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course dev-02

Tips and suggestions to strengthen your syllabus


Faculty commonly update their course syllabi every term with new due dates and new content, but how often do we revise our policy statements? Below are some suggestions that can make course expectations clear to students and help faculty avoid potential problems.


If you require students to attend your course tell them and make it tied to their grade.

  • Attendance is required. If you must miss a class, make arrangements to get notes & materials from a classmate (or it is your responsibility to download material from Blackboard). If possible, notify instructor prior to absence. Beginning with the second absence, 5 points will be deducted for each absence.
  • Regular attendance is expected and activities completed in class will earn points toward your final grade. You will miss these points if you are not here to complete them.

Group Projects

If you have group projects in your course, be sure to communicate how group members will be graded. Will everyone get the same grade? Will you assign individual grades based on your observations? Will you have group members evaluate each other and assign points based on that review?

  • This course includes group projects and activities. Each group member is expected to contribute equally to the group project. Unless stated otherwise, each group member will receive the same grade for the project.
  • Students engaged in group projects will receive individual grades rather than group grades. Specific procedures for implementing this policy will be the prerogative of the instructor. Consideration for the grade will be based on a student’s individual contribution to the overall project, participation in the group activities, ability to work effectively in the team and the overall quality of the final product.

Late Assignments

The request to submit an assignment late comes up every term. Consider these sample statements to help you manage those requests.

  • Late assignments will be accepted only if you have discussed your situation with the instructor prior to the due date and an extension is given. Extensions are given only in extreme conditions. 10% of the total points will be deducted from scores on assignments received after due date. Assignments can be turned in early if needed.
  • Late assignments will not be accepted unless medical documentation is provided to account for the missed deadline.

You can also add columns in Blackboard Grade Center to help you track items like attendance, participation, etc. so student ca see that you are monitoring these items and holding them accountable.

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