How To Create A Great Syllabus

The Florida Tech Syllabus Tutorial

Learn how to create a quality syllabus for your Florida Tech course with this video collaboration between Evans Library, The Florida Tech Teaching Council, and Instructional Technologies.

A well-crafted syllabus is one of the most important tools for any class. They serve as a guide to the instructor and students. They communicate expectations and policies and should serve as the de-facto law in your class. While there are infinite ways to create a syllabus, there is no one size fits all approach that will appease every professor. To help you craft your own syllabus the Teaching Council has put together a list of appropriate items to create a well-crafted syllabus.

Course Name, Code(s), and Section(s): It is very important to your students to be able to know the name of the course along with the course code and section. This can help them verify that they are actually attending the correct course.

Term, Meeting Times, and Location: The Faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi. Your students should be able to find your class with this information.

Instructor Name, Phone Number, Email Address, and Office Hours: The Faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi. Students often struggle with remembering professor’s names. If you add in the bonus information of your phone numbers and email addresses, they will also be able to contact you. Office hours should serve to empower students with meeting with you at the appropriate time, so they can become the greatest scholar of your subject.

Course Objectives: Course objectives help students recognize the relevancy of the subject as well as help you make granular connections to the overall point of the course. Here are some tips for writing SMART learning objectives: http://ii.library.jhu.edu/2016/07/20/writing-effective-learning-objectives/

As described in the video, use this chart of Bloom's Taxonomy Action Verbs to help you decide which verbs to use with your course objectives.

Required Texts / Learning Systems: The Faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi. Knowing which textbook to study from can be one of the most important details of any course. Include the author(s) name, and edition, if possible. The Learning System information is for courses that use an online textbook, online homework, or some type of companion course. This might also be a good section to describe how you will use Canvas in your course.

Grading Policy: The faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi.  It’s always nice for a student to know how they’re being evaluated.

Where to Find Extra Help:  College is hard, and some students need extra help.  In this section, you would add information about where students are able to get extra help for your course. On the main campus of Florida Tech, we have the Evans Library, Math Advancement Center, The Academic Support Center, The Writer’s Den, and other resources available to students. In this section, you would add information about where students are able to get extra help for your course.

Attendance Policy: The Faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi. Some students will hold you to your attendance policies. Be explicit.

Academic Honesty:  The Faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi. The university has a well-established policy in the Florida Tech Student Handbook. Our recommendation is that you link to it. You can find it at https://www.fit.edu/policies/student-handbook/standards-and-policies/academic-honesty/   You may also want to add your own two cents about academic honesty. Just remember, the university frowns on the public flogging of students, even those who are less than honest in class.

Title IX: All syllabi are recommended to include the Title IX policy information. This information includes clarifications about sexual discrimination, misconduct, and ways to report such issues. Here is a link to the university's Title IX policy: https://www.fit.edu/policies/title-ix/  and here is the statement to be included on  your syllabi:

 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities.  Florida Institute of Technology policy also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

 Florida Tech faculty are committed to helping create a safe learning environment for all students that is free from all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  If you, or someone you know, have experienced or is experiencing any of these behaviors, know that help and support are available.

 Florida Tech strongly encourages all members of the community to take action, seek support, and report any incident of sexual harassment or gender discrimination to Fanak Baarmand, Title IX Coordinator at 321-674-8885 or fbaarman@fit.edu.

 Please note that as your professor, I am required to report any incidents to the Title IX Coordinator.  If you wish to speak to an employee who does not have this reporting responsibility, please contact the Student Counseling Center at 321-674-8050.

 Academic Accommodations:  Here is the accepted verbiage addressing Academic Accommodations that you are required to have on your syllabi:

Florida Tech is committed to equal opportunity for persons w/disabilities in the participation of activities operated/sponsored by the university. Therefore, students w/documented disabilities are entitled to reasonable educational accommodations. The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) supports students by assisting w/accommodations, providing recommended interventions, and engaging in case management services.  It is the student’s responsibility to make a request to OAR before any accommodations can be approved/implemented.  Also, students w/approved accommodations are encouraged to speak w/the course instructor to discuss any arrangements and/or concerns relating to their accommodations for the class.  Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR):  Telephone: 321-674-8285 / Email: accessibilityresources@fit.edu Website: https://www.fit.edu/accessibility-resources

 Recording Disclosure (Privacy Waiver):Be sure to include the Recording Disclosure on your syllabi. The verbiage can be found below:

This course may be recorded for use by students and/or faculty. Enrolled students are subject to having their images and voices recorded during the classroom presentations, remote access learning, online course discussions, and remote office hours/meetings. Course participants should have no expectation of privacy regarding their participation in this class.  Recordings may not be reproduced, shared with those not registered in the courses, or uploaded to other online environments.  All recordings will be deleted at the conclusion of the academic term. 

 Covid-19 University Policy:
The policy generated by Florida Tech's "Return to Learn Fall 2020" is a must-have on your syllabi. Be sure to include in yours. The verbiage is below:

As per Florida Tech’s “Return to Learn Fall 2020” policy, the “use of face coverings [is] mandatory for students.” By attending this class in-person students agree to follow all health guidelines listed in that document, as well as practicing social distancing in the classroom itself.

 Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and seek medical attention. Students failing to follow masking and social distancing will not be allowed to remain in class. For more information, please visit Florida Tech’s Coronavirus Central at https://www.fit.edu/coronavirus/ (Links to an external site.).

Lecture and Assignment Schedule:  The Faculty Handbook requires this section in all syllabi. Luckily, Canvas will automatically add assignment due dates to the Syllabus section after they are included in the Assignment section. When your assignments are included in Canvas’ Assignment section, they are automatically placed on each student’s Canvas calendar, the Gradebook, and also in the Syllabus section.  The Faculty Handbook also requires an explanation of any term papers, projects or other requirements.

For more information on Florida Tech’s policies on syllabi, click Link to Florida Tech's Course Syllabi and Required Materials policy.

Here is a link to the Syllabus Template - created in Microsoft Word.

by Jared Campbell with collaboration between Instructional Technologies, The Florida Tech Teaching Council, and Evans Library