Syllabus of Record Guidelines

Purpose

The syllabus of record (SOR) serves five audiences:

  1. Faculty should use the SOR as a blueprint for designing course syllabi. Faculty are free to add to the content in the SOR, but the required activities, objectives, and methods of evaluation in the SOR must be maintained.
  2. Students can use the SOR to determine, before they register, the skills they can expect to engage in and what they can expect to have learned upon successful completion of a course.
  3. The SOR provides a standard format that other schools can use to determine transfer credit.
  4. Faculty governance (e.g., CCC, UCC) use the SOR when evaluating course change and new course proposals.
  5. Accreditation bodies may use the syllabus of record to view the content taught in every section of a course.

The syllabus of record (SOR) is a blueprint for building a course. It provides details on the minimum structure and content for the course so that units can ensure knowledge is structured throughout the curriculum. It is not necessarily meant to articulate every aspect of each week of a course. Therefore, when constructing an SOR, careful attention must be paid to what it contains. If a unit wishes to propose a course in which content is quite rigid and fixed, then the various sections of the SOR would reflect that. On the other hand if a unit wishes to propose a course with content to be selected from a range of specified possibilities and/or a course with little fixed content with the bulk of the content being determined by the specific instructor, then the SOR would indicate that.

Content

The syllabus of record must contain the following elements:

  • Program Code and Course Number
  • Title of Course (official catalog title)
  • Credits
  • Prerequisites and/or corequisites (if any)
  • Description (official catalog description)
  • Introductory Prose (if any)
  • If this is an SWS, General Education, or Capstone course, please include relevant information here.

Objectives
List the educational objectives that students will achieve regardless of which section, semester, year, or instructor teaches the course (i.e., "common objectives"). Additional objectives beyond those required of each section may be specified for informational purposes and should be labeled as such (e.g., "discretionary objectives"). All objectives must be specific, assessable, and student-centered, although the level of specificity may vary depending on the nature of the course, discipline, and needs of the proposing unit. Objectives must complete the sentence “Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to...” The list of objectives on the syllabus for the course may be much more extensive.

Topics
List the topics covered regardless of which section, semester, year, or instructor teaches the course (i.e., "common topics"). Additional topics beyond those required of each section may be specified for informational purposes and should be labeled as such (e.g., "discretionary topics"). Give the approximate amount of coverage devoted to each topic or group of topics. Coverage can be specified as a proportion, percentage, or a unit of time assuming a 14week instructional semester.

Methods of Evaluation
List the common methods of evaluation that will be used to assess students in their meeting of the course objectives, regardless of which section, semester, year, or instructor teaches the course (e.g., exams, papers). Additional evaluation techniques beyond those required of each section may be specified for informational purposes and should be labeled as such (e.g., "discretionary methods of evaluation"). It is not required for the syllabus of recording to include a range of percentages for each evaluation. However, if the proposers believe percentages are necessary, it must be possible for those percentages to equal at least 100% (e.g., papers 20-40%, exams 40-60%, homework problems 20-40%). It should be reasonably clear to the reader of the syllabus of record how objectives will be assessed in the methods of evaluation section. For example, it would make no sense to have the objective “students will be able to write a research paper on topic X”, but to have no mention of writing, research methods, literature review, etc. in the methods of evaluation. When creating a syllabus of record, for each objective ask yourself “how will I find out if the student can do this or not?”

Primary Source(s) of Information
Provide a list of representative sources (e.g., textbooks, course packs, online resources, etc.) that are appropriate for the course.