A clear syllabus can help both you and your students avoid unwelcome surprises and to share a clear understanding of expectations. Below is a list of sample statements addressing a wide range of issues that may be relevant to your course, ranging from core issues like university policies that might apply to all courses to more class-specific issues such as fieldwork or service learning study. Feel free to use these statements as they are or to modify them for your purposes. If you would like to add or share a statement here, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCF Core Syllabus Statements
Students should familiarize themselves with UCF’s Rules of Conduct at <https://scai.sdes.ucf.edu/student-rules-of-conduct/>. According to Section 1, “Academic Misconduct,” students are prohibited from engaging in
- Unauthorized assistance: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise unless specifically authorized by the instructor of record. The unauthorized possession of examination or course-related material also constitutes cheating.
- Communication to another through written, visual, electronic, or oral means: The presentation of material which has not been studied or learned, but rather was obtained through someone else’s efforts and used as part of an examination, course assignment, or project.
- Commercial Use of Academic Material: Selling of course material to another person, student, and/or uploading course material to a third-party vendor without authorization or without the express written permission of the university and the instructor. Course materials include but are not limited to class notes, Instructor’s PowerPoints, course syllabi, tests, quizzes, labs, instruction sheets, homework, study guides, handouts, etc.
- Falsifying or misrepresenting the student’s own academic work.
- Plagiarism: Using or appropriating another’s work without any indication of the source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student’s own.
- Multiple Submissions: Submitting the same academic work for credit more than once without the express written permission of the instructor.
- Helping another violate academic behavior standards.
- Soliciting assistance with academic coursework and/or degree requirements.
Responses to Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism, or Cheating
Students should also familiarize themselves with the procedures for academic misconduct in UCF’s student handbook, The Golden Rule <https://goldenrule.sdes.ucf.edu/>. UCF faculty members have a responsibility for students’ education and the value of a UCF degree, and so seek to prevent unethical behavior and respond to academic misconduct when necessary. Penalties for violating rules, policies, and instructions within this course can range from a zero on the exercise to an “F” letter grade in the course. In addition, an Academic Misconduct report could be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, which could lead to disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, or deferred suspension or separation from the University through suspension, dismissal, or expulsion with the addition of a “Z” designation on one’s transcript.
Being found in violation of academic conduct standards could result in a student having to disclose such behavior on a graduate school application, being removed from a leadership position within a student organization, the recipient of scholarships, participation in University activities such as study abroad, internships, etc.
Let’s avoid all of this by demonstrating values of honesty, trust, and integrity. No grade is worth compromising your integrity and moving your moral compass. Stay true to doing the right thing: take the zero, not a shortcut.
The University of Central Florida is committed to providing access and inclusion for all persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who need access to course content due to course design limitations should contact the professor as soon as possible. Students should also connect with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) <http://sas.sdes.ucf.edu/> (Ferrell Commons 185, email@example.com, phone 407-823-2371). For students connected with SAS, a Course Accessibility Letter may be created and sent to professors, which informs faculty of potential course access and accommodations that might be necessary and reasonable. Determining reasonable access and accommodations requires consideration of the course design, course learning objectives and the individual academic and course barriers experienced by the student. Further conversation with SAS, faculty and the student may be warranted to ensure an accessible course experience.
Emergencies on campus are rare, but if one should arise during class, everyone needs to work together. Students should be aware of their surroundings and familiar with some basic safety and security concepts.
- In case of an emergency, dial 911 for assistance.
- Every UCF classroom contains an emergency procedure guide posted on a wall near the door. Students should make a note of the guide’s physical location and review the online version at <https://centralflorida-prod.modolabs.net/student/safety/index>.
- Students should know the evacuation routes from each of their classrooms and have a plan for finding safety in case of an emergency.
- If there is a medical emergency during class, students may need to access a first-aid kit or AED (Automated External Defibrillator). To learn where those are located, see <https://ehs.ucf.edu/automated-external-defibrillator-aed-locations>.
- To stay informed about emergency situations, students can sign up to receive UCF text alerts by going to <www.getrave.com/login/ucf> and logging in. On the “My Account” tab, fill out the information, including e-mail address and cell phone number.
- Students with special needs related to emergency situations should speak with their instructors outside of class.
- To learn about how to manage an active-shooter situation on campus or elsewhere, consider viewing this video (<https://youtu.be/NIKYajEx4pk>).
Campus Safety Statement for Students in Online-Only Courses
Though most emergency situations are primarily relevant to courses that meet in person, such incidents can also impact online students, either when they are on or near campus to participate in other courses or activities or when their course work is affected by off-campus emergencies. The following policies apply to courses in online modalities.
- To stay informed about emergency situations, students can sign up to receive UCF text alerts by going to <www.getrave.com/login/ucf> and logging in. On the “My Account” tab, fill out the information, including e-mail address and cell phone number.
- Students with special needs related to emergency situations should speak with their instructors outside of class.
Students who are deployed active duty military and/or National Guard personnel and require accommodation should contact their instructors as soon as possible after the semester begins and/or after they receive notification of deployment to make related arrangements.
Students who represent the university in an authorized event or activity (for example, student-athletes) and who are unable to meet a course deadline due to a conflict with that event must provide the instructor with documentation in advance to arrange a make-up. No penalty will be applied. For more information, see the UCF policy at <https://policies.ucf.edu/documents/4-401.pdf>
Students must notify their instructor in advance if they intend to miss class for a religious observance. For more information, see the UCF policy at <http://regulations.ucf.edu/chapter5/documents/5.020ReligiousObservancesFINALJan19.pdf>.
Optional Syllabus Statements: UCF Resources
Integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence are the core values that guide our conduct, performance, and decisions.
I will practice and defend academic and personal honesty.
I will cherish and honor learning as a fundamental purpose of my membership in the UCF community.
I will promote an open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual.
I will use my talents to enrich the human experience.
I will strive toward the highest standards of performance in any endeavor I undertake.
An ethics statement shows the guidelines by which your class will be run. This statement discusses plagiarism, cheating, honor, and what is expected of students with respect to these aspects. The following two sample statements may be displayed:
A short version:
As reflected in the UCF creed, integrity and scholarship are core values that should guide our conduct and decisions as members of the UCF community. Plagiarism and cheating contradict these values, and so are very serious academic offenses. Penalties can include a failing grade in an assignment or in the course, or suspension or expulsion from the university. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow the University’s Rules of Conduct (see https://scai.sdes.ucf.edu/student-rules-of-conduct/).
A long version:
UCF faculty support the UCF Creed. Integrity – practicing and defending academic and personal honesty – is the first tenet of the UCF Creed. This is in part a reflection of the second tenet, Scholarship: – I will cherish and honor learning as a fundamental purpose of membership in the UCF community. – Course assignments and tests are designed to have educational value; the process of preparing for and completing these exercises will help improve your skills and knowledge. Material presented to satisfy course requirements is therefore expected to be the result of your own original scholarly efforts.
Plagiarism and cheating – presenting another’s ideas, arguments, words or images as your own, using unauthorized material, or giving or accepting unauthorized help on assignments or tests – contradict the educational value of these exercises. Students who attempt to obtain unearned academic credentials that do not reflect their skills and knowledge can also undermine the value of the UCF degrees earned by their more honest peers.
If your course is using Turnitin.com as a form of detecting plagiarism, students would find this information useful for checking their own work. Information that may be included is information related to using turnitin.com, such as specific login accounts available to them.
The following is a sample Turnitin.com statement (for Canvas submissions):
In this course we will utilize turnitin.com, an automated system which instructors can use to quickly and easily compare each student’s assignment with billions of web sites, as well as an enormous database of student papers that grows with each submission. Accordingly, you will be expected to submit assignments through the Canvas Assignment Tool in electronic format. After the assignment is processed, as an instructor I receive a report from turnitin.com that states if and how another author’s work was used in the assignment. For a more detailed look at this process, visit http://www.turnitin.com.
For those classes where you want to selectively use Turnitin.com, here is a sample syllabus statement:
In this course we may utilize turnitin.com, an automated system which instructors can use to quickly and easily compare each student’s assignment with billions of web sites, as well as an enormous database of student papers that grows with each submission. Accordingly, you may be expected to submit assignments in electronic format. After the assignment is processed, as an instructor I receive a report from turnitin.com that states if and how another author’s work was used in the assignment. For a more detailed look at this process, visit http://www.turnitin.com.
This course may contain copyright protected materials such as audio or video clips, images, text materials, etc. These items are being used with regard to the Fair Use doctrine in order to enhance the learning environment. Please do not copy, duplicate, download or distribute these items. The use of these materials is strictly reserved for this online classroom environment and your use only. All copyright materials are credited to the copyright holder.
The nature and intent of this course is one that invites open dialogue about complex, difficult, and often controversial topics. Through these conversations it is tempting to debate through the lens of traditional rhetoric, which has the end goal of persuading others.
While I acknowledge that persuasion and persuasive theory is a fundamental part of communication theory, it can also create an obstacle if the focus is on winning the debate, rather than critical analysis of both the topic and viewpoints of all members participating in the discussion.
For this reason, discussions in this class will encourage participants to engage in invitational rhetoric. Unlike traditional rhetoric, this approach is grounded in equitable distribution of time, the value of the other in the discussion, and civility in conversation. This requires an open dialogue where all participants to invited to give personal testimony, practice mindful listening (which looks for and acknowledges their own bias), and ask questions with the goal of understanding the perspectives of every member of our community—even if in the end you choose not to agree.
The civil nature of invitational rhetoric does not mean we will avoid conflict, but that space is made for all perspectives to be heard, considered, and respected.
One way to promote a safe and caring classroom community is to encourage each student’s unique voice, perspective, and presence. The following diversity statement gives professors language for explaining how students’ contributions will be valued:
The University of Central Florida considers the diversity of its students, faculty, and staff to be a strength and critical to its educational mission. UCF expects every member of the university community to contribute to an inclusive and respectful culture for all in its classrooms, work environments, and at campus events. Dimensions of diversity can include sex, race, age, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, intellectual and physical ability, sexual orientation, income, faith and non-faith perspectives, socio-economic class, political ideology, education, primary language, family status, military experience, cognitive style, and communication style. The individual intersection of these experiences and characteristics must be valued in our community.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and retaliation. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find resources available to support the victim, including confidential resources and information concerning reporting options at https://letsbeclear.ucf.edu and http://cares.sdes.ucf.edu/.
For more information on diversity and inclusion, Title IX, accessibility, or UCF’s complaint processes contact:
- Title IX – OIE – http://oie.ucf.edu/ & firstname.lastname@example.org
- Disability Accommodation – Student Accessibility Services – http://sas.sdes.ucf.edu/ & email@example.com
- Diversity and Inclusion Training and Events – www.diversity.ucf.edu
- UCF Compliance and Ethics Office – http://compliance.ucf.edu/ & firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ombuds Office – http://www.ombuds.ucf.edu
For students who are new to service learning, this statement provides insight into service learning in general. You can help students introduce what service learning is, why you chose it for this course, and how will it be built into the course. You may also explain in further detail what kinds of projects can the students get involved in, such as the organization(s) the students will be working with, what will the projects(s) involve, what kinds of extra-curricular work would be required, and whether the project(s) will be done individually or in a group. If done in groups, you may add a Learning Teams statement as well.
Note: “Service Learning” courses must be designated as such by the UCF Service Learning office. See https://academicsuccess.ucf.edu/explearning/faculty/service-learning-course-criteria/.
The following is a sample service learning statement:
Service learning gives students a venue to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-life setting, giving them valuable experience in the field. Your service-learning project will involve making a website for an organization that will be assigned to you. You will be responsible for content, graphics, design, and other aspects of this project, and I highly recommend you to be in constant communication with your Organization contacts for developing and feedback. To assist in feedback, you will be required to present your work in progress at a meeting for your Organization at least once during the semester. You will be designing this in groups no more than three. Please do not feel overwhelmed by service learning; it has been my experience that once the projects are underway, completing the project becomes easier.
A Webcourses statement will help in portraying to students when, how and why the web application will be used. Helpful comments include how often Webcourses will be used, the semantics involved in online communication, and for what purposes will Webcourses be used for, such as a forum for communication and announcements, and/or a medium for turning in assignments.
The following is an example of a Webcourses statement:
Webcourses is an online course management system (accessed through my.ucf.edu and then the “Online Course Tools” tab) which will be used as a medium for turning in assignments and a forum for communicating with your teammates. Under the “Discussion” section, you will have a designated forum section. My recommendation is to check Webcourses every 2-3 days for updates from your teammates or myself.
Students will want to know how you are reporting their grades back to them. The most common methods are handing tests and material directly back to students or using Webcourses’s online gradebook.
Graded tests and materials in this course will be returned individually only by request. You can access your scores at any time using the Grades section of Webcourses@UCF.
Please note if your class meets Gordon Rule, Diversity, or GEP requirements, and what requirements specifically are met through your course. Such information is helpful on behalf of the students for tracking their own progress throughout their college career. For more information please see the current course catalog (http://catalog.ucf.edu/) for Diversity and GEP course requirements.
This course may count as a GEP Humanities requirement and a Diversity requirement for some majors. For more information about GEP and Diversity requirements, please see the current course catalog (http://catalog.ucf.edu/).
For adjunct faculty who have a contract for one active semester but not the following (e.g., teaching in spring but not in summer), your access credentials will typically expire shortly after the active semester. If your students need to contact you after the active semester ends, perhaps consider adapting the following statement:
This course is taught by a part-time faculty member and email access will typically expire shortly after the contracted semester. Students conducting course-related business after the semester ends (especially over the summer) should make arrangements with the instructor for continued correspondence, or they should contact the department for help.
During your UCF career, you may experience challenges including struggles with academics, finances, or your personal well-being. UCF has a multitude of resources available to all students. Please visit UCFCares.com if you are seeking resources and support, or if you are worried about a friend or classmate. Free services and information are included for a variety of student concerns, including but not limited to alcohol use, bias incidents, mental health concerns, and financial challenges. You can also e-mail email@example.com with questions or for additional assistance. You can reach a UCF Cares staff member between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 407-823-5607. If you are in immediate distress, please call Counseling and Psychological Services to speak directly with a counselor 24/7 at 407-823-2811, or please call 911.
To inform students in your courses about the services of the University Writing Center, please include the following in your syllabus:
University Writing Center
Trevor Colbourn Hall 109
Satellite Locations: Main Library, Rosen Library, Online
The University Writing Center (UWC) offers writing support to students from first-year to graduate in every discipline. Tutors provide help at every stage of the writing process, including understanding assignments, researching, drafting, revising, incorporating sources, and learning to proofread and edit. The UWC’s purpose is not merely to fix or edit papers, but to teach writing strategies that can be applied to any writing situation. Consultations are available for individuals and small groups. You may schedule a 45-minute appointment by clicking the Success Resources tab on Webcourses, calling the UWC at 407-823-2197, or through the UWC website.
The UWC seeks graduate and undergraduate tutors from all majors. To learn more about becoming a writing tutor, please contact us.
Optional Syllabus Statements: Academic Integrity
There are many websites claiming to offer study aids to students, but in using such websites, students could find themselves in violation of academic conduct guidelines. These websites include (but are not limited to) Quizlet, Course Hero, Chegg Study, and Clutch Prep. UCF does not endorse the use of these products in an unethical manner, which could lead to a violation of our University’s Rules of Conduct. They encourage students to upload course materials, such as test questions, individual assignments, and examples of graded material. Such materials are the intellectual property of instructors, the university, or publishers and may not be distributed without prior authorization. Students who engage in such activity could be found in violation of academic conduct standards and could face course and/or University penalties. Please let me know if you are uncertain about the use of a website so I can determine its legitimacy.
If you were in a classroom setting taking a quiz, would you ask the student sitting next to you for an answer to a quiz or test question? The answer should be no. This also applies to graded homework, quizzes, tests, etc.
Students are not allowed to use GroupMe, WhatsApp, or any other form of technology to exchange course material associated with a graded assignment, quiz, test, etc. when opened on Webcourses.
The completion of graded work in an online course should be considered a formal process: Just because you are not in a formal classroom setting being proctored while taking a quiz or test does not mean that the completion of graded work in an online course should not be treated with integrity.
The following is not all inclusive of what is considered academic misconduct. These examples show how the use of technology can be considered academic misconduct and could result in the same penalties as cheating in a face-to-face class:
- Taking a screen shot of an online quiz or test question, posting it to GroupMe or WhatsApp, and asking for assistance is considered academic misconduct.
- Answering an online quiz or test question posted to GroupMe or WhatsApp is considered academic misconduct. Giving advice, assistance, or suggestions on how to complete a question associated with an online assignment, quiz, or test is considered academic misconduct.
- The use of outside assistance from another student or by searching the internet, Googling for answers, use of websites such as Quizlet, Course Hero, Chegg Study, etc. is considered academic misconduct.
- Gathering to take an online quiz or test with others and sharing answers in the process is considered academic misconduct.
If a student or group of students are found to be exchanging material associated with a graded assignment, quiz, or test through any form of technology (GroupMe, WhatsApp, etc.), or use outside assistance (Googling answers, use of websites such as Quizlet, Course Hero, Chegg Study, etc.), they could receive anywhere from a zero grade on the exercise to an “F” in the course depending on the act.
Faculty have reported errors in class notes being sold by third parties, and the errors may be contributing to higher failure rates in some classes. The following is a statement appropriate for distribution to your classes or for inclusion on your syllabus:
Third parties may attempt to connect with you to sell your notes and other course information from this class. Distributing course materials to a third party without my authorization is a violation of our University’s Rules of Conduct. Please be aware that such class materials that may have already been given to such third parties may contain errors, which could affect your performance or grade. Recommendations for success in this course include coming to class on a routine basis, visiting me during my office hours, connecting with the Teaching Assistant (TA), and making use of the Student Academic Resource Center (SARC), the University Writing Center (UWC), the Math Lab, etc. If a third party should contact you regarding such an offer, I would appreciate your bringing this to my attention. We all play a part in creating a course climate of integrity.
ProctorHub is a UCF test monitoring system that utilizes a webcam to monitor test-taking activity during online testing. Videos are only accessible to your instructor and are stored in a secure environment. If you do not have a webcam, there are computers with webcams in the UCF library, or you can visit the LibTech desk at the library to check one out. LibTech can also direct you to a computer in the library with a webcam. Please note that these computers cannot be reserved ahead of time. It is your responsibility to ensure that you will have access to a computer with a webcam and know how to log into and use ProctorHub prior to the time that the tests start. Currently, ProctorHub is not yet compatible with Apple iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) or Android smartphones. If an issue occurs during a test, finish the test and contact me via ________________ .
Test your webcam before the test at https://proctorhub.cdl.ucf.edu/proctorhub/test_webcam/
For assistance with setup, contact Webcourses@UCF Support at 407-823-0407
Honorlock will proctor your exams this semester. Honorlock is an online proctoring service that allows you to take your exam from the comfort of your home. You DO NOT need to create an account, download software, or schedule an appointment in advance. Honorlock is available 24/7, and all that is needed is a computer, a working webcam, Google Chrome, and a stable Internet connection.
To get started, you will need Google Chrome and to download the Honorlock Chrome Extension. You can download the extension at www.honorlock.com/extension/install.
When you are ready to test, log into Webcourses@UCF, go to your course, and click on your exam. Clicking “Launch Proctoring” will begin the Honorlock authentication process, where you will take a picture of yourself, show your UCF Student ID, and complete a scan of your room. Honorlock will record your exam session by webcam as well as recording your screen. Honorlock also has an integrity algorithm that can detect search-engine use, so please do not attempt to search for answers, even if it’s on a secondary device. Additional information about Honorlock at UCF is available at https://cdl.ucf.edu/support/webcourses/guides/honorlock/.
Honorlock support is available 24/7/365. If you encounter any issues, you may contact them via live chat.
For each quiz, test, or exam, you are expected to remain on the testing screen for the duration. You may not visit other sections of the course, other websites, or communication tools for assistance. I will be monitoring the Webcourses@UCF quiz audit log for compliance. Failure to only access the quiz, test, or exam during testing will result in an academic integrity violation.
Optional Syllabus Statements: Course Related
If there are specific software or hardware used, the Technology/Software Requirements statement can help further define what available resources must the students have access to. Additional information may include troubleshooting/installation tips, how to access free versions of the products if available, and what computer labs provide the specified software and hardware. For computer lab information, please visit <http://guides.ucf.edu/c.php?g=78577&p=517810>.
The following is a Software Requirements example:
You will be required to have access to SPSS for your assignments for this course. My recommendation is that you have SPSS installed on your personal computer since you will be using this software frequently throughout the semester. Please see the UCF Technology Product Center for details on student discounts for this software. In addition, SPSS is available via UCF Apps at <https://it.ucf.edu/ucf-apps/>.
And the following is an example of a Technology Requirement:
Students will be expected to have access to a computer frequently, as all writing assignments used will be typed out and not handwritten. The software you use to write your assignments is irrelevant, as long as you follow my writing guidelines outlined later in my syllabus. I recommend to have access to a computer weekly. If you do not own a computer, there are computers accessible to you in all of UCF’s student computer labs. For further information on computer labs, please see the following website: http://guides.ucf.edu/c.php?g=78577&p=517810.
An Internet Usage statement may be utilized if your course requires accessing the internet, such as using email. The statement can highlight expectations of students in relation to how often must a student have access to the internet, how frequent must email be checked per week, and the semantics involved in online communication. Most computer labs are connected to the internet. For computer lab information, please visit <http://guides.ucf.edu/c.php?g=78577&p=517810>.
The following is an Internet Usage example:
You will be expected to have daily access to the internet and email, since I will be emailing you constantly about assignment updates, additions and changes. All students at UCF are required to obtain a Knight’s Email account and check it regularly for official university communications. If you do not own a computer, there are computer accessible to you in all UCF’s computer labs, and most computer labs have computers connected to the internet. For further information on computer labs, please see the following website: <http://guides.ucf.edu/c.php?g=78577&p=517810>.
Whether your students communicate using a Discussion forum or through email, you may wish to have a set of rules of appropriate ways to communicate. You may discuss topics on “netiquette”, email, discussion forums, online chatting, whiteboard, when to come to office hours, how to schedule appointments, and other forms of communication.
The following are three sample rules:
- Before posting in a forum, always make sure your posting has no grammar, punctuation or spelling errors. You may do this by copying and pasting the text into Microsoft Word, and pasting it back to the posting area.
- If you would like to send me email, please add the following to the subject line: “: <Student’s last name, first name>“. Since I get a variety of email each day, I do not read all emails I receive. By having this heading in the subject line, I will read your email immediately.
- No shorthand notation or acronyms (such as “TTYL”, ” LOL”, or “IMO”) may be used at any time for this course. I feel it is unprofessional to use and is ambiguous for those unfamiliar with the acronym. Furthermore, please use smiley sparingly.
Students may have multiple emails recorded with the university, including “campus email” and “personal email,” and they may be confused about how you will communicate with them. The following is a statement appropriate for distribution to your classes or for inclusion on your syllabus:
In this class our official mode of communication is through email. All communication between student and instructor and between student and student should be respectful and professional. As of 2009, Knightsmail is the only official student email at UCF. Class rosters list Knightsmail addresses rather than external email addresses, and all official class communications will be sent only to the Knightsmail addresses. Students are responsible for checking their Knightsmail accounts regularly. See www.knightsemail.ucf.edu for further information.
If you instead use Webcourses to communicate with students by email, here is a sample statement for the syllabus:
In this class our official mode of communication is through email located inside Webcourses. All communication between student and instructor and between student and student should be respectful and professional. It is the student’s responsibility to check the “coursemail” tool frequently. You may also wish to create a Knight’s Email account at https://knightsemail.ucf.edu for separate official communication from the university.
There are presently no required COVID-related syllabus statements or policies at the university level. If you wish to have a message about COVID in your syllabus, it’s best to reference the official CDC webpage. While the COVID line at UCF no longer exists, Student Health Services has resumed normal operations for providing care to students. This care includes providing COVID testing and care for students, and vaccination for everyone.
It is important to set expectations for attendance and to ensure students understand what “attendance” means for your class. Please refer to our Attendance page for further ideas.
The following is a sample statement for attendance:
I highly encourage you to attend the classroom sessions as we will discuss concepts that you will be expected to critique in the exams, and you will have focused time to work with your group members. However, if you are sick, please stay home. I will also record the classroom sessions if you are unable to attend in person. You may choose to watch the recording and answer the question that is embedded in order to receive participation credit. Contact me as soon as possible if you are unable to attend class in any fashion.
If your librarian located a digital version of your textbook through the library, then the below statement can help your students use the material. Please contact your subject librarian or the textbook affordability librarian to ensure you include the correct link.
The following is an example library eTextbook statement:
The digital version of the course textbook is available for free through the UCF Libraries. Accessing the textbook requires that you authenticate (log in) with your NID. You are permitted to read the textbook online and/or download content to read offline. If PDF downloads are available for your book, this method is recommended to ensure uninterrupted access to the content. Any unauthorized sharing of the textbook content is in violation of the license agreement between the publisher and university. The license permits access to this textbook for current UCF students, staff, and faculty only. Contact your librarian if you have any questions.
eTextbook Link: (insert link from librarian)
If you are using an e-pack or electronic content from a publisher or linking to a publisher website, your publisher may require that students purchase a PIN. The PIN grants permission for the students to access the information. If students need a PIN, please include the requirement with your textbook information. Generally, you can bundle the PIN with the purchase of a textbook. However, students purchasing used books will need to purchase a PIN from the publisher.
During this course you might have the opportunity to use public online services and/or software applications sometimes called third-party software such as a blog or wiki. While some of these could be required assignments, you need not make any personally identifying information on a public site. Do not post or provide any private information about yourself or your classmates. Where appropriate you may use a pseudonym or nickname. Some written assignments posted publicly may require personal reflection/comments, but the assignments will not require you to disclose any personally identity-sensitive information. If you have any concerns about this, please contact your instructor.
Note to Faculty: Please be sure to indicate in the syllabus statement which model of clicker you have chosen.
We will be using clickers in class on a regular basis. You will need to purchase an iClicker/iClicker2 pads (commonly called a “clicker”) from the bookstore or computer store and bring it with you to every class session. It would be wise to bring extra batteries as well, as we will be using the pads in activities that count for class points. The purchase of an iClicker/iClicker2 pad is NOT optional; it will be used as an integral part of this course. I will provide a short demonstration of how to use iClicker/iClicker2 in class.
After you purchase your clicker, you must register your clicker online for this class. It is imperative that every student register their unit no later than __________. Instructions for the registration process can be found at http://www.iclicker.com/.
This section describes the importance of learning teams. You may include the purpose for having learning teams, such as improved learning for study groups, working on a team project, or working on group quizzes. Students may also would like to know when and how they will be grouped, the number of people per group, and what kinds of activities and tasks will be expected to be accomplished while in groups. Such information is important for students who feel less confident about working in groups and would like to be more familiar with what is required. This statement is also important to further inform students of what is expected of them and whether they feel they will be more successful compared to another course sections.
This course relies heavily on teamwork and cooperation throughout the semester. Early on in the semester, you will be assigned into groups of four at random and will be asked to accomplish various tasks in a group effort. Since your final grade is mostly composed of grades on various team projects, teamwork skills are essential for this class. If you are having difficulties with working in groups, please feel free to discuss this with me and whether this course is ideal for you.
The Study statement is a list of observations that you found helped students succeed in your course. For example, if the textbook and/or supplemental materials are technical and not easy to read for students, you may provide tips in this statement as to how to read it. Also, you may give suggestions about how to study for a test in your course, such as group studying or practicing problems.
Since the textbook is technical and in depth about the topics, I recommend skimming through the reading first, then reading it again in more detail so that you have a greater grasp of the material. I would also like to recommend making a list of questions or confusing points in the reading so that I can emphasize it more in my lecture. I have seen that study groups that go over key concepts is the most effective way to studying for my tests.
The statement answers a student’s potential question about your course: “Why even bother knowing this material?” In this section of the syllabus, you have the opportunity to answer this question. In order to help portray this, you may link your topic to other disciplines, real-life applications, and unexpected applications. The statement also gives you an opportunity to briefly explain why do you study this particular field.
The following is an example:
Computer Science is a rewarding field to study, since its application is used in a variety of fields. For example, the study of sorting algorithms takes intuitive ways that humans normally sort any set of items, such as cards, lists, or documents, and improves them using a variety of changes. Think about how you would sort objects. It can most likely be linked to any one of the more common sorting algorithms. Computer Science is connected strongly in math, engineering and the sciences in general, while the study of how users interact with computers is highly connected to psychology and humanities, and the theory is related deeply in history. I would recommend all students to take Intro to C and get a sense of what this exciting field is about.
If fieldwork is required for the course, a Fieldwork statement is important for a student’s health and success in your course. Essential information includes what kinds of allergens will students be exposed to, what kinds of fieldwork will be done, how will they be done, and how often will students be engaged in these activities. In order to provide a more general idea of the fieldwork done, you may further provide your purpose for the fieldwork, the importance of the fieldwork in the course, and how it will change and/or enhance student learning experience. Also, feel free to include materials that students are expected to have, and where they are readily available.
This class will require catching water and species samples in the Loxahatchee River for identifying, testing and dissecting. You are expected to visit a designated area of the river twice a week for a two months, and bring the samples back to the lab for further analysis. If you are allergic to plants near the water, daisies that grow regularly near the river at this time, or feel uncomfortable with dissecting, I would strongly recommend you to not sign up for this section.
A controversial content statement acts as a disclaimer for classes that may show some form of problematic content as part of study. The statement is to inform students who are sensitive to these issues and to outline your expectations. The following are sample statements:
Example #1: Since we will be studying art throughout history, there may be times when some of this art may have nudity in it. If you feel uncomfortable with this, please let me know and we can make accommodations.
Example#2: This course will discuss some potentially controversial issues. Part of the purpose of the course is to enable you to understand how reasonable people might disagree about such issues (especially involving ethics and justice). You are not required to believe any particular position that we discuss and examine on such issues. You are expected, however, to have an open mind and to try to understand the arguments (and to consider the ideas and evidence used in such arguments) for many different positions on these issues, and to critically examine and respectfully discuss such arguments, ideas and evidence.
If your course requires frequent trips to the library, this statement may be useful to portray your student expectations. You may also provide a link to the library’s website for easy access.
The following is an example Library Skills statement:
Since this course requires writing several research papers, you are expected to know how to use the library’s resources. If you are not familiar with using the library, please ask for assistance from the library’s personnel, take workshops provided by the library, or visit the library’s website (http://library.ucf.edu/).
The Prerequisite Skills statement highlights what courses are needed, or even more specifically, what skills from those courses are needed to succeed in this course. This may be a simple list of pre-requisite or co-requisite courses, or you may briefly explain what concepts you expect students to have already mastered from each course. You may also add a brief list of course that aren’t pre-requisites or co-requisites, but ones that you personally found helpful for students.
An example of a Prerequisite Skills Statement is the following:
College algebra and Geometry is a pre-requisite for this course, since you will be working with 2-D coordinate systems frequently. Also, I have found taking Statistics (STA 2023) facilitates in learning the course material.
Students may want clarification about what Online Learning is, and what it requires from the student to succeed. Expectations about course interaction, participation, self-pacing and whether it’s feasible may be expressed in this section. You may also describe some qualities you recommend online students should have, and what behavior will and will not make a student successful with respect to an online course.
The following is an example of an Online Learning statement:
Online learning is not for everyone; some people may not be able to manage a course that does not meet face to face to learn. Online learning requires lots of planning and self-pacing so that you may be successful in my course. Since I will be covering much material in 16 weeks, I would highly recommend treating this course like a regular lecture course, and keeping up with lectures and assignments. Please do not be tempted to skip two weeks of lectures and expect to catch up easily.
For most students striving for B grades or higher, I recommend that you schedule about hours per week for engaging with this course. Your background knowledge/experience and other variables may require you to spend additional time. Please plan accordingly by scheduling time on your calendar now. Several factors influence student academic performance and long-term learning. Active engagement in all course activities (e.g., class participation, readings, homework, assignments, projects, studying, etc.) will contribute to your learning and to success in this course. According to research, a metacognitive learning approach combined with practice testing and distribution of practice over time is most effective. UCF offers a wide range of free academic resources to support student success, including services offered by KARS (Knights Academic Resource Services), SARC (Student Academic Resource Center), UCF Libraries, the University Writing Center, the Math Success Center, the Chemistry Tutoring Center, and VARC (Veterans Academic Resource Center). I am available at [list preferred method of contact] if you are seeking more information on how to be successful in this course. Your academic advisor is another helpful resource to assist you in meeting the requirements of this course.
Optional In-Class Recording Statement
Suggested syllabus language (updated July 28, 2021):
Students may, without prior notice, record video or audio of a class lecture for a class in which the student is enrolled for their own personal educational use. A class lecture is defined as a formal or methodical oral presentation as part of a university course intended to present information or teach students about a particular subject. Recording classroom activities other than class lectures, including but not limited to lab sessions, student presentations (whether individually or part of a group), class discussion (except when incidental to and incorporated within a class lecture), clinical presentations such as patient history, academic exercises involving student participation, test or examination administrations, field trips, and private conversations is prohibited. Recordings may not be used as a substitute for class participation and class attendance, and may not be published or shared without the written consent of the faculty member. Failure to adhere to these requirements may constitute a violation of the University’s Student Code of Conduct as described in the Golden Rule.
A state university student may, without prior notice, audio or video record a class lecture in which the student is enrolled for the following purposes:
- personal educational use of the student;
- in connection with a complaint to the university where the recording is made; or
- as evidence in, or in preparation for, a criminal or civil proceeding.
A class lecture recording may not be published without the consent of the faculty member, except it may be shared with university officials or state and federal government officials in connection with a complaint to or against the university, or used as evidence in a criminal or civil proceeding. Violation of this provision may subject the student to disciplinary action by the university and/or to a legal action by a person injured by the publication.
A class lecture is defined as a formal or methodical oral presentation as part of a university course intended to present information or teach enrolled students about a particular subject. A class lecture will occur most often in a course identified by the university as a lecture type course, whether online or in-person, as opposed to a lab course or a course section identified as a discussion section. Class lecture does not include lab sessions, student presentations (whether individually or as part of a group), class discussion (except when incidental to and incorporated within a class lecture), clinical presentations such as patient history, academic exercises involving student participation, test or examination administrations, field trips, and private conversations between students in the class or between a student and the faculty member.
To publish means to share, transmit, circulate, distribute or otherwise provide access to the recording, regardless of format or medium, to another person, or persons, including but not limited to another student in the class. Additionally, a recording, or transcript of the recording, is published if it is posted on or uploaded to, in whole or in part, any media platform, including but not limited social media, book, magazine, newspaper, leaflet, picket signs, or any mode of print.
What can students record?
Students may audio or video record a class lecture, defined as a formal or methodical oral presentation as part of a university course intended to present information or teach enrolled students about a particular subject. A class lecture will occur most often in a course identified by the university as a lecture type course, whether online or in-person, as opposed to a lab course or a course section identified as a discussion section.
Do students have to ask permission to record?
No, students do not need to ask for permission to record the class lecture, as long as they are making the recording for a permitted purpose.
Is there anything that students are not allowed to record?
Students are prohibited from recording class activities other than lectures, including but not limited to lab sessions, student presentations (whether individually or as part of a group), class discussion (except when incidental to and incorporated within a class lecture), clinical presentations such as patient history, academic exercises involving student participation, test or examination administrations, field trips, and private conversations between students in the class or between a student and the faculty member.
If I invite a guest speaker to my class to give the class lecture, can students record my guest without their permission?
Yes. Students may record the class lecture for one of the permitted uses regardless of who delivers the lecture. The same restrictions on students publishing the lecture without the lecturer’s consent will still apply.
I allow my students to freely ask questions during my class lectures. Is this back-and-forth exchange considered class lecture or class discussion?
In general, class discussions are not part of the definition of “class lecture” unless the discussion is incidental to and incorporated within a class lecture. If students ask clarifying questions during the class lecture, and back and forth discussion results on that topic of the lecture, that back-and-forth exchange would be considered incidental to and incorporated within a class lecture and properly subject to recording. If students ask questions or engage in conversation with the faculty member about the lecture topic during a distinct discussion portion of class following a class lecture, that back-and-forth exchange would be considered not part of the class lecture and not subject to recording.
What are the permitted purposes for students making the recording?
There are three permitted purposes for students making the recording: (1) personal educational use, (2) for use in a complaint against the institution, or (3) for use as evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding. Students may not record for any other purpose without the consent of the faculty member.
Are there any restrictions to the use of the recordings?
Yes, recordings made may not be used to engage in academic dishonesty, may not be used as a substitute for participation in class, and may not be published or shared in any way without the faculty member’s written consent, unless the student is sharing the recording with university officials or state and federal government officials in connection with a complaint to or against the university, or as evidence in a criminal or civil proceeding.
Does this law change how students may behave in the classroom?
No, students must adhere to classroom behavioral expectations while recording; recording that disrupts the learning environment may violate the student code of conduct.
Are there any other reasons a student may record?
Recording a class lecture or other class activities may be a part of an accommodation granted by Student Accessibility Services (SAS). If that is the case, you will be contacted by SAS about these accommodations.
What should I do if a student publishes one of my lectures without my consent?
If a student publishes a class lecture without the consent of the faculty member, the faculty member should report the student to the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (SCAI). Improper publishing of recorded class lectures may be considered a violation of the Golden Rule, and the matter will be handled by the University within the Student Conduct process.
If I want to take legal action against a student for publishing my lecture without my consent will the University provide me legal representation?
If a faculty member wishes to pursue a student for damages under HB 233, the faculty member will need to obtain their own legal counsel.
If one of my lectures is published anonymously without my consent, how do I identify the student for purposes of reporting the violation?
If a class lecture has been published without the consent of a faculty member, but the faculty member cannot identify the student responsible, they should still make a complaint to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (SCAI). SCAI has limited availability to identify anonymous posters of information and is often hindered by lack of cooperation from hosting sites. Only in situations where SCAI can successfully identify the poster as a specific student would SCAI be able take action.
Can I record my own lectures without seeking the permission of my students?
In general, Florida law requires two-way consent for audio or video recordings. See Fla. Stat. § 934.03. HB 233 creates an exception to this law, allowing students to record class lectures for certain permitted purposes. HB 233 does not contain a reciprocal exception allowing faculty members to record students during class. Therefore, faculty members should default to the general rule on recordings. A faculty member may record their own class lectures, because the recording would not require another party’s consent. However, a faculty member should not record those portions of the class where students are speaking, such as class discussion, unless the students have given consent.
Am I allowed to put in my syllabus that I will record class lectures for purposes of gaining the student’s implied consent for the recordings?
You may choose to put a statement in your syllabus that class lectures will be recorded, but you should also verbally announce that you are recording before each class begins. If class participation is mandatory/part of the student’s grade, you may want to consider the potential chilling effect that recording may have on class participation. Additionally, please keep in mind that any recordings of your class lectures will fall under the public records law and need to be retained for three years. Please coordinate with your Department about how these records will be retained and the costs for retention.