SUNY Potsdam

Abstract Algebra II

MATH 672

Spring 2000

School of [insert]

Math. Dept.

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Course Syllabus

Contents of Page:

Course Information
Instructor Information
Texts, Readings and Materials

Course Description/Objectives
Course Calendar/Schedule
Course Polices

Course Information

Meeting Time:

Meeting Place:

Credit Hours:

Permission of Instructor

General Education Requirement:

Course Reference Number:

Instructor Information

[Full name, title]


Office Hours:

Office Phone:

Home Phone: {if used also list restrictions, e.g., "No calls between 10:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. please."

Texts, Readings and Materials
{include the title, author, date (and edition), publisher, cost, where available. (often it is appropriate to indicate why the particular text was chosen and/or how extensively it will be used).

Supplementary reading(s)
in addition to the detailed bibliographic information about the readings, the syllabus should indicate whether the readings are required or only recommended, and whether the readings are on reserve in the library or available for purchase in the bookstore. Sometimes instructor make their own books available to students. If this is the case for the given course that information might be included in the syllabus along with whatever conditions apply to their use.

Many courses use only require print materials, however many courses require additional - sometimes expensive - materials, e.g. lab or safety equipment, art supplies, special calculators or computers, etc.

Course Description/Objectives

This area goes by many names including course description, content goals, objectives. The bare minimum should be repeat the description in the college catalog - assuming that it describes the course with some accuracy. A paragraph describing the general content of the course - and even a sentence or two on why the course is important - would not be excessive. Information about Instructional methods, e.g. large lecture with small discussion groups, may also be included here.

The inclusion of general course goals (e.g., the learning and application of the general principles of ... or the development of the skill of ... or the development of a more positive attitude toward...) can help orient the students to the purpose of the course, the instructors expectations etc.

Course Calendar/Schedule

This is a daily or weekly schedule of topics to be covered. If you are concerned about the legal ramifications of departing from the schedule include a statement that the schedule is tentative and subject to change depending upon the progress of the class. If we expect students to meet our deadlines, to plan their work, we must give them the information needed for such planning.

The calendar or schedule should also include the dates for exams, quizzes, or other means of assessment. If the evaluation of students does not take place in a group the syllabus could say "to be scheduled individually.

The calendar should also include due dates for major assignments. For example, when a paper is due, if the topic has to be approved, when; if an outline or draft is an interim step, when it is due.

Finally, any required special events need to be included in the calendar, e.g., a lecture by a visiting speaker, a dramatic or musical performance, a field trip.

Course Policies

The syllabus should include some statement about attendance (is it required, will students who attend regularly be given a break if the grade is borderline?) and about lateness, at least if it is penalized.

Class Participation
In the medieval lecture hall, class participation was not an issue, but if students are to learn to apply analyze, synthesize, etc. they need to be active. Such approaches are contrary to the experiences--and preferences--of many students. If active participation is expected, the syllabus needs to say so. It also needs to explain how the participation will be graded.

Missed Exams or Assignments
Since these affect grades, they are of interest to students. Syllabi should inform the students whether exams and assignments can be mad up: statements regarding earning extra credit should also be included if that is an option.

Lab Safety/Health
In some courses these issues can literally be a matter of life or death. Even if detailed materials are handed out early in the course, the syllabus should include a short statement about the importance of these issues and indicate that more detailed information will follow.

Academic Dishonesty
Sometimes this is treated as a separate area. The syllabus should address questions related to cheating and plagiarism. This is treated in detail in the college catalog, it is sufficient for the syllabus to simply refer to students to the catalog. Many students actually do not know what constitutes plagiarism. We owe it to the students to explain what is considered to be plagiarism or cheating.

Available Support Services
Most college courses have available to the students a considerable variety of instructional support services. We often bemoan the fact that the students do not avail themselves of these services. Perhaps this is because we do not draw attention to the possibilities. The library is probable the oldest resource, and perhaps still the richest. Including a brief statement in the syllabus identifying collections, journals, abstracts, audio or video tapes, etc. which the library has which are relevant to the course would be appropriate. Making students aware of Student Support Services and Tutoring Services can be of real benefit to students. Another service to make students aware of is the Student Computing Labs and the Help Desk.