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Online Syllabus Criteria

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Online Course Syllabus Criteria

The course syllabus can be viewed as a contract between the instructor and the student. Therefore, it is very important for the syllabus to address as many issues as possible and to be written in a manner that is easy to understand. It is imperative the syllabus and the start here module align so there are no discrepancies. A complete course syllabus should include but is not limited to the following:

It is recommended that instructors be as specific as possible when designing a course syllabus. Omitting a policy or including a vague policy may result in difficult situations with students and/or supervisors.
  • Course title, number, section number and credit hours
  • Semester and year
  • Instructor’s name
  • Pre-requisites or co-requisites, if they exist
  • Instructor’s office location (if applicable), office hours (including online hours), phone number, and class meeting time, if any are asynchronous. Provide the most realistic information for contact for the student.
  • Textbook(s) – required and/or optional
  • Course description (may use the description from the NMSU/NMSU-A Catalog)
  • Course Student Learning Objectives only
  • Tentative calendar of activities, including dates for papers, projects, tests, and field trips (Note: Instructors teaching hybrid courses should also include the dates for all class sessions which meet face-to-face.)
  • Instructor’s courses should include instructions for accessing all relevant course materials online, software requirements, and basic PC skills required.
  • New Mexico HED Core Competencies, if applicable. (These may be obtained from instructor’s division head. At least one of the core competencies should be related to a course objective.)
  • Attendance policy – including penalties
  • Exactly what items are required for grades for the course (how many exams, term papers, reports, etc.) and when these items are due
  • What weight is given to each item in determining the final grade
  • Grading scale for course grade
  • Late/incomplete assignment policy, including penalties
  • Make-up policy for missed/late/incomplete assignments/tests, including penalties
  • Detailed cheating and plagiarism policy as it relates to the specific online courses
  • NMSU-A Mission Statement: The mission of New Mexico State University Alamogordo is to provide quality learning opportunities for individuals in the diverse communities we serve.
  • Link to the campus emergency guidebook (http://nmsua.edu/emergency-guidebook/)
  • Link to Non-Discriminatory Statement (http://nmsua.edu/student-services/nmsu-disability-accommodation-and-discrimination-information/)
  • Important dates such as last date to withdraw, especially for classes with a different schedule
  • Netiquette statement or a link to one.
  Netiquette Guidelines for Online Classroom Communication Note: All faculty teaching online courses should use netiquette guidelines. If a member of the faculty wishes to use additional guidelines for their particular course, they are welcome to do so.
  • Always be courteous and polite to fellow students and your instructor; treat others with dignity and respect.
  • Respect user privacy – you may not use the instructor’s work or your fellow students’ work outside the class.
  • Do not use language inappropriate to the classroom and the professional workplace.
  • Threats and cyber bullying are never appropriate and will not be tolerated.
  • Putdowns, insults, or verbal slamming are never appropriate in an academic environment.
  • Be careful when using sarcasm or sarcastic humor; these frequently depend either on facial expression or tone of voice.
  • Please do not type in ALL CAPS -this is regarded as shouting and is not acceptable in class.
  • Proofread your work before sending/posting.
  Other areas to consider, if applicable:
  • Instructor policy for administrative withdrawals
  • Student’s responsibility when withdrawing from a course
  • Instructor’s limited prerogative to change syllabus schedule in writing and/or by announcement (e.g., the instructor reserves the right to change or modify any of the above statements/ policies with one week’s advance notice in class)
  • Special data concerning programs, such as non-transferability of Occupational Education in Business (OEBU) course, etc.
  • Lab safety and/or hazardous material statement, if applicable
  • A notice reminding dual-credit students that they are subject to the same policies/procedures which apply to all regular college students
  • Statement reinforcing the syllabus’ status as a contract (e.g., By choosing to remain in this course, the student automatically accepts the statements/policies set forth in this document)