Creating a Syllabus and Rubrics
Every successful course begins with a clear syllabus, which contains the course description, objectives, requirements, deadlines and assessment methods. Having a clear syllabus is even more essential in an online or web-assisted course when students may be unclear about expectations. We encourage faculty to move beyond a basic outline of weekly assignments to create a comprehensive document, which will inform and guide students throughout the entire semester. The course syllabus works as a contract between you and the student; therefore it should provide more than just due dates. The student should gain a clear understanding of the course by reading the syllabus during the first week and should be encouraged to review this document frequently throughout the semester. It is customary for faculty to place the syllabus under the Course Information section of their Blackboard course shell, and students may find it helpful to have the syllabus components broken into separate folders. To download the syllabus template (displayed below) for your own courses in Microsoft Word format, please click here.
Please note that the sample syllabus provided below and the policies listed within are only intended as recommended guidelines in helping you to develop your own syllabus. You are encouraged to edit and customize the document to your own needs and preferences.
A tool commonly used to grade, but also to provide feedback, is known as a Rubric. A rubric is a scoring scale consisting of a set of criteria that describe what expectations are being assessed and/or evaluated. They also include descriptions of levels of quality used to evaluate student’s work or to guide them to desired performance levels. Rubrics can be attached to assignments that specifically detail what is asked of them and the corresponding grades, large papers, or projects. Establishing grading standards for the Discussion Board can best be done through a rubric. Rubrics come in many shapes and sizes, and all dependent on your needs and expectations.
Blackboard has a built-in tool for creating custom rubrics. Below is a video tutorial that guides you through the process.
Sample of a rubric used for an assignment.
Sample of a rubric used for the Discussion Board.
Course Name (from Catalog or Schedule)
Department abbreviation and course number - Course Reference Number (CRN)
Meetings day(s) and time (room if possible)
Professor: Instructor's name and rank
Office Hours: Days and times
(You may want to advise students on how you manage emails and what response time they should expect. If not, some may expect you to be on 24 hours.)
Include the course's Catalog description with prerequisite information.
List required materials that students must acquire, i.e., textbook(s), supplemental readings (other than those on Blackboard or in the Library's electronic reserves), manuals, cases, software, etc. Use full citations with ISBN numbers when applicable.
This is an opportunity to place the course within its field and program and to "sell" it to students. A Course Overview goes well beyond the cryptic catalog description to provide insight into the design of the course, what students can expect from it, and how it will move them toward their program and career goals. Two or three paragraphs will usually be enough.
Learning objectives describe what students will know, be able to do, and value by the end of the course. Most learning objectives focus on the knowledge students will be able to demonstrate and/or apply. When creating or editing learning objectives, think of active verbs from the student's perspective. For example: You should be able to debate both sides of capital punishment effectively, using references and data.
Learning Outcomes state what competencies the students will possess at the end of the course.
List the components of students' final grade, i.e., exams, papers, projects, etc. Include general descriptions of exams, papers, projects, etc.
Show the percent weight of each component - the total should be100%.
Provide criteria for evaluation or rubrics whenever possible.
Provide directions for submission of work, i.e., hardcopy or electronic file; classroom, Blackboard's Digital Dropbox, or other location; rules regarding late submissions.
Include your attendance policy, if you have one.
- List class sessions by topic title, month, and day; include a brief description (optional).
- Specify reading and other preparation for each class session.
- Note activities that go beyond the usual lecture/discussion format, i.e., case discussions, group exercises, presentations, experiential exercises, etc.
- Clearly list assignments on their due dates.
- Highlight tests, quizzes, and examinations by class session. Use bold face to make them stand out.
|Date||Topic||Readings||Assignments & Notes|
(The following statements are recommended for inclusion in your syllabi. Please note that each school may have variations of policy statements that they encourage their faculty to include in their syllabi. Faculty should consult with their school to familiarize themselves with any existing recommended statements.)
General Statement of Policies
The University reserves the right, at its sole discretion and with or without prior notice, to promulgate new academic and nonacademic rules, policies and practices, as well as to amend or rescind existing academic and nonacademic rules, policies and practices. By applying for enrollment and by enrolling each applicant and enrolled student, respectively, agrees to be bound by all of the University’s rules, policies, practices, including, without limitation, the Guiding Principles of Conduct. Applicants and enrolled students who fail to comply with the University’s rules, policies and practices are subject to discipline that may include, but is not limited to, denial of admission, denial of academic credits or a degree, suspension and/or dismissal from the University.
(Examples of Student / Instructor expectations during the duration of the course semester.)
Classroom Behavior (Cell Phone Etiquette, Lateness, Side-bar Conversations, etc.)
Netiquette or Etiquette Policy: Sample
Penalty for Late Work
Policy on Incomplete Grades
Writing Assignments (Proofing, Grammar, Spelling, etc.)
(Copied from the Pace University Student Handbook.)
Students are required to be honest and ethical in satisfying their academic assignments and requirements. Academic integrity requires that, except as may be authorized by the instructor, a student must demonstrate independent intellectual and academic achievements. Therefore, when a student uses or relies upon an idea or material obtained from another source, proper credit or attribution must be given. A failure to give credit or attribution to ideas or material obtained from an outside source is plagiarism. Plagiarism is strictly forbidden. Every student is responsible for giving the proper credit or attribution for any quotation, idea, data, or other material obtained from another source that is presented (whether orally or in writing) in the student’s papers, reports, submissions, examinations, presentations and the like.
Individual schools and programs may have adopted additional standards of academic integrity. Therefore, students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the academic integrity policies of the University as well as of the individual schools and programs in which they are enrolled. A student who fails to comply with the standards of academic integrity is subject to disciplinary actions such as, but not limited to, a reduction in the grade for the assignment or the course, a failing grade in the assignment or the course, suspension and/or dismissal from the University.
Statement on Self-Care:
Your academic success in this course and throughout your college career depends heavily on your personal health and well-being. Stress is a common part of the college experience, and it often can be compounded by unexpected life changes outside the classroom. The Pace Community strongly encourages you to take care of yourself throughout the term, before the demands of midterms and finals reach their peak. Please feel free to talk with me about any difficulty you may be having that may impact your performance in this course as soon as it occurs and before it becomes unmanageable. Please know there are a number of other support services on campus that stand ready to assist you. I strongly encourage you to contact them when needed.