Syllabus Design

Syllabus Design

Instructors are strongly urged to distribute a handout to their students at the first meeting of the class that has a link to the course syllabus on Canvas. The syllabus should advise the students of the basic policies of the course, especially how students will be evaluated (students complain that some instructors are vague or noncommittal about their evaluation procedures, or change their grading policy mid-course).

A typical syllabus gives information about the instructor (name, office, office hours, telephone, email); the objectives of the course; instructional resources (books, films, speakers, etc.); a calendar of topics, assignments, and tests; and a description of evaluation policies (policy on make-up examinations, the exact weighting of tests, papers, class participation and so on, for the calculation of the course grade). Instructors may also wish to add a statement of their personal policy concerning academic misconduct. For campus policies, see the Code of Student Ethics.

The practices described here are consonant with the responsibilities of academic instructors as stated in the Code of Academic Ethics. It reads in part:

  1. A teacher will maintain a clear connection between the advance description and the conduct and content of each course presented to ensure efficient subject selection by students.
  2. A teacher will clearly state the course goals and will inform students of testing and grading systems; moreover, these systems should be intellectually justifiable and consistent with the rules and regulations of the academic division.
  3. A teacher will plan and regulate class time with an awareness of its value for every student and will meet classes regularly.

Syllabi should include the following links to resources for students:

  • Teaching Technology Lab (TTL): A multi-function lab space and service offered to the students of Indiana University who are learning and beginning to practice the thoughtful integration of computing technologies into teaching and learning. Wright Room 2010, 856-8454,
  • Office of Disability Services for Students (DSS): Assists with a broad range of services and is responsible for determining reasonable academic accommo-dations for students with both physical and learning disabilities. If you are a student requiring special accommodations of any kind, you should contact this office. Herman B Wells Library, Suite W 302, 855-7578,
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): Support for students who are looking for an opportunity to discuss problems with someone they can trust, including but not limited to serious mental health crises. IU Health Center, 4th floor, 855-5711
  • Writing Tutorial Services (WTS): Offers free help at any phase of the writing process, from brainstorming to polishing the final draft. When you visit WTS, you’ll find a tutor who is a sympathetic and helpful reader of your prose. Herman B. Wells Library, 1st floor (West Tower), Learning Commons Area, 855-6738