Language and Policies for Your Syllabus
Ideas to Consider from Penn instructors
A well thought out syllabus help students decide which courses are best for them and plan for the semester.
Penn has no official set of statements that an instructor must include on your syllabus. The following is a list of things (policies and statements) that instructors might consider including on their syllabus or as part of their course. (Some instructors include them in a traditional paper syllabus, others post policies and expectations in Canvas and some just discuss them in class.) On this page CTL has linked out to sample policies that other instructors are using but in many places (like the basic information about the course) each instructor will have to create unique language for their courses. Consider those links places to see what some options are but instructors should design policies and language that make sense for their class and that can best help their students.
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURSE
- Contact information for the instructor(s) and TA(s), including email, offices and their location.
- Course description that explains the course’s scope and purpose as well as the format and general expectations for the course.
- List of readings or other resources students may need for the class.
- List of what students should be able to do by the end of the course.
- Percentage breakdown of how different assignments will contribute to the final grade.
- Description of major assignments.
- Describe pre-requisites
- Communication and email policy that explains how to contact the course team and how soon to expect an answer.
- Statements that welcome students to the class
- Recitation Guidelines
- Explanation of office hours
- Explanation of Active Learning
- Advice about how to succeed
- A grading scale that indicates how you will grade assignments
Information about campus resources
Instructors may be intersted in addressing other issues in their syllabus as well. The blocks below outline some ideas for creating a a syllabus that addresses specific concerns.