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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.

Here you can download the syllabus template (DOCX) for your own courses in Microsoft Word format.

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 Syllabus

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
E-mail: email address
Phone: Phone number

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.)

Course Description:

Include the course's Catalog description with prerequisite information.

Required Materials:

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.

Optional Materials:

  • Items on reserve in Library
  • Relevant periodicals
  • Other optional readings
  • Websites and Internet links if not in External Links section of Blackboard

Course Overview:

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:

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:

Learning Outcomes state what competencies the students will possess at the end of the course.

Course Requirements:

  • 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.

Course Calendar:

  • 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 statement is a university policy that is required for inclusion on all course syllabi.)

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

The University’s commitment to equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities includes providing reasonable accommodations for the needs of students with disabilities. To request an accommodation for a qualifying disability, a student must self-identify and register with the Coordinator of Disability Services for his or her campus. No one, including faculty, is authorized to evaluate the need and arrange for an accommodation except the Coordinator of Disability Services. Moreover, no one, including faculty, is authorized to contact the Coordinator of Disability Services on behalf of a student. For further information, please see Information for Students with Disabilities on the University’s web site. To receive accommodation for any disability, students must contact the campus Counseling Center (Pace Plaza, (212) 346-1526; Westchester, (914) 773-3710).

(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 (DOCX) (sample):

"Netiquette" (Internet etiquette) is a set of expectations that describe appropriate behaviors when interacting online.

When you are communicating in an online environment you are subject to the same rules of courtesy and conduct that you would find in any face-to-face environment. Treat your fellow students with respect. If you disagree with someone’s post, you should aim to acknowledge your disagreement in a mature and respectful way, without belittling the writer, and ending the response with a question to open up further discussion. Be clear with your words. It’s easy for someone to misinterpret your meaning. They can’t see your expressions or hear the tone of your voice. Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without face to face communications your comments may be misinterpreted.
Proofread and check the spelling before submitting a post in the Discussion Board or sending an email. While online communication is more relaxed, it is not careless communication. Doing a quick proof of your work before you send it may alleviate the need to clarify your posting and save you some time and potential embarrassment. Be aware of copyright and “fair use” law; do not plagiarize, and don’t forget to cite your information.
Penalty for Late Work
Policy on Incomplete Grades
Writing Assignments (Proofing, Grammar, Spelling, etc.)

Academic Integrity:

Students in this course are required to adhere to Pace University's Academic Integrity Code. The Academic Integrity Code supports honesty and ethical conduct in the educational process. It educates students about what constitutes academic misconduct, helps to deter cheating and plagiarism, and provides a procedure for handling cases of academic misconduct. Students are expected to be familiar with the Code, which can be found under "University Policies" in the Student Handbook (PDF). Individual schools and programs may have additional standards of academic integrity. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the policies of the schools, programs, and courses in which they are enrolled.

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 as well.

Affirmative Action Office (212) 346-1310 (212) 346-1310
Center for Spiritual Development (914) 773-3598 (914) 773-3598
Counseling Center (914) 773-3710 (212) 346-1526
Dean for Students Office (914) 773-3351 (212) 346-1306
Health Care Unit (914) 773-3760 (212) 346-1600
Residential Life (914) 597-8777 (212) 346-1295
Pace Women's Justice Center (914) 287-0739 (914) 287-0739
Student Development and Campus Activities (914) 773-3767 (212) 346-1590
Multicultural Affairs & Diversity Programs (914) 773-3775 (212) 346-1546
Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Specialist (914) 597-8783 (212) 346-1931
Student Accessibility Services (914) 773-3710 (212) 346-1526
Academic Advisement    
Advising Center for exploring Majors (914) 773-3847 (212) 346-1798
CAP Program (914) 773-3682 (212) 346-1997
College of Health Professions (914) 773-3961 (914) 773-3552
Dyson College (914) 773-3781 (212) 346-1518
International Student / Scholars (914) 773-3425 (212) 346-1368
Lubin School of Business (914) 773-3531 (212) 618-6550
Pforzheimer Honors College (914) 773-3941 (212) 346-1697
Seidenberg School (914) 773-3254 (212) 346-1864
Study Abroad (914) 773-3447 (212) 346-1368
School of Education (914) 773-3571 (212) 346-1338


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