Policy Title Hybrid and Online Course: Recommendations for syllabus elements
Type or category of Policy: COLLEGE Policy
Approval Authority: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Executive: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: Academic Technology within Information Technology Services
Owner Contact: Mary Parlett-Sweeney, Deputy Chief Information Officer, mparlett-sweeney@siena.edu, (518) 782-6988
Reviewed By: Academic Affairs
Reviewed Date: 01/25/2016
Last Revised and Effective Date of Revision: 07/27/2017

Recommended Syllabus Elements

Hybrid and Online Courses

  • Purpose and goals. A brief statement describing the nature of the course, what the student can expect to learn, and an overview of course activities
  • Course objectives or intended learning outcomes. The course objectives should be stated clearly so that they can be related to the expected learning outcomes in each section or module of the course and to the goals of the overall assessment process.
  • Instructor contact information. The instructor’s name, email address, physical office location, and phone number(s) should be included.
  • List of textbooks or required materials. A list of textbooks with the author,title, publisher, edition, date, and ISBN number. A list of any other published materialthe student is required to purchase for the course including lab manuals, labkits, software, etc.
  • Specific course requirements. A description of any special course requirements, such as knowledge of specific software, and why it is necessary for successful completion of the course.
  • Required readings. The instructor should provide students with a list of the required readings for the course.
  • Sequential list of assignments and projects with due dates. Should be arranged by course topic or module with due dates if applicable.
  • Class participation. A statement that students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course. For example, students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, are required to log in regularly and check for announcements, and must actively participate in course discussions, etc. Your expectations for the course and for the students should be clearly stated.
  • Grading procedure and grading scale. A detailed statement of how grades are related to or reflective of the expected learning outcomes. Detailed points or percentages for assignments should be included.
  • Course ground rules. The instructor must include a section detailing course ground rules and expectations (see below for additional information)
  • Accommodations statement. A statement of accommodation for students with special needs such as voice recognition software or special hardware. Students who need accommodations because of disabilities must make the request through the Office of Disability Services.
  • Timing of instructor response. A clear statement regarding the instructor response time to emails and other student inquiries. Response time should normally be within 48 hours during the week. Instructor response information should also include information about the expected grading/feedback period for student assessments, projects, activities,etc. Student should be notified when the instructor will be unable to meet these times.
  • Instructor availability. A statement detailing times when the instructor is available for immediate feedback and what method the student should use to contact the instructor.
  • Detailed description of assignment submission. A clear and detailed statement regarding the method and tools used by students to submit assignments. Information should include location of assignment submission, any file type requirements, late assignment policies, etc.
  • In addition to the syllabus elements identified above, the online course should include the following items within the course structure:
  • Technical Help page. Information about assistance through Information Technology Services should be posted within the LMS.
  • Student Resources page. Information about resources such as the Standish Library should be posted within the LMS.
  • Place for student/student and student/faculty interaction. Course interaction typically occurs in the course discussions tool but instructors may also choose to use synchronous chat options.
  • Course Content (Lecture Material). Instructors should make use of a wide variety of content types. The course content should be comprehensive, taking full advantage of appropriate course management tools.
  • All copyrighted material must meet copyright requirements.
  • Assessments. All assessments should be completed and present in the course site when submitted for approval. Instructors should provide information to students regarding recommended processes in case of technical problems when completing assessments. A sample assessment that uses the same types of questions should be included in the course site to allow students to troubleshoot any technical issues prior to taking a scored assessment.
  • Gradebook. The course gradebook should be configured correctly to include any graded items from the course. Student grades should be posted to the gradebook and appropriate feedback included when applicable.

Course ground rules. The instructor should include a section detailing course ground rules and expectations. Examples include

  • Participation is required
  • Expected to communicate with other students in team projects
  • Learn how to navigate in the learning management system
  • Pay attention to course announcements
  • Use the assigned institutional email address as opposed to a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately
  • Observe course netiquette at all times. Instructor should provide guidelines for communication by email, discussion groups, or chat. Some examples of this include:
  • Email
    • Always include a subject line.
    • Use standard fonts.
    • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
    • Remember that without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
    • Do not send large attachments without permission.
    • Respect the privacy of other class members.
  • Discussion groups
    • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion.
    • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
    • Try to maintain threads by using the “Reply” button rather starting a new topic.
    • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
    • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.