DCAL recommends including the following components in your syllabus.
Include a description of the course. This can simply be the description listed in the ORC. You may also wish to include:
- Rationale and/or goals for the course within relevant program and/or department
- Information about course prerequisites and sequencing with other courses
Learning outcomes, or objectives, are statements that concisely describe what you want your students to know, and be able to do with that knowledge, by the end of a learning experience. Refer to our guide on learning outcomes to develop them for your course, then include them in your syllabus. Note that you may also develop learning outcomes for specific units, assignments, or activities within your course and may choose to include these in your syllabus as well.
Teaching Methods & Philosophy
Help students prepare and set appropriate expectations for your course by indicating what teaching methods you will use in class, as well as the rationale behind those methods. Methods might include lecture, discussion, small group work, active learning, web-based learning, and experiential learning, among others.
Expectations & Norms
Tell students what you expect of them and what they can expect of you, both in class and outside of class. Although some expectations may seem self-evident, students will be more successful and more likely to meet your expectations when you state them explicitly. Expectations may relate to:
- Contact information and preferences
- Office hours
- Attendance and timeliness
- Class workload
- When students should complete the assigned readings related to class meetings
- Technology use in the classroom
- Technology for managing course (such as email, Canvas or other educational technology)
Consider discussing these expectations and co-developing a set of class norms with students during the first week of class.
Class Climate & Inclusivity
Include any policies and expectations relating to class climate and inclusivity. These may include:
- Acknowledging bias (e.g. in personal viewpoints, of researchers, in course materials)
- Giving and receiving feedback
You may also wish to include information about resources available on campus to support an inclusive climate.
Texts & Materials
Share with students what books, videos, Library Course Reserves, and other materials they will need for class and how they can access these materials. Be sure to indicate which materials are required and which are optional. You may also wish to explain why these materials have been chosen and how you expect to use them during the course. For courses where materials may evolve during the term, establish clear expectations for how these materials will be shared in a timely and appropriate manner for students to adequately prepare for class.
Assessment & Grading
Students want to know how they will be assessed in your course and understand what they must do to be successful. This section of your syllabus should contain the following components:
- Activities: A list of graded activities along with the weight of each activity
- Computation: An explanation of how you will compute final grades
- Evaluation Criteria: A description of the criteria you will use to evaluate student work
- Policies: All grading-related policies, such as for late work, extra credit, or redoing assignments
- Communication: Information about how students will know where they stand in the course, and how they should address questions or concerns about grading
As appropriate, list additional services that the students in your course might wish to use to support their learning. These might include:
Academic Skills Center (ASC): Open to the entire Dartmouth community, the ASC assists students in achieving their academic goals through tutoring and learning skills trainings.
Research Center for Writing, and Information Technology (RWIT): RWIT is a free service dedicated to helping members of the Dartmouth community develop more effective strategies for generating and organizing their ideas, finding and evaluating research sources, and presenting and revising compositions in a variety of media.
Dartmouth College Library: The Dartmouth College Library provides support through subject area specialization, course materials and reserves, reservable learning spaces, workshops & classes for students, research, scholarly publication, copyright, media, book arts, and more. The Library's Research Guides by subject area and your discipline's subject librarian are sources of specialized help for your course and students.
Including a course calendar of assignments, assessments, and other requirements helps students plan their time so they can meet the demands of your course. Students benefit from as much advance notice as possible. If you plan to adjust the course schedule during the term, please let students know this up front, and indicate how and when you will communicate these changes to students.
You may wish to include specific details about each assignment or assessment here, or provide just general information in the syllabus to be supplemented with specific details for each assignment at a later time.
In planning your course schedule, please consult the Holy Day Calendar and the dates of significant campus events including Homecoming, Winter Carnival, and Green Key. These observances and events may impact student attendance in your class.
Dartmouth Policies & Syllabus Statements
There are several institutional policies, in addition to information that explains these policies, that all syllabi should include. You may wish to include a personal statement or additional information about how students should interpret these policies in relation to your course. Additional statements about religious observances, accessibility, diversity & inclusion, mental health & wellness, and Title IX are also recommended. These policies and sample statements are outlined below.