Syllabus Guidelines
Three items you should include in all beginning course handouts*:

Course Syllabus

Course Syllabus
A course syllabus in reasonable detail which should also include the following:
1.   Course number and title.
2.
  Instructor's name, office number and campus telephone numbers.
3.

  Title of text(s). If you do not plan to rely heavily on a textbook, students should be made aware of this and purchase of the text should be optional.
4.
  Times and place of instructor's office hours. Important Reminder: The current scheduling policy leaves Tuesdays and Fridays 4-6 pm as free time. This might be an appropriate time for holding office hours.
5.
  Dates and times of all major exams and major papers (so students can practice time management). A reminder that the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee has discouraged giving exams outside of scheduled class hours.
6.
  Specific assignments (at least for the first 3 weeks, longer if possible; the entire semester is best). This is particularly important in undergraduate courses.
7.
  Attendance policy (if any).
8.
  A specific statement regarding academic integrity (below).
9.
  Specific grading criteria. The grading criteria for a course should include the following information:
  The fraction of the total grade determined by each part of the course (e.g., exams, papers, recitation performance, homework, labs, projects, etc.).
  Whether a single poor performance will be dropped or weighed lower, or if some form of "resurrection" will be built into the grading system.
  The means that students may appeal grades.
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Academic Integrity
Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. For example, students must trust that teachers have made appropriate decisions about the structure and content of the courses they teach, and teachers must trust that the assignments which students turn in are their own. Acts, which violate this trust, undermine the educational process.
1.
  The Rensselaer Handbook defines various forms of Academic Dishonesty and procedures for responding to them. All forms are violations of the trust between students and teachers. Students should familiarize themselves with this portion of the Rensselaer Handbook and should note that the penalties for plagiarism and other forms of cheating can be quite harsh.
2.
  Collaborative or group work should be encouraged at all times. Make clear to the students when collaboration will be explicitly forbidden (e.g., take home exams or computer projects).
3.
  The syllabus should also contain, in writing, your guidelines for what is and is not considered cheating and, most importantly, the associated penalty for violations.
*From Provost G.P. Peterson's Memorandum to the Faculty, on July 26, 2001
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Please send questions or comments about this site to Francine Fredette at fredef2@rpi.edu.