Syllabus, SLOs, Assessment


Requirements for a Course Syllabus

After reviewing ACCJC (WASC) accreditation standards for course syllabi, the Academic Senate has determined that we must have course syllabi for all our active courses available to students and ACCJC visiting teams.

Current (June 2014) ACCJC Standard regarding Syllabi:

Standard II.A.3. The institution identifies and regularly assesses learning outcomes for courses, programs, certificates and degrees using established institutional procedures. The institution has officially approved and current course outlines that include student learning outcomes. In every class section students receive a course syllabus that includes learning outcomes from the institution’s officially approved course outline.

As a result, the Academic Senate is recommending to all department chairs that faculty submit the syllabi for all courses they teach each semester to their department administrative assistant. Below are templates to follow as well as statements you could include from Student Accessibility Services. 


Accessing up-to-date SLOs for your course:

The most up-to-date SLOs for your courses are available on eLUMEN. (From this link, log-in as you would to access the MyCOM portal or access eLUMEN in the portal from the "Quick Links" Menu.) Follow the steps here to locate your SLOs to copy and paste into your syllabus.  

Course SLOs were previously available from the Schedule of Classes as noted below; however, if the course outline has been updated in eLumen in the last year, they are no longer up to date. PLEASE USE THE COURSE OUTLINES IN eLUMEN EXPLAINED ABOVE.

THE INFORMATION BELOW WITH LINKS TO COURSE INFORMATION IS NO LONGER UP TO DATE:

NO:  Under "Helpful Links" on the right side of the page, you will find "Course Information". Click on Course Information, choose from the Alphabet links at the top and then click on the course you are interested in.  

NO:  Alternatively, you can also access this information from the searchable schedule of classes. Click on the title of the course you are looking for (not the CRN). 


Syllabus 101 Flex Presentation Fall 2016 Materials:

Fall 2016 Flex Presentation Powerpoint

Inaccessible Sample Syllabus 1- Problems noted

Inaccessible Sample Syllabus 2 - Problems noted

SAS Student Syllabus Statement for Testing, Notetaking & Audio Recording  08-13-2016

SAS Student Testing Appointment Policy 08-13-2016

SAS Faculty Testing, Notetaking & Audio Recording Policy  8-13-2016

SAS Faculty Testing Policy & Syllabus Recommendations  08-12-2016


Letter Grade Default

Courses that have an option of a Letter Grade or Pass (P)/ No Pass (NP) will automatically default to the Letter Grade option. Students who would like Pass/No Pass grading have until 30% of the course to change their grading option. Courses that are graded only with Pass/No Pass as stated in their Course Outline will default to Pass/No Pass. Course syllabi should be revised to reflect this change.

The Enrollment Services Calendar page in the college website lists the "Last Day to Request P/NP Grade for full-term classes" and the last days for short term classes are listed in the Class Schedule.


What should I include in my syllabus?

Your syllabus is first of all your contract with your students. If you don't use the Senate's syllabus template above, it should include all the information they need to be successful. Syllabi outline the course objectives and policies and explain what new skills or knowledge the student will gain. The following is a broad guideline.  Include what makes sense to you for your class.

Part I: General Information

  • Include the general name, units, semester, date and location of course
  • Include information on you and your availability to the student:
    • your name and how a student should address you
    • your office location
    • office hours
    • office telephone
    • email address etc.
  • If a student needs to turn something into you after hours, where should he leave it? 
  • Offer assistance and explain methods of communication outside of office hours.

Part II: Course Description

  • Provide a description of your course. This can include what is written in the catalog and/or be more specific to your section.
  • List any pre-requisites and/or co-requisites
  • Detail the official course student learning outcomes (THESE ARE LISTED IN THE COURSE OUTLINE OF RECORD and also in the Course Information Section of the College Website): Course information including SLOs

Part III: What can students expect during class?

  • How will you teach the class?
  • What activities will be involved?
  • Will the student need access to a computer, email and/or a class website?
  • How important is class attendance and participation?
  • Will you call on students whether or not they volunteer to answer a question?
  • How much homework can students expect?
  • When are students expected to complete readings?
  • Will group work/projects/presentations be assigned?
  • Are there safety issues students should be aware of?
  • If you have issues regarding arriving late or eating in class, state them here.

Part IV: Textbooks and Materials

  • Required Texts or materials (include publishers, dates and editions)
  • Recommended Texts or materials

Part V: Schedules

  • Provide a schedule of topics to be covered in class
  • A schedule of assignments
    • Include assignment criteria, submission guidelines and deadlines
  • List any other course requirements
  • A schedule of exams
  • Midterm and other exam dates
  • Finals dates and locations especially if different from regularly scheduled class times
  • IMPORTANT DROP DATES

Part VI: Grading

  • Which activities will be graded?
  • What kind of activities will be evaluated?
  • How will the various assignments be weighted?
  • Will you use points or grades?
  • Remind them often about the deadline for choosing the Pass/No pass option

Part VII: Outline your expectations and course policies

  • Is attendance required or part of a participation component of your grading policy?
  • Is there a penalty for late work? Will you extend a deadline for any reason?
  • Are there make-up options for missed homework, tests or exams?
  • Will you provide opportunities for extra-credit?
  • What happens if a student is very sick?
  • What are your policies regarding cheating; plagiarism and general student
  • Conduct? You can direct them to the college policies outlined in the catalog and the schedule.
  • Offer ADA accommodations as needed.

Part VIII: Expectations go both ways!

  • What do you expect from students?
  • What can students expect from you as the instructor?
    • You could go over common misconceptions about what the student can expect from you as an instructor.
    • An example of these are outlined quite nicely on the Univeristy of Minnesota's website under:

Part IX: Other helpful Advice

  • You could give some advice on how to be successful; special methods of studying or preparing for class and exams.
  • Are there special (Lab) rules or procedures?
  • List links to campus resources for tutoring and other academic support.
  • Provide glossaries of specialized vocabulary for the course.
  • Provide references and online resources.
  • Offer additional readings at an easier or more challenging level.
  • Provide samples of past exams at the beginning, so students know what is expected by the end of the class.

Part X: Student Contact Exchange

  • You could include space for students to exchange contact information of classmates from whom they can find out about missed assignments or with whom they could study.

Part XI: For courses with an online component

  • If you will have a course website or an online component of your course –
    • how will students access it and what technology requirements are there. 
    • Is there a lab on campus where students can access your website if they don't have a computer? 
    • If you have a WebCT course - who can provide technical assistance?
    • Will you have online office hours?
  • Student work and participation expectations:
    • Will you publish student work online?
    • Will students be expected to contribute to a class blog?
    • Will students be expected to contribute to threaded discussion lists or bulletin boards?
    • If any of these are true, please be clear as to your expectations regarding the content of their online contributions. 

Helpful Syllabus Links


Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes (SLOs) are defined as what the student will be able to do by the successful completion of the course or program (certificate, degree or service). They are the overarching attitudes, skills, and concepts that the student will acquire by the end of the semester.  SLOs give more information than grades do about how well the students are achieving these individual attitudes/skills/concepts at the end of the course.  They are part of the contract you make with your students – and tells them what you expect them to be able to do.  These outcomes should be articulated at a broad college-wide or discipline level and then more specifically at the course level.  Course level SLOs (CSLOs) from the Course Outline of Record should be included in the syllabi.  They should guide our assessments of student progress.  The College’s SLO webpage offers resources to support SLO assessment, and each division has a SLOAC Committee division representative available to provide 1:1 support with SLO assessment. 

All courses are assessed at least once every 3 years according to discipline/department assessment schedules, but more frequent assessment means more useful information.  Assessment is only the first part of the SLO assessment cycle, and this should be followed by broader discussions about assessment findings in order to determine if any changes need to be implemented based on the results. 

The College uses eLUMEN as the tool to evaluate course-level SLOs. Course-level SLOs are then mapped to Program SLOs and College-Wide SLOs, and these higher-level SLOs are assessed indirectly through mapping.  


College Learning Outcomes

In January of 2009, the Academic Senate approved a set of 5 broad SLOs for the college as a whole.  These are as follows:

  1. Written, Oral and Visual Communication: Communicate effectively in writing, orally and/or visually using traditional and/or modern information resources and supporting technology.
  2. Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning: Locate, identify, collect, and organize data in order to then analyze, interpret or evaluate it using mathematical skills and/or the scientific method.
  3. Critical Thinking: Differentiate between facts, influences, opinions, and assumptions to reach reasoned and supportable conclusions.
  4. Problem Solving: Recognize and identify the components of a problem or issue, look at it from multiple perspectives and investigate ways to resolve it.
  5. Information Literacy: Formulate strategies to locate, evaluate and apply information from a variety of sources - print and/or electronic.

Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and SLOs

The College is currently responding to ACCJC’s recommendations for strengthening course-level SLO assessment, and our midterm report on this is due in 2021.