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The concept of a course syllabus has changed over the past years from a statement of course content to a much more formal contract with the student, wherein college policies and instructor expectations have to be spelled out in much greater detail. In order to give our students accurate and current information, we have created this tool to assist instructors with syllabus preparation.
In general, we need to give students all the information they need to meet the course expectations successfully. For example, if we don’t want to see plagiarism, we need to tell them what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. If we have special needs students, we need to point them toward the resources that will enable their success. If we have specific classroom expectations about cell phone usage, late arrival, etc., we need to tell students about our expectations and the consequences of not meeting them.
This template provides faculty with the information needed to write a complete and comprehensive syllabus. Calendars for the term are also provided. Statements from the various campus areas are updated regularly by those who created them, so be sure to check each year for new updates, which usually occur in early June.
Division statements may be attached as needed, and there is room at the end to create special content areas that may be needed in each unique field of study. We have deliberately avoided being too specific about grades, as each area has different needs; instead, we have designed each section so that instructors may delete our text if it is not appropriate and add their own materials. (For example, you may not want or need the day-by-day calendar.) Individual material may be added to any area.
We suggest you create your own template and save it to your desktop for use each quarter. You should check live links each quarter, as updates in the system and URL changes may deaden old links. We hope this will save everyone a lot of precious time.
The following points should be kept in mind to ensure optimal accessibility:
- Colors will not be seen by colorblind readers. If you do use colors, please make sure they are high contrast. Bright colors may appear as light grey, so use a different font.
- Serifs trip up the screen readers. Arial or Calibri are the best fonts to use.
- Use “Styles” to create Hierarchy – good for the screen readers.
- When using links, actually link it, if you type out the URL address, the screen reader will read out the whole address, which is cumbersome for those using screen readers. When referring students to on-line links, for the visually impaired reader it is better to link directly to the web site, than to type out the whole address. So, instead of the link entirely typed out for “grading policies,” it should be like this: Grading policies To do this, copy the address to the notepad, then click on INSERT, then on HYPERLINK. Fill out the language you want to appear in your document, then paste in the address. If you want to make the actual URL available to your students, then the text will look like this: Grading policies (http://www.bellevuecollege.edu/policies/id-3000/). Note that the descriptive text is hyperlinked. The actual URL is not hyperlinked and it is enclosed in parentheses.
- When numbering lists, use the numbered list option on the top of Word bar.
Before posting or printing the syllabus, ensure that heading do not appear at the bottom of one page and the section on the next page. To fix “orphaned” headings, select the heading, open Paragraph settings, go to the Line and Page Breaks tab, click Keep with next.
This template has been checked for accessibility. You should check it again when you have completed your modifications.
As you use this tool, please take note of any difficulties you encounter and send your feedback to the eLearning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated September 27, 2017