Syllabus Elements: Detailed Information and Sample Statements

The syllabus elements presented briefly on the syllabus elements page are explained in depth below.

Each element is presented as an expandable toggle item, so you can select each one to see more information. You can also download an editable copy of this page.

Provide students with your location, contact information, availability, and any expectations around interactions. You may also include a short biography to help make you more familiar and approachable.

Required

  • Information about your availability for consultation (in-person and, where appropriate, by other means of communication) outside of class.

Recommended

  • Pronouns and Means of Address.

  • Office hours as prescribed by MUNFA and LUMUN collective agreements (i.e., not less than 2 hours per course per week, to a maximum of 5 hours per week).

  • A statement regarding response times for inquiries. e.g.,

    “Every effort will be made to respond to emails within 24 hours, with the exceptions of evenings, weekends, and holidays.”

  • A short biography or information about who you are, particularly if you are teaching online.

Recommended

  • Memorial University’s Land Acknowledgement (which may be obtained from the Office of Indigenous Affairs). If used in a syllabus, it is also recommended to deliver the acknowledgement verbally during the first synchronous or face-to-face class.

Along with the standard course information (course name and number), you may highlight:

  • the focus of your course,
  • its purpose or relevance,
  • questions that are addressed by your course,
  • times and locations of lectures, labs, and tutorials, and/or
  • indicate where your course fits within the context of the program,
  • including any accreditation units for professional programs.

Required

  • Any required prerequisites or corequisites.

Recommended

  • Course Information. Course lecture/lab/tutorial times should be added here. For Engineering, and possibly other accredited professional programs include accreditation units.

  • Course description. Descriptions are available from the University Calendar.

  • Course expectations such as classroom etiquette, importance of attendance, use of formative/ungraded evaluations during class, and/or professional conduct statement.

  • Statement of fair warning. Outline content that may be personally offensive or otherwise troubling. Include instructions for students seeking alternate accommodations.

  • An In-person course welcome with safety message. e.g.,

    “Welcome to the fall 2021 term! This course is designed to be held in-person. Our class lectures have been carefully designed to emphasize safety while providing a rich learning experience for all students. Masks are currently required on campus. If this policy changes during the term, you may still opt to use a mask even if not required. There will be different levels of comfort and anxiety for mask use. Should other health directives or the overall situation connected to COVID-19 change over the course of the term, a back-up plan for remote delivery is in place to ensure that the course will continue and to minimize disruption to the student experience.”

Recommended

  • Course format

    • e.g., team taught, synchronous lectures, laboratories, tutorials, field work.

  • A statement regarding transition to remote learning. e.g.,

    “If Memorial University campus operations are required to change because of health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that this course will rapidly move to a fully online delivery format. Should that be necessary, students will need to have access to a networked PC or Mac computer with webcam and microphone for remote delivery of the class. Please review the university’s minimum computer requirements.

    Should we shift our class to remote lectures, this will likely remain in-place for a minimum of two weeks as a “circuit-breaker” to allow the university and province to evaluate safety requirements.”

    (Add one of the three additional notes below.)

    • “Remote lectures for our class will be held synchronously, following our normal class hours.”

    • “Remote lectures for our class will be recorded for asynchronous delivery, with links posted on our class Brightspace site.”

    • “Remote lectures for our class will include a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous delivery. If this transition occurs, we will update the course syllabus and post to Brightspace to announce the revised lecture schedule.”

Clearly outline what you want students to be able to demonstrate at the end of your course. These broader course goals do not necessarily result in measurable behaviour, but they will provide students with a clear purpose to focus studies on, and provide direction for the specific learning outcomes and assessment strategies within the course.

Recommended

  • Big ideas, essential understandings, theories, or approaches students will learn.
  • Equations, strategies, and core knowledge students will apply.
  • Key skills students will develop (e.g., specific laboratory skills, critical thinking).
  • Threshold concepts or attitudes students will develop (e.g., evolutionary thinking, art is discourse, uncertainty in measurements, deconstruction, opportunity costs).

For more information, visit this page which explains the definition, characteristics, and benefits of learning outcomes.

List any textbooks, articles, books, media, or other resources that students should consult. Be clear about which resources are required in the course and why, which are optional, and where these resources may be accessed. You may also wish to include a statement regarding how the text and resources will be used and how students should approach them.

Required

  • Required textbooks, materials, or other resources that must be purchased by students.

Recommended

  • Any additional resources that students should access. e.g.,

    • Brightspace,
    • online programs and tools,
    • free classroom response systems,
    • library reserves, or
    • additional readings.

Clearly outline how students will be evaluated in your course. This includes how assignments are counted, participation expectations, how overall grades are calculated, and submission policies (e.g., how late submissions or missed assessments will be handled).

Required

Wherever possible, an explanation of the alternate evaluation which will be offered to students who are unable to complete a part of the evaluation due to acceptable cause, as described under Exemptions from Parts of the Evaluation (University Regulation 6.7.5), or otherwise communicated by Memorial University.

With the exception of final examinations, and in accordance with Scheduling of Parts of the Evaluation (University Regulation 6.7.3), the probable dates of all in-class parts of the evaluation, and the probable dates on which all take-home parts of the evaluation are due.

As per University Regulations, evaluations must abide the following:

  • Students must receive 20% of course grade by final drop date (6.7.6.1)
  • Exemptions due to illness must be in keeping with University Regulations, Exemptions from Parts of the Evaluation (6.7.5)
  • Only certain evaluations are permitted in last two weeks of lectures (6.7.3.4)
  • Attendance regulations may not be included without Senate approval (6.6.1)
  • The return of graded work and notification of grades must be in keeping with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (6.7.2.5). Refer to the Information Access and Privacy Office for guidance.

Recommended

  • Information regarding any final examinations. This may include the format, cumulative nature of the exam, and/or final exam policies. Policies can be indicated by a simple reference to University Regulations 6.8, or specific aspects of the policy may be highlighted for students.

  • Information regarding any supplementary exams, if a faculty, department, or school offers them. Information must abide by the Supplementary Examinations Regulations as outlined in the University Calendar for that specific faculty, department or school.

Recommended (COVID-19 Related Changes)

  • With the potential for rapid transition to all remote learning, and the further likelihood of students occasionally remaining home if feeling unwell, syllabus statements to clarify plans and contingencies for assessment will be important. One strategy is to simply plan for all assessments to be online, another strategy will be to develop alternate modes of assessment to use as needed.
  • A statement for all online assessments. e.g.,

    “With the possibility of transition to remote learning, and the further likelihood that some students may need to remain at home if feeling unwell, our quiz, midterm, and final evaluations will be conducted online. As with remote lectures, please be sure you are set to meet the minimum computer requirements.”

  • A statement for alternative assessments. e.g.,

    “The weekly quizzes and midterm exam will be conducted in-class. If you are feeling unwell and will be remaining home, please contact me by course mail before the scheduled evaluation date to arrange for an alternate form of assessment.”

NOTE: The following resources may be provided to assist instructors with developing alternate assessments. CITL staff are available to consult with instructors looking for alternate assessment strategies; instructors should contact the CITL Support Centre to request a consultation.

Students should be made aware of other policies relating to the course, as well as applicable university wide policies.

Required

  • A statement of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s commitment to accommodation of students with disabilities. e.g.,

    “Memorial University of Newfoundland is committed to fostering equitable and accessible learning environments for all students. Accommodations for students with disabilities are provided in accordance with the Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy and its related procedures. Students who feel that they may require formal academic accommodations to address barriers or challenges they are experiencing related to their learning are encouraged to contact Accessibility Services (the Blundon Centre) at the earliest opportunity to ensure any required accommodations are provided in a timely manner. You can contact Accessibility Services (the Blundon Centre) by emailing blundon@mun.ca.”

  • A statement regarding academic integrity, including a reference to the entry on Academic Misconduct (University Regulation 6.12). e.g.,

    “Academic integrity means taking full responsibility for the academic work you submit for your courses, so that your professors can evaluate you on the basis of your own understanding and effort. It means being honest and honourable in all academic pursuits, even in difficult circumstances. Students are expected to know and avoid academic offences; ignorance of an offence is not an acceptable excuse for committing it. Penalties could include reprimand, reduction of grade, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University.

    For more information:

Recommended

  • Information regarding any restrictions around the use of visual and/or audio recording during classes, excluding any provisions made for students with special needs.

  • Information regarding any restrictions or classroom etiquette around the use of personal electronic devices or programs during class (e.g., social media, phones, laptops, tablets), excluding any provisions made for students with special needs.

  • In line with the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act, a statement regarding student equity and the provision of a safe learning environment regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, social origin, religious creed, religion, age, disability, disfigurement, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, source of income, or political opinion.

Recommended

  • A statement regarding general COVID-19 supports. e.g.,

    “While the COVID-19 pandemic is slowly subsiding in many parts of the world and vaccination rates are increasing, this is still a stressful time for many. It’s important that we support each other, and keep informed of current information. The Memorial COVID-19 website is an excellent source of information and support, with specific links for students, supports and services, and health and wellness.”

  • A statement regarding vaccinations and masks. e.g.,

    “As a part of our shared responsibility to keep each other and our extended families safe during the upcoming school year, COVID-19 vaccines are required for all students, faculty, and staff; masks are required on all Memorial campuses in all indoor spaces.

    For further information, see the University webpage on COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.”

  • A statement regarding the COVID Alert app. e.g.,

    “Memorial encourages faculty, staff, and students to download the COVID Alert app to help protect yourself and others. The app is designed to let Canadians know whether they may have been exposed to COVID-19.”

Recommended

  • A statement regarding student health needs and doctors’ notes. e.g.,

    “There is nothing more important than your mental and physical health. Doctor’s notes are not required for medical absences in this course. You are encouraged to seek appropriate medical attention from the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre. I am committed to working with students with pre-existing medical and mental health needs, as well as new needs that may arise within the semester. I encourage you to reach out to the Blundon Centre as early as possible to discuss any adjustments you think may be necessary in this course. Let’s explore the options to help you succeed, no matter what is going on.”

  • A statement regarding remaining home when unwell. e.g.,

    “To protect yourself and those around you, it is important to stay home if you feel unwell, or if you are under quarantine because you have potentially been exposed to the virus. Please keep me informed so we can work together to allow you to keep up with the course materials should you need to miss classes. You will not be penalized if you need to stay home for quarantine. Memorial University has recognized the importance of academic leniency as we work to keep our campus safe for all.”

Memorial University offers a broad range of supports that may not be known to your students. Instructors are encouraged to direct students to academic supports as well as:

Recommended

  • A list, statement, or link outlining available academic supports including, but not limited to:

    • Memorial University Libraries,
    • The Glenn Roy Blundon Centre,
    • The Writing Centre,
    • CITL Support Centre,
    • Information Technology Services,
    • Academic Advising, and
    • other help centres.
  • A list and links to student life supports including, but not limited to:

    • MUN Chaplaincy,
    • Sexual Harassment Office,
    • Disability Information and Support Centre,
    • Sexuality And Gender Advocacy,
    • Student Parent Assistance and Resource Centre,
    • Students Older Than Average,
    • Intersections — A Resource Centre for Marginalized Genders, and
    • specific departmental societies. e.g.,

    “All students should be aware of the in-person and remote supports that Memorial University offers, which include:

    • MUNUp is an online hub which hosts supports and services to help all students succeed.

    • The QEII library provides access to print, electronic and technology resources, and where you can find a lot of your course resources. The librarians can also help you research your subject.

    • The Writing Centre (SN–2053) is a free, drop-in facility designed to help students become better writers and critical thinkers. The Centre also offers online writing tutorials.

    • The Memorial University Bookstore (UC–2006) offers a wide range of retail products, including all course materials (books, access codes and ebooks), as well as clothing, gifts and school supplies.

    • The Academic Advising Centre (SN–4053) serves prospective, first-year, undeclared and students transitioning between programs at the undergraduate level. If you are unsure what you want to study, schedule an appointment with an academic advisor.

    • The Student Wellness and Counselling Centre (SWCC) (UC–5000) provides counselling, health, and wellness support for students including primary health care, counselling, health promotion, disease prevention, and wellness education. Services are available online and in person.

    • The Student Experience Office (ASK UC–3005) is a hub to help students:

    • Career Services (UC-4001) in Student Life is central to the learning experience at Memorial. We host career events and programs, and we have career resources to help students along the way. Here you can explore your career options, build work experience, and meet employers. It is never too early (or too late) to get started.

    • The Indigenous Student Resource Centre (ISRC) (208 Elizabeth Avenue) supports Indigenous students by creating a welcoming community, by providing an engaging and inclusive space, and by offering an array of programs and resources to ensure success. It also assists the non-Indigenous University Community to walk a good path and build positive relationships with Indigenous peoples.

    • The Internationalization Office provides a variety of programmes to support international students’ transition to MUNL and to our province. To learn more about the Internationalization Office’s supports and services, please connect with our office. There is a staff directory for the Internationalization Office to help you find the supports you are looking for.

      For students looking to go on an exchange, look no further. There are semester-long exchanges, summer schools, or even field schools in more than 130 destinations throughout the globe. There are also dozens of scholarship opportunities to assist students in making their international adventure a reality.

    • In case you need help with need help with finances and funding, there are a number of resources available.

    • The Student Support Office can provide support to students in distress concerning a financial, academic or personal matter. The Student Support Office can also assist students who wish to raise a concern and seek a resolution to a matter related to their student experience at MUNL. The Student Code of Conduct outlines the expectations of students at Memorial University and provides an avenue to address behaviours that deviate from the Code. The Student Support Offices also coordinates the Non-Academic Appeal procedures for students, who need to raise concerns about a university employee or situation. This process ensures that student complaints are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner.

    • The Sexual Harassment Office (Earth Sciences E-6039) prevents sexual harassment and sexual assault through education, mitigates the effects of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and identifies methods for timely resolutions of complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault which may arise at Memorial University. While working towards a resolution of a complaint, the Sexual Harassment Office can coordinate interim accommodations as necessary.

    • Students should also download the Navigate App which is the primary means of booking appointments for the Academic Advising Centre, Student Experience Office, and other centres.

    • Reach out to the many Student Clubs and Societies which can help you deepen learning in your discipline or pursue your interests outside the classroom and get connected with others.”

Instructors may wish to include a statement regarding the use of any feedback mechanisms used in the course, such as:

  • instructor developed feedback forms,
  • prior-learning assessments,
  • learning outcomes questionnaires, or
  • the Course Evaluation Questionnaire.

Recommended

  • A brief statement regarding:
    • the timing of feedback,
    • how feedback is used, and
    • the value of feedback in improving the course for current and/or future students.

A tentative schedule helps to ensure course expectations are clear, and aids students in time management during their studies.

Recommended (Required in the HSS)

  • A tentative timeline (e.g., a table) of topics broken down by week, including any tutorials, online meetings, assignments, tests, or assigned readings.

  • An indication of alignment with any required resources (e.g., what sections of the text correspond with scheduled topics or lectures).

  • A statement regarding the procedure for lecture or laboratory cancellations.

  • An intellectual property statement regarding lecture and course material (e.g., permissions required for the reproduction of material).

It is recommended that instructors consult with their respective departments, schools, or faculties to determine if there are additional discipline-based regulations or standard syllabi formats required.

Recommended

“Your instructors are a resource for you both during this class, and beyond its completion, most often as possible sources for reference letters for employment. Building relationships with your instructors through asking questions, attending office hours, etc., not only supports positive outcomes for you as a student; it also helps your instructors become better able to assist you in the future, as possible references for further education or employment.”