You are responsible for providing a comprehensive syllabus for the course. It is a document that describes the nature of the course, the learning objectives, the rules and policies of the course, the assessment measures of the course, and a description of the assignments students must do within the course.
The syllabus serves as the contract between you and the students in the course. You must have a coherent and clear syllabus structure that outlines what the expectations of students are for the duration of the course. Sample syllabi are available from the director of undergraduate studies’ office if you are unsure how to create one.
It is recommended that you include a course calendar that indicates to students the topics they will be learning and what you will cover in each class period. The syllabus should be posted to Canvas, ideally two weeks before classes begin but before the meeting of the first class.
The syllabus should contain those of the following items that are appropriate for the course:
Instructor’s name, phone number(s), and campus address
Email where students can contact you directly
Course number and title
Course learning outcomes and objectives
Class meeting times and location
Semester and year
Purpose, design, and themes of the course
Access to all readings and materials, including links for online materials
Information on the application of class attendance policy
Many of our Media School courses give final exams, and those exam times are set by the university. To confirm your course’s final exam schedule and to learn more about final exam policies, visit the Office of the Registrar’s website. Please note that some courses may be better suited for a final project instead of a final exam. If you are unsure about what would be most appropriate for your course, please consult with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS). If you decide to arrange for an alternative time for your final exam or project, you still must allow any student who wishes to take the examination or complete the project at the officially scheduled time to do so. The time and date listed in the Enrollment and Student Academic Information Bulletin must remain available to students.
Constructing a syllabus
A syllabus serves several important functions in a course; most basically, it communicates to students the general content of the course and its organization. Review its key points with students, but don't read through the entire syllabus, since this takes time away from other valuable first-day tasks. Try to leave some flexibility in your course schedule, in case you fall behind or decide to spend more time on a particular topic. Put a disclaimer in your syllabus stating that everything in it is subject to change and you will give students a reasonable warning of any changes. The tone and style of your syllabus can help you establish appropriate expectations for your students regarding how you perceive your role as an instructor and their roles as students.
Make sure your syllabus includes a good course description with course content, topics, organization, and flow. We keep copies of recent syllabuses, and you may find it helpful to look at past syllabuses of instructors who have taught your course or similar courses before. When you prepare your syllabus, please send an electronic copy as a Word or PDF file to Marilyn Behrman (firstname.lastname@example.org), undergraduate administrative services coordinator, so she can store it in our departmental syllabus files.
Learning outcomes are user-friendly statements that tell students what they will be able to do at the end of a semester. These outcomes are measurable and quite often observable. Learning outcomes are usually discussed within the context of program-wide assessment, but they can be valuable components of any class because of the way they sharpen the focus on student learning. Learning outcomes:
State in clear terms what it is that your students should be able to do at the end of a course that they could not do at the beginning
Focus on student products, artifacts, or performances, rather than on instructional techniques or course content
Are student-centered rather than instructor-centered
Explicitly communicate course expectations to your students
Among your learning outcomes, we request that you make every effort to include an outcome related to diversity. Ensuring that you have such an outcome will strengthen The Media School’s curricular commitment to diversity, which relates to the study of the work of underrepresented media makers, as well as representation in media and its effects on society. The School is committed to combating the media’s role in perpetuating racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.
Diversity outcomes can often be related to strengthening critical thinking skills through debates and discussions in the classroom. How we manage these discussions, however, can greatly impact how useful the conversations are to our instructional goals, and what sort of impact they have on the dynamics of the class. Refer to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) for tips on preparing for and managing conversations that promote diversity and inclusion.
Mandatory policy statements
IU-Bloomington expects faculty to include some mandatory policies in their syllabus. Those statements to include in your syllabus are:
Indiana University is dedicated to ensuring that students with disabilities (e.g., chronic health, neurodevelopmental, neurological, sensory, psychological, and emotional, including mental health, etc.) have the support services and reasonable accommodations needed to provide equal access to academic programs. To request an accommodation, you must establish your eligibility by working with IU Bloomington Disability Support Services. Additional information can be found at accessibility.iu.edu. To schedule an appointment, please call DSS at 812-855-7578 or email email@example.com.
Note that services are confidential, may take time to put into place, and are not retroactive; citations and alternate media for print materials may take three or more weeks to produce. Please contact your campus office as soon as possible if accommodations are needed.
As your instructor, one of my responsibilities is to create a positive learning environment for all students. IU policy prohibits sexual misconduct in any form, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, sexual exploitation, dating, and domestic violence. If you have experienced sexual misconduct, or know someone who has, the University can help. If you’ve experienced a sexual assault, call 812-855-8900. If you are seeking help and would like to speak to someone confidentially, you can make an appointment with the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Services at 812-855-5711 or contact a Confidential Victim Advocate at 812-856-2469 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is also important that you know that University policy requires me to share certain information brought to my attention about potential sexual misconduct, with the campus Deputy Sexual Misconduct & Title IX Coordinator or the University Sexual Misconduct & Title IX Coordinator. In that event, those individuals will work to ensure that appropriate measures are taken, and resources are made available. Protecting student privacy is of utmost concern, and information will only be shared with those that need to know to ensure the University can respond and assist. I encourage you to visit stopsexualviolence.iu.edu to learn more.
Bias-based incident reports can be made by students, faculty, and staff. Any act of discrimination or harassment based on race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability can be reported through any of the options: 1) email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; 2) call the Dean of Students Office at 812-855-8188 or 3) use the IU mobile App (m.iu.edu). Reports can be made anonymously.
Indiana University respects the right of all students to observe their religious holidays. However, it is your responsibility to notify me in advance. Please notify me of expected absences for religious observances by the end of the second week of class.
Students can face challenges in their personal lives, and it is a sign of great strength to acknowledge that and ask for help. As the instructor, I want to help guide you to appropriate resources if you come to me in confidence. You can always go directly to Indiana University’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) at the Health Center for support (812-855-5711). CAPS can help students with many issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship issues, sexual assault, feelings of inadequacy, substance abuse, and difficulty adjusting to the routines and expectations of student life. More information about CAPS is available here: healthcenter.indiana.edu/counseling/index.html.
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