The syllabus is probably the most important document that you will provide your students during a class. It ideally conveys the learning outcomes, information on the methods of assessment, contact information for the instructor, time and locations for labs, required and supplemental readings, exam information, and other important details about the class.
The University of Saskatchewan has a number of required items that must be included in the syllabus for any course (Academic Course Policy, 2011). They include:
- The type and schedule of term assignments with approximate due dates, as well as the type and schedule of term examinations
- Learning outcomes of the course and of the assignments and examinations
- Relative marking weight of all assignments and examinations
- Whether any of all of the course work assigned in a course, which may include any assignment or examination including the final examination, is mandatory for passing the course (as per College policy)
- Attendance expectations and the consequences of not meeting said expectations
It is very important to remember that the U of S considers the syllabus to be a contract with students and some parts of it may not be changed without written permission from the students once they have been provided with the document, whether a paper copy or a digital version through email, PAWS or BBLearn.
Different colleges and departments at the U of S have syllabus guides or templates for instructors to use when creating their course syllabi. The Centre for Continuing and Distance Education has had a template for a number of years that has been used for all courses offered through CCDE.
Last year, the U of S Instructional Design Group that includes designers from CCDE, the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (GMCTE), the College of Medicine and, at the time, the College of Nursing and ICT, was asked to develop a template that could be used across campus. After several months of work and consultation, the resulting template was created along with a guide explaining the various required and recommended elements. Both of these documents as well as some additional resources can be found on the Syllabus page under Resources on the GMCTE Website (scroll about half way down the page to find the links to the template and guide).
This template is recommended, but not required by the U of S. You do need to provide a syllabus to students and it must contain the above mentioned required parts, and it must be submitted to your department head for approval, but you do not need to use this particular template.
If you have any questions about the syllabus template or preparing your own syllabus, please contact us at the GMCTE for assistance.