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Syllabus Instructions

Prepared by Micah N. Strait and the Curriculum Committee

Updated 03/29/2021

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Foremost, thank you for working diligently to ensure that Snow College’s curriculum is up to date and appealing to students. It is no exaggeration to say that the courses you help shape will shape our students’ minds and lives. Your work in the Syllabus system will influence the lives of a countless number of individuals.

The following is an explanation of the fields that you will encounter in the Syllabus system and requirements for each field. If anything below is unclear, please let your division Curriculum Committee representative or the Curriculum Committee chair know, and we will try to make things a little more clear for you. For GE syllabi, consult with your GE Committee representative.

General advice for creating master syllabi: Master course syllabi have several intended audiences, including other Snow College instructors, accrediting bodies, transfer institutions, and students. It is critical to balance these audiences when revising or creating syllabi.

On a final introductory note, please involve your dean, chair, and committee representatives as much as possible. They have valuable information about the expectations of approving committees and the state of your discipline in the region. They also have information that will help shape your course so that it is appealing to students and timely relative to the shifting demographics in Utah and your discipline. Your dean, chair, and committee representatives understand Snow College’s programs and can guide you in fitting your course into those programs where applicable.

Step 1. Syllabus Creation

The first step in creating or reviewing a syllabus is to insert the syllabus into the system. To do this, launch or run the Argos dashboard titled “Syllabus - Creation (MNS).”

When the dashboard appears, you will see a box entitled “Your in-progress syllabi.” The syllabi that appear here are the syllabi that you have created and are in progress or syllabi others in your department or division have created. Do not create a new syllabus for your course if there is already one there for that course. If it is assigned to another faculty member, call the Office of Academic Affairs and have the syllabus transferred to you if you have been assigned to that course.

There are two options for you. First, click the “Copy a Syllabus” button if you want to copy from an existing syllabus. This will let you copy a whole syllabus if you only want to make minor changes. This is helpful for courses that are up for five-year review.  The second option is for you to click the “Create a Syllabus” button if you are creating a completely new course or would like to start from scratch with an existing course.

Copy a Syllabus

On the “Copy a Syllabus” form, you will need to search for the syllabus you want to copy. Enter the four character subject abbreviation (often referred to as the course “Prefix”) in the first upper box and the course number in the bottom box. Then press the magnifying glass icon.

Please be aware that in the search results the most recent version of the course is the syllabus with the highest “SYLL_ID” number, found in the left-most column. This usually means that it is the most complete version of the course unless someone began a revision and then decided not to submit it. Once you select the syllabus you want to copy, select the faculty member who will “author” the syllabus, i.e. the faculty member who will be completing the syllabus.

Then press “Copy Selected Syllabus.” If you want to copy another syllabus, click the recycle button.

Create a Syllabus

On the “Copy a Syllabus” form, select the division and department that will offer the course. Then select the subject or prefix and enter a course number and course title. Please note, Banner only allows 30 characters. Finally, select the faculty member who will be the syllabus author, i.e. the faculty member who will be entering the data into the Syllabus database.

Then press “Create New Syllabus.” If you want to create another syllabus, click the recycle button.

Step 2. Working with Your Syllabi

Once you have created your syllabus, you will want to enter information about the syllabus by launching or running the Argos dashboard called “Syllabus (MNS).” Similar to the “Syllabus - Creation” dashboard, the welcome screen presents your in-progress syllabi and the in-progress syllabi in your division depending on your role in the system.

Once you have selected the syllabus you want to work on, you will see the “Proceed with Selected Syllabus” button on the left. Press the button and you will see the syllabus editing form.

Before we proceed with an explanation of the fields you will see, please remember that the information you enter will not save unless you press the save button. Press it often and remember to press it before you submit the syllabus for review.

Syllabu Save Button

  • Division. In the “Division” dropdown, select the academic division in which the course will be housed. 
  • Department. In the “Dept.” dropdown, select the academic department in which the course will be housed. 
  • Subject. In the “Subject” dropdown, select the course subject or prefix designation.
  • Course #. Enter the four-digit course number identifier. Remember that under Regents policy R470, we should give similar courses similar course numbers. Also, ensure that the course number fits into the numbering system given by Regents policy R470-5.
  • Title. Enter Course title. The title should identify the course subject as efficiently as possible. Roman numerals or phrases such as “Introduction to” should be used to indicate a course level or position within a sequence. No two courses may have the exact same title unless they are cross-listed courses, which means that they are the same course but have different subject designators. Remember, only 30 characters will fit into Banner. If a course title is over 30 characters, the Registrar’s Office will need to abbreviate the course title.
  • GE Area. Select the GE area this course will meet in the “GE Area” dropdown. If the course is not a GE course, do not select a GE area.
  • Catalog Description. Enter an exciting and appealing explanation of the course. As we intend students to read this section, it should be direct, informative, and as free of jargon as possible. Please write 1-4 grammatically correct sentences. Indicate if a course is a prerequisite in a series of courses (The Curriculum Committee pays close attention to catalog descriptions.) Catalog descriptions should include cross-listed courses, repeatability, and fees. It is important to note that transfer institutions will read the catalog description for articulation purposes. Though many may request the master syllabus, many do not.
  • Justification. Explain why this course should be taught at Snow College. Include a statement identifying courses most like this course at other USHE institutions. The following are examples of common reasons: (1) course fulfills a General Education requirement; (2) is required for a specific major or degree; (3) is required for certification or employment; (4) is required for transfer to another institution; (5) reflects a unique strength of the college or faculty; (6) responds to a unique need of the college; and (7) responds to a unique need of the community. If the course fulfills a requirement for an A.A.S. degree, (1) indicate that an appropriate advisory committee has recommended that the course be adopted, (2) explain how the course will contribute to employability, and (3) summarize evidence that this is so.
  • Prerequisites. Identify these by course prefix and number. Indicate whether an equivalent course or experience is acceptable. If a test score is required or may serve as an equivalent, specify both the test and the score. “Permission of the instructor” is a useful catchall as long as such permission is granted judiciously. If a student must have certain physical abilities to successfully complete the course, these must be specified as well. Please confer with the ADA Coordinator to determine the precise language in which a physical prerequisite should be announced.
  • Corequisites. Corequisite courses must be taken when a student takes this course. Identify these by course prefix and number. Indicate whether an equivalent course or experience is acceptable. If a test score is required or may serve as an equivalent, specify both the test and the score. “Permission of the instructor” is a useful catchall as long as such permission is granted judiciously. If a student must have certain physical abilities to successfully complete the course, these must be specified as well. Please confer with the ADA Coordinator to determine the precise language in which a physical prerequisite should be announced.
  • Course Content.

    Provide a general outline of course topics, themes, and/or learning tasks. Remember that this section should be specific enough to distinguish this course from other similar courses and inform potential transfer institutions what students learn in the course but general enough that any qualified instructor may use it to create individual course syllabi. Transfer institutions carefully consider content when considering articulation, so this section should include content that any student who takes this course from any instructor will be exposed to. (You may wish to work from a course schedule or a textbook table of contents, but beware of simply creating a "laundry list."
         As part of this section, please also explain how the content of this course addresses diversity. (Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.) For example, there is an easy tendency to teach a course from one narrow perspective, but such tendencies compromise student learning and engagement. In order to develop the course syllabus beyond narrow or exclusive perspectives, consider the following questions: How, specifically, can you assure that the content of this course is representative of diverse perspectives and ideas? How do you encourage students of a variety of backgrounds to find relevance in the course materials/content? What, specifically, do you do to ensure that this content matters to all students?

  • Semester to Begin. Select the semester this syllabus will govern the course.
  • Five-year Review. This is the semester the course must be reviewed.
  • End Semester. This is the last semester the course can be offered without a review.
  • Syllabus Type. Designate whether this course is a new course, a five-year review syllabus, or is a modification and a five-year review.
  • Contact Information.
    • Credits. The number of credit hours the course is worth. Compute credit hours according to the following formulae. One standard 50 minute period = 1 hour. One lecture/discussion hour may count for no more than one credit hour; it may count for less. Two laboratory or practicum hours may count for no more than one credit hour; they may count for less. For more information, see the “Academic Credit” section in the “Academic Policies” part of the Catalog.
    • Lecture. Enter the number of hours the course meets in a single week for lecture
    • Lab. Enter the number of hours the course meets in a single week for lab or practicum. Lecture and lab hours must correspond appropriately with credit hours.
    • Repeatable. Designate with a “Y” when the course may be repeated for credit. This means that the course can count for credit each time a student passes the course. This is usually not checked. If you wish to limit the number of times a student will receive credit for a course, enter the limiting text in the box below “Repeatable.”
    • Variable credit? Check this box if the course has a credit range. For example, check this box if students can register for this course for 1-3 credits.
    • Contact Hours. This is a calculated field for how many lecture and lab hours a course will require each week.
    • Workload. This is a calculated field that calculates the CHE assigned to the course.
    • FTE. This is a calculated field that represents the amount of a full-time faculty member’s FTE this course represents. (credits/15)
    • Max Class Size. Maximum that can ever be registered in one section. The maximum enrollment for a course is tied to pedagogy, not room size.
    • Optimum Size.
  • Semesters Offered. Mark the semester(s) this course will be taught. Note, if you mark a semester, the department is obligated to offer the course. “TBA” is an acceptable response.
  • GE Outcomes. Snow College’s General Education Outcomes are so essential to the mission of the college that virtually all courses (not only GE courses) will likely address at least one, as appropriate. In this section, explain the extent to which this course teaches to one or more of the following outcomes. (Skip any outcomes that do not apply.) The text on the left is the GE outcome. The box on the right is where you explain how students will be assessed, e.g. tests, written assignments. Please provide an explanation of how the outcome will be achieved and how it will be assessed. All GE courses will need to address outcomes 1-4. Additionally, quantitative literacy (MA) courses will address outcome 5, and English I and English II (E1 and E2) courses will address outcome 6. Labs, however, only need to address the lab knowledge area outcome. Please see your GE Committee representative with any questions.
  • GE Knowledge Area Outcomes. If this course is a GE course and you selected the GE area from the dropdown menu in the “Basic Course Information” area, the outcomes for that GE area that are active for the begin-semester you selected will appear.  The text on the left is the outcome that is associated with the selected GE area. You only need to fill in the assessment box to the right of outcome boxes. Please provide an explanation of how the outcome will be achieved and how it will be assessed.  The assessment method for each outcome must be found in the Key Performance Indicators. See GE Committee representatives for further requirements.
  • Student Learning Outcomes. These are course-specific outcomes not already mentioned in the GE Outcomes or GE Knowledge Area Outcomes sections.  First, list the outcome in the boxes to the left. Briefly describe what a successful student will know, feel, or be able to do as a result of taking this course. Be wary of outcomes that are difficult or impossible to assess.
         Finally, show how the student will demonstrate they have achieved the outcome in the boxes to the right. Explain the methods that will be used to assess achievement of the intended outcomes. The most common methods of assessment include quizzes, tests, exams, essays, portfolios, and performances. There may be others as well. The assessment method for each outcome must be found in the Key Performance Indicators.
        Snow College recognizes three distinct kinds of outcomes: cognitive, behavioral, and affective. Cognitive outcomes identify facts and concepts that students will know. Behavioral outcomes identify skills that students will be able to perform. Affective outcomes identify values that students will believe or qualities they will feel. Some courses teach to all three kinds of outcomes; other courses teach to only one or two.
  • Statement on Pedagogy (Teaching Method).Explain the specific pedagogy (method or practice of teaching) that will be used to engage students and encourage learning. For example, if the class's teaching applies particular theoretical models or high impact practices, please specifically identify and explain those here as well. Possible teaching methods include the following: lecture, group/class discussion, interactive experiences, hands-on experiences, service learning, project-based learning, critical pedagogy, etc.
         Please also include a statement here on how the teaching method(s) promote inclusivity. (Inclusion entails involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive classroom promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.) For example, consider that students are more likely to succeed when they find community in the classroom. What particular strategies does the course employ to help all students feel included? What specific pedagogical techniques are implemented to help students from a variety of backgrounds succeed? How does the course prepare students to engage effectively and inclusively with difference and diversity in the wider civic and professional world beyond the classroom? (Note: This part of the pedagogy statement is not the same thing as a general/passive “equal-opportunity” or accessibility statement. Rather, this statement is to outline active and specific teaching approaches, measures, strategies, and techniques that actively promote learning, diversity, and inclusion in the classroom.)
  • Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are assessment measures that will be used to assign a grade. These should correspond to assessment measures listed in Outcomes. Use a sliding scale to provide more flexibility for individual instructors.  If desired, enter a general statement respecting this course’s KPIs in the large box. Enter KPI percentages (low and high) in the small boxes to the right. Please do not enter a “%” in these boxes.
    • KPI Range. These two boxes show you the total percentages for the KPIs you have entered. The low side should be below 100% and while the high range should be greater than 100%.
  • Instructional Mediums. Please mark each instructional medium applicable to this course.
    • Lecture: A lecture is a traditional method of instruction where students meet weekly for a specified number of hours; students are there taught a subject by a member of the faculty.
    • Lab: A lab is an instructional activity in a setting providing specialized facilities or equipment for students to master the subject matter either by performing experiments or practicing the skills being learned. The instructor generally supervises, assists, answers questions, etc., rather than making presentations. A lab is separate from the lecture although it is often associated with a lecture.
    • Lecture/Lab: The integrated lecture/lab is a class that has some lecture and some hands-on components but does not require a separate time like a traditional lab. It is scheduled like a lecture.
    • IVC: Interactive Video Conferencing courses are taught via broadcast to distance sites around the state (including other campuses). They are generally taught like a lecture.
    • Online: Online courses are taught completely online through a learning management system or other such means. Students are not required to be physically present at a campus location.
    • Hybrid: Courses that are part online and part lecture. Students are required to be physically present on campus at least part of the time.
    • Internship: Internships are temporary, on-the-job experiences intended to help students identify how their studies in the classroom apply to the workplace. Internships are individually arranged by the student in collaboration with a faculty member in the chosen discipline and a supervisor at the workplace.
    • Workshop: A usually brief intensive educational program for a relatively small group of people that focuses on techniques and skills in a particular field.
  • Texts and Materials. Identify one or more exemplary texts to be required by the course. (The texts that are actually used may be different as long as they substantially resemble the exemplars.) In place of a date or edition, write “current edition.” 
       If students are required to purchase non-textual materials, provide a list. (Do not make the list so specific that you would be obliged to revise the Syllabus at the slightest change.) 
       If no text or materials are required, indicate that.
       You may also indicate if it is according to individual instructor’s discretion.

Step 3. Save and Review

Press the save button and then review the syllabus before you submit it for approval.

At the top of the screen, you will see a “Report Options” or “Reports” drop-down. Click the drop-down and select one of the syllabus PDFs. Then select “Run” if you are in a web browser or select the preview method you prefer (preview, save PDF, email, or print) if you are using the desktop app.

Review the syllabus and return to Argos to make the corrections as needed. The syllabus you submit should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. Remember, not only will your peers read your syllabus to help guide them in their classes, other institutions will read your syllabus during their articulation processes. The syllabus you create represents the quality of the course.

Step 4. Submit for Review

After you have reviewed and saved the syllabus, press the “Submit for Review” button. If you are sure you wish to submit the syllabus for review, click “Yes.”

Review for Deans and Chairs.

Academic Review. Your expertise and experience are vital for programs to be successful at Snow College. After you receive notification that the syllabus is there for review, please check the academic soundness of the syllabus and review the syllabus for compatibility with your division’s programs, with Snow College programs, and with the mission of Snow College.

Be sure to explain how significant changes (such as credit hour changes within courses or new courses) impact programs and how programs will be adjusted to accommodate the changes. This may require a program revision. Check with your Curriculum Committee representative for further information.

Resource Review. The Curriculum Committee acknowledges your skillful and thoughtful management of limited resources (including workload, budgets, facilities, and needs of programs, faculty, and students). As you review the course, also consider the course’s impact on your division or department’s resources. Your division or department should not be obligated to offer courses it is not financially capable of offering. Indeed, Snow College should not be thus obligated.

As you conduct this review, think of the course’s impact on the programs your division or department offers or to which it contributes. If this course is approved, for example, will it decrease the availability of required courses in a program by reallocating necessary resources? Will it require Snow College to allocate additional resources to a program, department, or division simply to maintain what was offered before the course was approved? Will it require a workload readjustment?

Broadly speaking, a program is only as academically sound as the curriculum offered. That is, if a division or department only has the resources to offer 90% of the curriculum, the program as a whole is not academically sound. Similarly, a program is only sound if it has the resources to cover all the students in that program. Students in a program can only achieve 100% of the academic outcomes of a program if the College provides enough resources to provide all the required courses.

This resource review is to ensure that this new or modified course does not take resources necessary for students to achieve in existing programs. The Curriculum Committee does not, critique, approve, or deny how resources are used. This review is simply an accountability check to ensure a review is being done.

The “Resource Statements” you provide guide the GE and Curriculum Committees in their managing of Snow College’s academic programs. The Curriculum Committee, of which the GE Committee is a subcommittee, “has the responsibility of ensuring that a sufficient selection of program requirements are offered each semester” (Curriculum Committee Constitution). This resource review helps these committees fulfill that responsibility.

In the resource statement boxes on the submission form, please explain how this course will impact the department’s resources: “N/A” or “no impact” is not an appropriate answer. Please provide an explanation that will help the approval Committees evaluate the course’s impact on Snow College’s programs. For instance, if the course is new and new faculty have been hired or have been approved to be hired, explain this. Or if the course is new and funding has been made available from a grant or other source, indicate this. If the course is currently being taught and any modifications to the course do not require additional resources, feel free to state that the course is currently being taught and no new resources are needed.

Importantly, consider the impact this course has on Snow College’s largest program: GE. Each division and most departments play a role in GE and course creation impacts resources. As such, please explain how this course will impact your department or division’s supply of its GE courses. Remember, it is important that new courses or courses under review not diminish or limit the number of GE seats available because that limits the success of the students in Snow College’s largest program.