No single syllabus format or content applies to every university course. However, a number of components can make the course syllabus more informative, useful and engaging. The course syllabus serves as a contract between you and your students and can help when restructuring or revisiting your course. It is also a historical record that documents the course structure and procedures and can help with an external review of your teaching. Inclusion of the following components will help ensure that your syllabus serves these functions. The suggested components below reflect the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles.
Last updated: December 7, 2023
To accompany this resource, we have developed a PDF checklist that includes the criteria and recommendations listed on this webpage. Please also refer to your Faculty/department for templates or other applicable statements to include.
Overall structure and organization
Your syllabus should be structured in the following four sections (click on each for more details):
Some notes on style
- Write in a positive tone that is respectful and inviting
- Use an active voice and in first or second person
- Ensure the purpose and value of the course is described as a series of opportunities rather than a series of hurdles
- Communicate high expectations and confidence of success
- Clearly organize the document using headings and legible, accessible fonts
- Use purposeful and visually appealing images
- Provide both an electronic and hardcopy versions
General course information
- Course name, department, number, section, dates/times and location(s)
- Office hours, locations, contact information, website and/or Brightspace, and communication protocol (see post on course communications and office hours)
- Course prerequisites and how the course fits into university programs
- Instructor bio and teaching statement (background, teaching and research experience)
- Opportunities for students to provide feedback: early, mid-term, and CES
Intended Learning Outcomes
Course-level and unit-level ILOs are:
- clearly articulated so students know what to do to be successful
- framed with action verbs and are appropriately pitched
Assessment and activities
- Course schedule is listed with unit-level ILOs
- Include major topics, questions, and dates
- Learning activities are aligned with assessment and ILOs
- Learning activities derive from evidence-based practices, are active and provide timely formative feedback
- Assessments are aligned with ILOs
- Summative assessments are clearly described, percentages are assigned, and ILOs are explained with examples
- Formative assessments are aligned with summative assessments
- Assessments are effectively spaced out and sequenced, with multiple ways to submit
- Formative assessments frequently provide sufficient practice opportunities
- Grading information is provided
- Rubrics for assignments are provided or indicated
- Study guides and other aids are provided to support learning
Required Readings and Materials
- Required readings are included with complete citations, price, and where available are accessible to students prior to course start
- Explain reasoning for why required readings were chosen
- List any additional resources required, approximate costs and purposes
University statements and supports
Attendance and absences
Accessibility and capturing of video content
Academic Integrity Pledge:
Generative Artificial Intelligence
The University of Victoria (UVic) encourages innovative teaching practices and supports instructors who may like to adopt new pedagogical approaches and learning technologies. Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is a form of machine learning with the capabilities to produce text, images, video, music, code, etc. Using machine learning algorithms, GenAI can generate content requested by a human user based on prompts. GenAI tools are rapidly evolving and becoming more widely available. Harnessed appropriately and ethically, this technology can offer exciting new approaches to learning and teaching and prepare students to engage with GenAI tools beyond the post-secondary education context.
It is important that students adhere to the Copyright Act, which provides legal protection to original work (written, recorded and artistic work including communications). Copyright protection exists as soon as a work is expressed by a fixed format (books, class notes, emails, pictures etc).
Class recording (Echo360)
Instructors are not required to record their classes. In the case of absences, you can encourage students to get notes from other students, provide students with PowerPoint slides or other digital course materials, or offer to meet with students during office hours to review miss session(s). While recording lectures are not required, students find recordings beneficial to their learning.
The new video platflorm, Echo360, will provide the learning technology support necessary for class recording. Echo360, a replacement for Kaltura, has a strong record as a reliable and effective video platform that we anticipate will provide improved performance and functionality. LTSI is working jointly with University Systems to offer support for in-class video recording.
In accordance with BC Privacy legislation, students should be informed if a class is being recorded and for what purpose.
Please be advised that, by logging into UVic’s learning systems or interacting with online resources, and course-related communication platforms, you are engaging in a university activity.
All interactions within this environment are subject to the university expectations and policies. Any concerns about student conduct may be reviewed and responded to in accordance with the appropriate university policy.
To report concerns about online student conduct: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a faculty or staff member you may be the first person to see the signs that a student is in distress or they may have come to you for help. You are a vital link to connect students with resources.
University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS)
Additional student supports
Here are a list of suggested resources to include:
- Adapted from: Grunert O’Brien, J. (2008). The course syllabus: A learning-centered approach (2 ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, and Preparing Your Course Syllabus by Marty Wall
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL): https://mtsac.libguides.com/udl/syllabus