A detailed syllabus helps both instructors and students. It communicates important information about a class:
- What is the course about?
- Why is the course important?
- What will students be doing in the class?
- What is required to complete the course successfully?
The syllabus also helps set the tone for the course. As part of VSU's compliance with SACSCOC accreditation, all instructors must upload their syllabi each semester to the Success Portal (directions).
All syllabi should contain the following information:
1. Course Information
- Course number and section
- Course term and year
- Course name
- Hours of credit
- Pre-requisites or co-requisites as listed in university catalog and why these pre-or co-requisites are important to success in the class
- If face-to-face, classroom location, room number, and time
- If online, is the class synchronous (regular meeting days and times) or asynchronous (no regular meeting dates or times)
- Department and College
2. Instructor Information
- Instructor name
- Instructor contact information: office (if applicable), phone, VSU email address
- Instructor office or online availability hours (follow departmental policy for the expected number of office hours per week)
3. Course Description and Format
- Course description as printed in university catalog.
- Required texts, resources, and materials. Emphasize the importance of these required materials to success in the class. For information on ordering textbooks and other materials, consult https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/textbooks-and-materials.php.
- Required out-of-class activities (field trips, projects, service learning, etc.). For field trip authorizations, please complete the form.
- Course format: Describe how the course will be conducted--lectures, discussions, fieldwork, research projects, etc. If the course is a hybrid (components both online and face-to-face, describe what will occur online and what will occur in class). Whether online, hybrid, or face-to-face, describe required technology and what students will need to be able to use to be successful in the course.
4. Course Technology Requirements
Sample Technology Syllabus Statement (modify to meet the needs of your class):
In this class, students will regularly use the following applications (list those applications that your class will use and what they will be used for):
- Office 365 for access to VSU email and to Microsoft applications that we will use regularly (Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).
- BlazeVIEW, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and/or Microsoft Teams to access course materials and to participate remotely.
- Others as needed (be sure to give clear instructions about how to access and identify if this application is not supported by the university)
To use these applications, students must have access to a laptop or computer, preferably with a webcam and mic. While it is possible for students to complete some work on their smartphones, this will not be sufficient in all instances, given the limitations of mobile devices. Hence, access to a computer is essential. Note that the University maintains a number of computer labs, which are available for student use. Laptops and/or MiFi devices are also available for check-out on a first-come, first-served basis from the New Media Center in Odum Library.
You may also choose to list these further resources:
- IT provides a list of recommended technologies at https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/it/helpdesk/personal-devices/recommended-technologies.php
- As a VSU student, you may download and install Microsoft Office Suite on up to 5 personal devices (https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/it/helpdesk/employee-resources/employee-services/work-at-home-tech-guide.php)
If any examinations in the class will be virtually proctored, please use the following statement:
Sample Proctoring Statement for Syllabus
This course requires the use of LockDown Browser and a webcam for online exams. The webcam can be built into your computer or externally attached through a USB cable. Watch this short video (https://web.respondus.com/lockdownbrowser-student-video/) for an introductory understanding of LockDown Browser and the webcam feature. A Quick Start Guide for Students (https://web.respondus.com/he/monitor/resources/) is also available.
5. Standards, Goals, Objectives, or Outcomes
All syllabi should talk about what students should be able to know or do by the time they complete the course.
- Institutional standards, goals, objectives, or outcomes: such as general education outcomes, departmental learning outcomes (listed in the university catalog), college-level standards, or professional organization standards
- Course objectives or outcomes: aligned with the institutional standards above and expressed as expectations of what students will be able to do by the end of the course to demonstrate evidence of their understanding or ability.
6. Assignments/Learning Opportunities (explicitly aligned with the goals, objectives, or outcomes)
More detailed information for individual assignments may be provided separately but try to be as specific as you can about the following:
- general description of the assignments
- due dates
7. Assessment or Evaluation Policy
- explanation of how much each assignment contributes to the overall grade for the class
- explanation of how grades are assigned
- policies for missed assignments, make-up assignments, late assignments, and/or extra credit. In developing these policies, consider how to combine flexibility with rigor as well as being able to adjust for official accommodations requests.
Recommended Syllabus Statement for Make-Up Work:
Make-Up Work: Make up work or alternative assignments will be determined by the professor and at the sole discretion of the professor. These assignments may or may not exactly duplicate the original and will not entitle other students to the same alternatives since they may not have experienced the same situations.
- grading standards and grading scale
- where students can see their grades (VSU’s learning management system, BlazeVIEW, has a gradebook which can be configured for students to access their grades)
8. Schedule of Activities or Assignments
- Due dates for all activities but also include a statement that schedule is tentative and may be subject to change
- Be sure to adhere to the semester schedule (including any scheduled holidays). The Registrar’s Office publishes a customized planning guide for each semester (available at https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/registrar/faculty-staff-resources.php).
- You may also want to provide an estimate of the student workload for the term, giving students a sense of how much preparation and work the course requires. VSU’s Determination of Credit Hours for Courses Policy states the following: “In general, it is appropriate to expect that students will spend a minimum of two hours in out-of-class preparation for every one hour spent in the lecture component of the class. The activity/laboratory/studio/clinical component may exist with or without an expectation of out-of-class preparation.” (https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/sacs/documents/determination-of-credit-hours-policy.pdf). You can use the work calculator tool at this website: https://cat.wfu.edu/resources/tools/estimator2/
- The university-scheduled final exam time.
- A statement about the administration of online Student Opinion of Instruction (SOI):
Sample SOI Syllabus statement
At the end of the term, all students will be expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI) that will be available through SmartEvals. Students will receive an email notification through their VSU email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of the term). SOI responses are anonymous to instructors/administrators, and they will be able to access results only after they have submitted final grades. Before final grade submission, instructors will not be able to see any responses, but they can see the percentage of students who have or have not completed their SOIs. While instructors will not be able to see student names, an automated system will send a reminder email to those who have yet to complete their SOIs. Students who withdraw or drop a course will also be sent invitations to complete the Dropped Course Survey. Complete information about the SOIs, including how to access the survey, is available on the SOI Procedures webpage.
9. Classroom Policies
- Accommodations Statement (Required)
Instructors must provide a statement in the syllabus on how students should proceed in order to receive classroom accommodations because of a documented disability.
Required Accommodations Statement:
Students with disabilities who are experiencing barriers in this course may contact the Access Office (https://www.valdosta.edu/student/disability/) for assistance in determining and implementing reasonable accommodations. The Access Office is located in University Center Room 4136 Entrance 5. The phone numbers are 229-245-2498 (V), 229-375-5871. For more information, please visit VSU’s Access Office or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To request reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and childbirth, contact Christina Kidd, Student Conduct Coordinator at email@example.com. Please note, you will be required to provide documentation from an appropriately licensed medical professional indicating the requested accommodations are medically necessary.
- Non-Discrimination and Title IX Statement (Required)
Instructors must provide the following Title IX statement:
- Attendance, participation, and/or tardiness:
- Academic Integrity
●The Academic Honesty page contains links and information about VSU’s Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures.
All faculty should include the following announcement in their syllabi: “By taking this course, you agree that all required course work may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin, a tool within BlazeVIEW. For more information on the use of Turnitin at VSU see Turnitin for Students.
- Classroom demeanor or conduct: Instructors should provide their expectations of students’ behavior in the classroom and/or in situations outside of class or in online environments (i.e., use of electronic devices, classroom courtesy, etc.). You may also choose to reference the Student Code of Conduct (available in the Student Handbook). If you would like to report a student conduct incident in your classroom or office, use the following reporting online form: Student Conduct Incident Report.
- Communication: Instructors should specify the appropriate channels for official class communication. All VSU-related correspondence should be conducted via VSU email addresses for both student and instructor. Grades should only be discussed within a password-protected environment such as BlazeVIEW.
- Intellectual Property Protection: Instructors may want to include a statement such as the following:
"Materials in this course are presented to students in an educational context for their personal use and study only and should not be shared, distributed, or sold in print, or digital formats, outside the course without the express written permission of the instructor."
10. Additional Information (at Instructor's Discretion)
- Expectations for competencies such as writing, technology skills, or performance
- Instructional philosophy
- Resources to support learning
- The Academic Support Center (ASC) provides unlimited, in-person, free tutoring in core courses such as math, English/writing, sciences, social sciences, and languages. We also offer 10 hours of free tutoring via Tutor.com (10 hours per student, available 24/7). Click the Free Tutoring link in any Blazeview course to make appointments and more. Please drop by our space in Odum Library, 2nd floor, or call 229-333-7570, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website www.valdosta.edu/asc for more information.
- Odum Library provides a variety of services to assist classroom instruction, including library instruction, course reserves, and interlibrary loan. Please see Library Faculty Services for further information.
- Information about the Blazer Creed: At the New Student Convocation, all students are introduced to the Blazer Creed. Instructors may wish to distribute the creed and discuss its application to their class.
- List of Resources for Technology
- In BlazeVIEW, you should be registered for a class—VSU BlazeVIEW Student Tutorial 2021
- Welcome to BlazeVIEW (Brightspace by D2L): https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/blazeview.php
- VSU Courses in GoVIEW: https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/goview.php
- Microsoft Teams Introductory Page: https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/it/helpdesk/employee-resources/employee-services/microsoft-teams.php
- IT Helpdesk: https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/it/solutions/service-desk/
- New Media Center: https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/library/depts/media-center/
- BlazeVIEW Support: email@example.com
- If faculty wish to include any information about HB 280 (“Campus Carry”), just provide a reference to the University System of Georgia website at https://www.usg.edu/hb280/additional_information. This page contains an overview of the policy and FAQs. You could also reference VSU’s page at https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/finance-admin/police/campuscarry/.
- The following statement has been prepared by VSU’s Counseling Center for those instructors who would like to direct their students to their services:
Basic Mental Health Syllabus Statement:
As a student, you may experience a range of challenges that can interfere with learning, such as strained or violent relationships, death and loss, increased anxiety, substance use, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may diminish your academic performance and/or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. VSU services are available and treatment does work. You can learn more about confidential mental health services available on campus at https://www.valdosta.edu/hopeconnect
- BIT (Behavioral Intervention Team) Team Syllabus Statement:
If you, or someone you know, needs support, is distressed, or exhibits concerning behavior, help by making a referral to the BIT Team. The VSU BIT Team's purpose is to promote a safe and productive learning, living, and working environment by addressing the needs of students. As your professor, I may contact the BIT Team to seek support for you. I encourage you to fill out a referral if you or a classmate are in need of help. There are several ways to contact the BIT Team:
1) For more information about the BIT Team at https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/student-affairs/bit.php;
2) Email your concern to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
3) Fill out the anonymous Concerning Behavior Reporting Form at https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/student-affairs/student-conduct-office/our-services.php
- If you wish to add a COVID 19 statement to your syllabus, you may want to use the following:
If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, use the testing available at the Student Health Center; you may also obtain a test at many other locations around town. To report an absence to the Dean of Students Office, complete the form at https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/student-affairs/absentee-notification-form.php. If you must self-isolate or quarantine, follow the directions provided by Student Health.
- Possible statement on campus resources for students:
Offices Here to Help You on Campus
Research (and experience!) shows that students are more successful when they seek out help and support when they face challenges. VSU offers a full range of services---tutoring, supplemental instruction, counseling, and more—which is available both in person and online.
For library resources: Odum Library https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/library/
For counseling: VSU’s Counseling Center https://www.valdosta.edu/student/student-services/counseling-center/
For career exploration and on-campus employment opportunities: Office of Career Opportunities https://www.valdosta.edu/student/student-services/career-services/
For academic advising: University Advising and Student Transitions https://www.valdosta.edu/advising/
For classroom accommodations: VSU’s Access Office https://www.valdosta.edu/student/disability/
For food and clothing assistance: VSU CARES https://www.valdosta.edu/vsucares/
For on-campus medical assistance: VSU Health Services https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/student-affairs/student-health/
For safety: University Police https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/finance-admin/police/
Additional Faculty Resources for Preparing Syllabi
- “As You’re Preparing the Syllabus”
- “A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning”
- “The Syllabus: Indicator of Instructional Intentions”
- “Tonic for the Boring Syllabus”
- Accessible Syllabus
- “How to Create A Syllabus” from The Chronicle of Higher Education
- From the College Transition Collaborative:
Also, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has a variety on digital resources (see https://www.valdosta.edu/celt/resources.php). You may also consult with the staff in CELT or the Center for eLearning for additional help/resources.
Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
West Hall Suite 1004
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta, GA 31698
- Phone: 229.333.5950
- Fax: 229.333.7400