The course syllabus has long been the standard means of providing students with the information they need about the course they are planning to take. Students deserve to have access to sufficient information to know what to expect from courses (and instructors) and what will be expected of them while they still have the opportunity to drop a course without financial or academic penalty.
There should consistent practices in the methods that course syllabi, and their content, are distributed, as well as how the information on circulated syllabi can be changed when necessary.
This policy pertains to all credit-bearing courses offered by the University of British Columbia including directed studies, special topics, fieldwork, and practicum courses. Graduate-level theses and dissertation courses are exempt.
1) Course instructors are required to provide a syllabus to students registered in their course section.
2) Recognizing that a syllabus may be a creative and personal statement of teaching philosophy and style, this policy does not impose a specific template or organizational framework, although academic units responsible for specific educational programs may choose to do so. This policy only pertains to the mandatory elements of a syllabus and does not address the many ways syllabi can be used in the educational context.
3) The syllabus shall inform students about the requirements and expectations of a course or course section.
4) Course instructors must provide the syllabus within the first week of class unless the syllabus will be created in consultation with the student(s) at the beginning of a course section, in which case the syllabus must be finalized prior to the last date by which students are permitted to drop the course without receiving a “W” on their transcript.
5) The requirements of a syllabus (below) can be met in one or more dated digital documents or websites, as appropriate. A paper copy will be provided to any student who requests one.
6) Academic units may also specify the inclusion of additional or modified policies or statements in their syllabi, provided these do not conflict with University policies and regulations, which shall take precedence.
7) A syllabus includes, at a minimum, the following content areas:
- The course title and description (as in the Academic Calendar or, for courses without a published description, a brief representative one) and any prerequisites or co-requisites;
- The name of the course instructor and details of when and by what means students may contact them; at the discretion of the course instructor the names of any other student-facing members of teaching staff such as teaching assistants involved in the offering of the course (if not available on the Student Service Centre), and details of when and by what means students may contact them;
- A description of the course structure (e.g., lecture, lab, tutorial, flipped classroom, mixed mode; contact hours per week; day, time, and location of classes or other activities (if not available on the Student Service Centre));
- A proposed course schedule including a list of topics;
- Course-level learning outcomes or objectives, i.e., what is to be achieved and assessed in the course (more details of module, week, or class learning outcomes or objectives may be provided during the course);
- A description of the learning activities the students will engage in, in order to achieve the stated learning outcomes or objectives (e.g., participation in class, written analysis of case studies, required readings, participation in online discussions, term papers, presentations, lab and field activities);
- List of required learning materials including, among others, textbooks, reading packages, online assessment tools, lab and field trip manuals; and an estimate of associated costs for materials and activities;
- Methods used to assess achievement of stated learning outcomes or objectives, including the weighting of each component in the final grade; the class policies on re-grading of marked work and on both late submission and missed in-class assessments (in accordance with the Academic Calendar language on Grading Practices); and the schedule of assessments;
- Information on any resources to support student learning that are supported by the academic unit responsible for the course;
- The following statement about the University’s values and policies with a link to the website senate.ubc.ca/policies-resources-support-student-success) where details are provided:
UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles but recognizes that sometimes crises arise and so there are additional resources to access including those for survivors of sexual violence. UBC values respect for the person and ideas of all members of the academic community. Harassment and discrimination are not tolerated nor is suppression of academic freedom. UBC provides appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities and for religious, spiritual and cultural observances. UBC values academic honesty and students are expected to acknowledge the ideas generated by others and to uphold the highest academic standards in all of their actions. Details of the policies and how to access support are available here.
8) Nothing in the syllabus can contravene any Academic Calendar regulation or University policy. In resolving any discrepancy, Academic Calendar regulations and University policies take precedence.
9)a. Should the course instructor wish to make a material change to the syllabus after the last day by which students are permitted to drop the course without receiving a ‘W’ on the transcript, the course instructor must explain the rationale to the class. The course instructor must ensure that registered students have access to the changed details in a revised and dated version of the syllabus and should send electronic communication to students to alert them that a change has been made.
9)b. Any student who sees the change to the syllabus as detrimental to their academic progress is entitled to discuss the case with the course instructor and seek a resolution. Where student and instructor cannot agree, students are encouraged to take their protest to the head of the department concerned and then to the dean of the faculty responsible for the course in accordance with the Academic Calendar regulations on protests for academic standings.
A link to the abstract of Senate Policy V-130 can be found here.