine if an appropriate alternate assignment or course exists. If you do not think you will be able to participate to the extent required by the course, you are encouraged to drop the course within the appropriate deadlines in order to guarantee a refund.
Agreement Six: All students are expected to practice the highest standards of academic honesty. Cheating on exams or plagiarizing other people's work is unacceptable and may lead to a failing grade.
Agreement Seven: All students are expected to respect themselves and other class members by creating an environment that empowers learning. Cell phones and pagers are to be turned off during class time. It is the instructor's expectation that during the lecture, only one person speaks at a time. Discussion will focus on the material relative to the particular topics of the day.
THIS EXAMPLE IS FROM A PSYCHOLOGY COURSE
Students are expected to do their own work. Cheating, plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Please refer to the COCC Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities by which all students are expected to abide. This includes cutting, pasting and regurgitating this information either in the written assignments or on the exams. The first instance of this will result in a conference with the Director of Student Life and a zero on the assignment. The second infringement may result in an "F" for the course.
Expected Classroom Behavior:
**Inappropriate behavior during class sessions that disrupts the learning process of others will result in dismissal from class and potentially, withdrawal from class. This is inclusive of cheating on exams.**
The above statement refers to the use of cell phones as well. Cell phones should be turned off, or set to vibrate. Anyone who expects an emergency call should sit near the door to leave unobtrusively. Texting or taking calls during class time or exams is unacceptable; the student will be asked to leave and if this occurs during an exam, the student will forfeit the exam.
Class Attendance: I will routinely call the roll in this class, as I wish to learn your names. I will not be awarding participation points, but I do expect you to attend regularly. Lectures will follow the sequence of topics in the text but will include information that is NOT in the book. Not attending class is never an excuse for having missed information, which will be on the exams. In the event that you do miss a class, it is your responsibility to obtain notes from a fellow student. DO NOT call or email me in order to get the material; I will not be able to recreate lecture for you! Lecture notes, but not PowerPoint, will be available on Blackboard in most cases.
Quality of Work: Quality of logical thought, analysis, critical thinking, integration of material, and application of concepts will be emphasized in considering grades. You are expected to express yourself in a coherent manner (grammar, punctuation, spelling and neatness count!)
Course Requirements: The course is divided into four sections. The important dates for these sections are listed on the reading schedule below. The four sections will each be followed by an examination that will be worth 100 points each toward your final grade. The final exam is equal to the first three in terms of weight and will be comprehensive in that it builds on the concepts that come before. Exams may contain multiple choice, matching, brief identification and short-answer questions. Extra credit will be available on each exam as a series of questions at the end, rather than for the short answers etc. Each exam may contain questions from textbook material, the study guide, in-class lectures, videos, potential readings and class discussions. All of these exams require a bubblesheet for partial completion, so please bring at least one #2 pencil to each exam. Please note: As stated previously, if it is determined that you are cheating, forfeiture of the exam and/or dismissal from the class will occur, depending upon the seriousness of the event.
If you do not make it to an exam FOR A SERIOUS REASON, then you have until the next class period to take the exam; however, you must make arrangements PRIOR to the regularly scheduled exam. I have voice mail and email, so leaving a message would be acceptable initially. Contact with me is necessary to have an exam at the Testing Center and must be made by the end of the day of the exam. You must take the exam before the class period that I return the exams. After that date YOU MAY NOT TAKE THE EXAM. Therefore, MAKE UP EXAMS WILLNOT BE GIVEN.
THIS IS FROM AN ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSE
Proper citations and documentation of any sources that you quote, paraphrase, and/or summarize in your writing are required whenever you borrow the words, facts, and/or ideas of others. In general, putting others' ideas into your own words still means you are borrowing, and to avoid plagiarism, the source must be cited and documented, both (a)at the point in your essay where there borrowing occurs (parenthetical citations for most academic documentation systems), and (b) in a list of all sources cited given at the end of your essay. Plagiarism-intended or not-is considered a serious academic violation of intellectual property rights, and may earn your written assignment an automatic "F."