Required Syllabus Elements

Simpson policy requires that each syllabus includes a statement and estimate of engaged learning hours, the academic integrity policy, the course continuity plan, and the relevant descriptions of the general education requirements included in the course.  Examples of each of these statements are provided below.  Many of these statements can be copied from this document and pasted directly into your own syllabus.


Contact Hours and Learning Time

Regulations from the U.S. Department of Education have caused all institutions to review and document their policies and practices with regard to assigning academic credit. Simpson College has determined that the learning-time-to-credit equivalence is roughly 35 hours per credit. Thus, for each credit awarded to a course, the students can expect to spend 35 hours in the classroom, participating in instructor-directed activity, or preparing for class.

All syllabi need to include a statement such as one of the following along with the list of learning activities and the number of hours a typical student should expect to spend during the semester on each activity. In addition, please include a brief description detailing the changes that have been made as the course changed from three to four credits.

Example 1:  4 credit semester-long course meeting 3 times per week

This is a four credit course that meets 3 days per week for 60 minutes. It is designed to have learning opportunities and activities totaling approximately 143 hours over the 15 weeks of the course (including finals week).

In class activities: (3 days x 60 minutes x 14 weeks + 2 hours for final class) 42 hours
Required Readings and Focus/Extension Exercises: (14 chapters readings x 3 hours each) 42 hours
Midterm take-home exam: 5 hours
Final paper and oral presentation 24 hours
Five reflection “papers” (5 x 5 hours each) 25 hours
Preparation for final activity 5 hours

Total

143 hours

Example 2:  4 credit semester-long course meeting 3 times per week for 60 minutes and once a week for a 3 hour lab

This is a four credit course that meets 3 days per week for 60 minutes and 1 day per week for 3 hours. It is designed to have learning opportunities and activities totaling approximately 148 hours over the 15 weeks of the course (including finals week).

The designed activities may take each student a different amount of time to finish, however the average will be 148 hours. Further estimates include:

In class activities (3 hours x 14 weeks) 42 hours
In lab activities (3 hours x 14 weeks) 42 hours
Required readings (8 chapter readings x 3 hours each) 24 hours
Research paper (including searching and evaluating research) 30 hours
Lab assignments (10 x 1 hour each) 10 hours

Total

148 hours

Example 3:  4 credit semester-long course meeting twice a week

This is a four-credit undergraduate course that meets face-to-face twice a week over the semester. It is designed to provide learning time totaling approximately 148 hours over the 15 weeks of the course (including finals week). This estimate is for the typical undergraduate student. Estimates of the time you will need for learning time follow:

In class activities: (90 min./class x 2 times/week x 14 weeks + 2 hours for final class) 44 hours
Required readings: (8 plays x 4 hrs each; 8 articles x 1 hr each) 40 hours
Essays: (research, draft, supporting materials, conference, and final revision) 40 hours
Forum postings on Scholar 10 hours
Preparation for performance assignment: 10 hours

Total

148 hours

Example 4:  4 credit course taught completely online for 8 weeks

This is a four credit undergraduate course that “meets” for chat on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. It is designed to have learning opportunities and activities totaling approximately 140 hours over the 8 weeks of the course – 8 hours in “chat” and 131 hours outside of class. This estimate is for the typical undergraduate student. The designed activities may take one person longer to complete and another person may complete the activities in less time. We are all individuals. Here are some further estimates:

Synchronous chats (8 x 1 hour each): “in-class activity” 8 hours
Required readings (12 chapters x 3 hours each) 36 hours
Six weekly papers (6 x 6 hours each) 36 hours
Final paper: 32 hours
Asynchronous discussion board activities (7 x 4 hours each): (also considered an “in-class activity”) 28 hours

Total

140 hours

Example 5:  4 credit EWG course taught in a blended learning format over 8 weeks

This is a four credit graduate course that meets weekly on the Ankeny Campus on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. It is designed to have learning opportunities and activities totaling approximately 140 hours over the 8 weeks of the course – 32 hours in class and 108 hours outside of class. The designed activities may take one person longer to complete and another person may complete the activities in less time. We are all individuals. Here are some further estimates:

In-class activities 32 hours
Required readings and focus/extension exercises: (8 readings x 7 hours each) 56 hours
Midterm take-up exam 20 hours
Written paper and oral presentation 27 hours
Preparation for final activity 5 hours

Total

140 hours

Academic Integrity.  The academic integrity policy should be included on all syllabi.

In all endeavors, Simpson College expects its students to adhere to the strictest standards of honesty and integrity. In keeping with the College’s mission to develop the student’s critical intellectual skills, while fostering personal integrity and moral responsibility, each student is expected to abide by the Simpson College rules for academic integrity. Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) any form of cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, misreporting any absence as college-sponsored or college-sanctioned, submitting a paper written in whole or in part by someone else, or submitting a paper that was previously submitted in whole or in substantial part for another class without prior permission. If the student has any questions about whether any action would constitute academic dishonesty, it is imperative that he or she consult the instructor before taking the action.  All cases of substantiated academic dishonesty must be reported to the student’s academic advisor and the Dean for Academic Affairs.  . For further guidance on these rules and their sanctions, please see the college catalog.


Course Continuity Plan.  Each syllabus should include the appropriate course continuity plan developed by the department and instructor. An example you could use follows.

Should the normal instructional activity on the campus be shortened or interrupted by a campus-wide closing, students will receive information from the instructor or other representative of the college about when and if the course might be continued or completed via Internet, telephone, or United States mail.


General Education

If your course can be used in partial fulfillment of any of the requirements of the Engaged Citizenship Curriculum and/or of Cornerstone Studies, the description of those requirements needs to be included in your syllabus.  You can copy the relevant requirements below and paste them into your own syllabus.

For each designation in the Engaged Citizenship Curriculum, be sure to include a statement of how the objectives will be met in your particular class. The designation proposal form that was approved by the faculty contains the information about how the objectives should be met.  The approved designation proposal forms are available on StormFront; just click on Engaged Citizenship Curriculum (ECC) from the list on the right.  You can also go to https://stormfront.simpson.edu/resources/ecc/default.aspx.

Area of Engagement: The Arts. The Arts component focuses on learning through participation in artistic creation. By taking a course that engages students in the act of creation, students will develop an understanding of art as a constructed means for communication, designed to reveal certain meanings and ideas or to elicit specific responses. Students are given the opportunity to develop their imaginations and to develop their ability to express themselves.

Through the completion of an AR course, students should be able to

  • express perspectives, concepts and/or ideas through an artistic medium
  • reflect and think critically about one’s own and others’ artistic work(s) employing vocabulary and evaluative skills appropriate to the genre
  • articulate the value of the creative process

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Area of Engagement: Civic Engagement. Civic Engagement courses focus on citizenship and the rights one gains as a community member. These rights include at a minimum civil liberties, civil rights and the opportunity to participate in the construction of that community through voting, civic conversation, and other forms of participation. Civic engagement involves the values, duties, skills, and responsibilities that are part of positively shaping our communities.

Through completion of a CE course, students should be able to

  • describe information, values, processes and theories that are essential to building just and democratic societies
  • apply the perspective of an academic discipline to civic initiatives
  • articulate the importance of their role in civic engagement

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Area of Engagement: Diversity and Power in the U.S. The Diversity and Power in the U.S. requirement prepares students to be engaged citizens by exploring enduring questions about ourselves, civilization, and the world by developing the knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary to shape and create diverse and just communities in the U.S. It is designed to engage students in recognizing and analyzing the perspective of a less powerful (often minority) group and understanding the differences of experience this power differential engenders.

Through completion of a DP course, students should be able to

  • describe the perspectives and experiences of a less powerful (often minority) group in the U.S.
  • evaluate the social inequities resulting from power differentials via the perspectives of both the advantaged and the disadvantaged groups
  • describe the power differentials between two or more groups within one or more communities in the U.S.

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________. 

Area of Engagement: Ethics and Value Inquiry. Ethics and Value Inquiry courses encourage students to think critically about the sources and meanings of their commitments to personal integrity, moral responsibility, and social justice. These courses introduce students to questions about moral values and actions and how they relate to our responsibilities to ourselves and others.

Through completion of an EV course, students should be able to

  • provide students with the opportunity to explore and reflect on a variety of perspectives about values
  • identify and critically evaluate multiple approaches to ethical, moral or values questions
  • articulate and justify values and actions in light of normative theories, logical principles, foundational texts, or traditions
  • articulate and critically assess how various normative perspectives are relevant in contemporary society

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________. 

Area of Engagement: Global Perspectives. Global Perspectives courses engage students in an exploration of societies outside of the United States. While some courses may deal with a specific problem (e.g., global warming, genocide, human rights), others focus on larger trends over the course of time (e.g., art, religion, politics, history, economics, literature). By acquainting students with the diversity of thoughts, beliefs and values of a society external to their own, these courses encourage a greater appreciation of and sensitivity to global diversity.

Through completion of a GP course, students should be able to

  • analyze societal values through cultural practices, products and perspectives
  • identify the challenges and achievements of the culture(s) and society(ies) under study
  • analyze the values of the culture(s) as reflected in the decisions the society(ies) makes

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Area of Engagement: Historical Perspectives. The Historical Perspectives in Western Culture component focuses on how Western culture has evolved over time through a range of intellectual, philosophical, religious, and historical currents. A study of the development of Western culture and its past is critical to understand, appreciate or critique it. These courses provide context for the current structures of Western society and assist students in making informed decisions as citizens.

Through completion of an HP course, students should be able to

  • describe the distinctive perspectives of people who lived in the time periods or settings studied
  • analyze the relationship between the past and the present by considering the influence of the past on subsequent events, issues, and ideas
  • relate the subjects under consideration to the broader historical and cultural contexts in which they occurred
  • evaluate and interpret primary sources

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Area of Engagement: Scientific Reasoning. Scientific Reasoning courses provide experiences working with the methods of science, including hypothesis formation and testing, systematic observation, and analysis of quantitative data. Scientific reasoning–in the natural, behavioral, and social sciences–includes the ability to solve problems through the analysis of quantitative empirical data. These methods help students understand how technology and science may affect their lives in areas such as the environment, medicine, human behavior, and scientific ethics.

Through completion of an SR course, students should be able to

  • investigate and draw conclusions about scientific questions from data and using appropriate empirical methods
  • formulate and communicate questions using the scientific method
  • evaluate scientific information from popular and/or peer-reviewed sources
  • analyze ethical issues related to scientific inquiry

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Embedded Skill: Collaborative Leadership. The Collaborative Leadership component increases students’ confidence in working in groups for a shared goal and helps students develop skills and dispositions like team building, delegation, conflict resolution, and effective communication. This skill is essential in a world where problems are complex and interdependent, and where teamwork is often required to unite diverse groups behind a shared goal.

Through completion of a CL course, students should be able to

  • articulate the skills and dispositions necessary to achieve a shared goal
  • apply the skills and dispositions necessary for effective collaboration
  • explain how their strengths and weaknesses in collaboration affect the outcome of a collaborative leadership process

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Embedded Skill: Critical Thinking. Critical Thinking courses develop the lifelong intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information that is used to guide beliefs and actions. This skill helps with the ability to make sound arguments based on adequate evidence and to rationally examine and assess one’s own arguments and those of others.

Through completion of a CT course, students should be able to

  • draw conclusions by analyzing information critically
  • generate and articulate an argument supported by appropriate evidence
  • evaluate arguments for validity, bias, unchecked assumptions and/or other appropriate criteria
  • describe the effect of one’s experiences on the development of critical thinking skills

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Embedded Skill: Information Literacy. Information Literacy courses cultivate the habit of asking appropriate questions related to an information need and discovering explanations and specific answers to those questions based on evidence. Information literacy, as a methodology and a set of skills, allows and inspires individuals to be life-long learners.

Through completion of an IL course, students should be able to

  • execute a research strategy by identifying search terms and locating relevant information in a variety of resources
  • develop a research strategy by asking relevant questions and refining a research topic
  • evaluate information found through a research strategy for suitability
  • use information responsibly by following copyright laws and guidelines for referencing and citation

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________. 

Embedded Skill: Intercultural Communication. The Intercultural Communication requirement prepares students to understand the world through the eyes and words of others. Courses in this category are designed to put students in direct contact with speakers of languages other than their own, since intercultural communication is a daily reality for much of the earth’s population. This skill encourages students to analyze and reflect on the value of using multiple linguistic resources to access other cultural views.

Through completion of an IC course, students should be able to

  • identify distinctive cultural practices, products and perspectives of the cultures under discussion
  • improve their ability to communicate in a nonnative language about topics of cultural interest
  • evaluate their ability to and the importance of being able to communicate with speakers of another language

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Embedded Skill: Oral Communication. Oral Communication courses engage students in both formal and informal uses of communication. These courses equip students to comprehend, critique, and analyze information in order to be able to effectively and efficiently communicate their ideas to others. These skills enable individuals to become confident and competent speakers.

Through completion of an OC course, students should be able to

  • communicate orally in response to a prompt
  • evaluate arguments given through oral communication
  • provide credible evidence to support claims and arguments in oral communication
  • organize information logically in oral communication
  • incorporate elements to engage an audience in oral communication

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Embedded Skill: Quantitative Reasoning. The Quantitative Reasoning component focuses on how to interpret, evaluate, and use various types of quantitative information in order to support a position or argument. It includes the ability to express quantitative information visually, symbolically, numerically and verbally. These courses incorporate practice in reading and using quantitative data, in understanding quantitative evidence and in applying quantitative skills to the solution of real-life problems.

Through completion of a QR course, students should be able to

  • draw inferences, solve problems and make decisions using quantitative methods
  • communicate solutions to quantitative questions in oral or written communication that incorporates symbolic, numeric or graphical representations
  • analyze solutions to quantitative questions for accuracy, precision, suitability and/or other appropriate criteria
  • describe the value, limitations and/or implications of quantitative decision making

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Embedded Skill: Written Communication. Written Communication courses promote strong writing skills that students need in order to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize a variety of texts in a variety of disciplines. These courses teach students to write in multiple contexts, whether they are exploring and developing their own ideas, responding fairly and responsibly to the ideas and perspectives of others, or crafting polished, compelling and persuasive texts.

Through completion of a WC course, students should be able to

  • articulate an idea and formulate a thesis as appropriate to the discipline
  • identify and correct errors in grammar and/or style in written communication
  • provide credible evidence to support claims and arguments in written communication
  • organize thoughts in a logical fashion in written communication
  • incorporate elements of written communication that address the needs of a specific audience in written communication

These objectives will be met through the following assignments and activities:  ________.

Last Updated: 8/4/14