Developing a Course Syllabus and Class Policies

By TILT Staff

How would you introduce your course to your students? What are the policies that students need to observe to succeed in your class? What do you expect from you students and what can they expect from you?

A complete syllabus opens with the basic course information, course name, course and section numbers, meeting location and time, and the instructor contact information. After that, you can organize your syllabus in a variety of ways. Typically, you will want to include the following components:

  • Course Description - provide the description from the department, college, or university catalog and/or your vision of the course.
  • Course Text(s)
    • Include the entire citation for the course text in the following order: title, edition, author, year, publisher, ISBN.
    • Course Goals and Learning Outcomes
    • List all suitable ancillary student materials, such as Web sites, CD ROMs, or study guides that accompany textbooks.
  • Course Topics and/or Subtopics - Topics, Assignments, and due dates can be provided in a syllabus or in a separate schedule document.
  • Key Assignments and Due Dates - indicate any library research required
  • Additional Recommended Resources - List any other resources that will be used, and include complete citation information where appropriate. Indicate that these are suggested resources, but that they are not required.
  • Class Policies
  • Class Etiquette - this is particularly important for an online class
  • Grading Policies
  • Plagiarism and Cheating Policies and Consequences and any other applicable University Policies

Templates and Tools for Course Design:

To Learn More, Please View:


Shaun Beaty – TILT Director of Course Development and Instructional Technology

Peter Connor – TILT Web Content Writer and Editor