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About the Guide

This Syllabus Guide includes the standard components of a well-designed syllabus. Your syllabus should be a detailed and clear compilation of your course’s purpose, expectations, and policies, presented in a way that welcomes students into the learning process. Keep in mind that the syllabus is often the first impression that students get of you and your course. Thus, it sets the tone for the course and can play a critical role in establishing a sense of belonging and equity in the classroom. As you create your syllabus, ask yourself: What do I want to communicate to my students and how does my syllabus accomplish this? You should consider how everything from the language you use, to the order of your syllabus components communicates your values and teaching style to your students.  

Review the AU CTRL Syllabus Template, which includes the recommended syllabus components in a Microsoft Word document. In addition, CTRL has generated a recommended list of class meeting dates for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Semesters at AU. 

Syllabus language regarding COVID-19 policy can be found below under the University-Wide Policies section. 

In addition to the syllabus template linked above, below you will also find the syllabus guide which contains more information about various sections you will find in the syllabus template. Please note that this guide is under construction, and we direct you to the syllabus template for the most up-to-date information.  

Syllabus Guide

Course Information

Course Information

[Course Name]
[Course ID]
[Semester and Year]
[Session meeting days and times]
American University

Teacher Information

Office (or preferred, public meeting space on campus e.g., library, Mary Graydon Center):
Instructor’s Phone:
Skype Account:
You Can Book Me:
Office Hours (or times of day available/not available; by appointment; online office hours):
Preferred Communication Method (e.g., email, phone, Skype, Canvas):
Response Time for Questions:
Campus Mailbox:
Instructor Bio:

AU Core Learning Outcomes (Required for AU Core Courses)

(All AU Core Learning Outcomes are available on the AU Core Website. This serves as an example for a Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry in the Habits of Mind AU Core course)

AU Core Course

Habits of mind courses teach students to develop questions, employ methodologies, and create new knowledge or solutions. The AU Core includes five required Habits of Mind, each one focuses on specific ways of thinking or knowing: Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry, Cultural Inquiry, Ethical Reasoning, Natural-Scientific Inquiry, and Socio-Historical Inquiry. Habits of Mind are typically taken over the course of four years. This course is approved to satisfy the “Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry” component of “Habits of Mind.”

Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry Learning Outcomes:

  1. Identify and describe acts, practices, and products of artistic and other creative expressions or of aesthetic interpretations and discuss how they reflect, respond to, or shape their many contexts
  2. Describe and analyze the formal and structural components of artistic and other creative expressions in at least one discipline or domain, or across a range of disciplines or domains
  3. Engage in or with creative processes, which could include constructing meaning through the practices and products of artistic or other creative expressions, interpreting the meaning of artistic or creative expressions, practicing divergent thinking, or assessing the aesthetic value of artistic or other creative expressions

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • [Outcome 1]
  • [Outcome 2]
  • [Outcome 3…]

(Additional information on creating learning outcomes.)

Teaching Technologies

In this course, students will use the following systems and tools (please craft as desired):


  • Canvas Learning Management System: Participants will use their AU credentials to log in to CanvasAU’s Canvas Support team recommends using the latest version of Chrome or Firefox to optimize your experienceYou can get help by using the Help menu located at the bottom of Global Navigation after you log inPlease also consult the global Canvas Community student guide for an explanation of key tools and features. 
  • Poll Everywhere: Poll Everywhere, a web-based response system, allows me to pose questions to you in class and collect your answers and feedback. You need to register for Poll Everywhere to ensure you receive credit for your attendance and participation in these activities.
  • TurningPoint Clickers: To participate in class sessions and receive credit you must purchase and correctly register a subscription to use with your mobile device or laptop. You also have the option of purchasing and registering a clicker to use instead. First, go to the course Canvas site and click Modules in the left side navigation menu. Then, follow the link for Turning Account Registration. Login and follow the instructions to create an account, if you have not done so before. Purchase a Subscription and associate it with your Turning Account. Subscriptions cost approximately $25 for one year or $50 for five years. You may purchase a subscription at the SU Bookstore or through the Turning Technologies website.

Textbooks and Materials

(List all textbooks and materials needed for this course, clearly distinguishing required materials from supplemental or optional materials. Review additional information on selecting course materials.)

In this course, students will use the textbooks and materials (please craft as desired):


Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational Psychology (11 th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Available at the American University Campus Store, Amazon, and elsewhere. You may purchase or rent from anywhere as long as you purchase the 11th edition or higher.

Supplemental. This is not required or necessary for the course but recommended for students who want to explore topics further:

Fink, L.D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Available at Amazon and elsewhere.


Good news: your textbook for this class is available for free online! If you prefer, you can also get a print version at a very low cost.

Your book is available in web view and PDF for free. You can also choose to purchase on iBooks or get a print version via the campus bookstore or from OpenStax on Amazon.com.

You can use whichever formats you want. Web view is recommended — the responsive design works seamlessly on any device. If you buy on Amazon, make sure you use the link on your book page on openstax.org so you get the official OpenStax print version. (Simple printouts sold by third parties on Amazon are not verifiable and not as high-quality.)

Introductory Statistics from OpenStax, Print ISBN 1938168208, Digital ISBN 1947172050,

More information about basic course content and student learning outcomes.

Course Expectations, Requirements, and Policies

Expectations for Course Participation

(Instructor’s guidelines on attendance and participation, including attendance policy, policy on collaborative work, etc. For online courses, an explicit description of the weekly workflow, e.g., perhaps students should log in and complete all readings by noon ET on Tuesdays, and any regular/ongoing deadlines, e.g., perhaps discussion posts are always due on Wednesdays at midnight, are recommended for inclusion here.)

Late Work Policy

(Instructor’s late policy text. Please craft as desired.)

All papers must be submitted, in class, on the day they are due. You will be penalized ten points (ed.’s note: out of 100) for every day a paper is late. I will not accept papers submitted over one week after the deadline. If you become ill or the victim of an emergency, please let me know within 48 hours.

Students requiring a temporary leave of absence for medical or mental health reasons must provide documentation to the Office of the Dean of Students (dos@american.edu), which will verify with the academic unit that the documentation is appropriate and supports the leave. Students with an ASAC-approved accommodation for disability reasons should, to the greatest extent possible, make arrangements in advance of the due date or deadline.

Grading and Assessment

Grading Scale (Please personalize as desired)


Exemplary Good Acceptable Unacceptable
A        XX%-100% B+       XX%-XX% C+        XX%-XX% D            XX%-XX%
A-        XX%-XX% B          XX%-XX% C          XX%-XX% F          Under XX%
B-        XX%-XX% C-        XX%-XX%

Final Grade Calculation

Assignment Percentage Due Date

Assignment Overview and Rubrics

(Overview of assignments/other requirements for course completion, including general submission instructions; Helpful Tool: Course Workload Estimator)

All assessments will have detailed instructions in the Canvas course space and will be scored using the rubrics that are attached to the assignment. You should review all of the instructions and the rubrics before submitting each assessment. If you have questions about an assessment or rubric, contact the instructor to schedule a time to speak one-on-one.

Incomplete Policy

(Please craft as desired.)

At the discretion of the faculty member and before the end of the semester, the grade of I (Incomplete) may be given to a student who, because of extenuating circumstances, is unable to complete the course during the semester. The grade of Incomplete may be given only if the student is receiving a passing grade for the coursework completed. Students on academic probation may not receive an Incomplete. The instructor must provide in writing to the student the conditions, which are described below, for satisfying the Incomplete and must enter those same conditions when posting the grades for the course. The student is responsible for verifying that the conditions were entered correctly.

Conditions for satisfying the Incomplete must include what work needs to be completed, by when the work must be completed, and what the course grade will be if the student fails to complete that work. At the latest, any outstanding coursework must be completed before the end of the following semester, absent an agreement to the contrary. Instructors will submit the grade of I and the aforementioned conditions to the Office of the University Registrar when submitting all other final grades for the course. If the student does not meet the conditions, the Office of the University Registrar will assign the default grade automatically.

The Associate Dean of the Academic Unit, with the concurrence of the instructor, may grant an extension beyond the agreed deadline, but only in extraordinary circumstances. Incomplete courses may not be retroactively dropped. An Incomplete may not stand as a permanent grade and must be resolved before a degree can be awarded.
More information on AU Regulations and Policies.

Course Schedule

(Class meeting days generator)

Readings, Media & Resources Activities & Assessments

[Date Range]


[In class]



Introduction to Action Research Part I

Brydon-Miller, M., Greenwood, D., & Maguire, P. (2003). Why action research? Action Research, 1(1), 9–28.

Young, M. R., Rapp, E., & Murphy, J. W. (2010). Action research: Enhancing classroom practice and fulfilling educational responsibilities. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 3(1).

Week 2 Discussion Post: Due date, time ET

Assignment 1: Due date, time ET

Week 2 Discussion Responses: Due date, time ET

Assignment 2: Due date, time ET


[Date Range]


[Date Range]


[Date Range]


[Date Range]


[Date Range]

Sharing of Course Content

(Below are two, potential options for communicating to your students your policy for sharing your course content.)

Sample A
Students are not permitted to make visual or audio recordings (including livestreams) of lectures or any class-related content or use any type of recording device unless prior permission from the instructor is obtained and there are no objections from any student in the class. If permission is granted, only students registered in the course may use or share recordings and any electronic copies of course materials (e.g., PowerPoints, formulas, lecture notes, and any discussions – online or otherwise). Use is limited to educational purposes even after the end of the course. Exceptions will be made for students who present a signed Letter of Accommodation from the Academic Support and Access Center. Further details are available from the ASAC website.

Sample B
To supplement the classroom experience, lectures may be audio or video recorded by faculty and made available to students registered for this class. Faculty may record classroom lectures or discussions for pedagogical use, future student reference, or to meet the accommodation needs of students with a documented disability. These recordings are limited to personal use and may not be distributed, sold, or posted on social media outlets without written permission of the instructor.

Unauthorized downloading, file sharing, or distribution of any part course materials, or using information for purposes other than student’s own learning, may be deemed a violation of American University’s Student Conduct Code and subject to disciplinary action (see Student Conduct Code VI. Prohibited Conduct).

Policy for Guest Speakers

Syllabus Guidelines for Preserving Trust with Guest Speakers in our Class:

  • Guest Speakers are by definition our guests so we should treat them with respect and courtesy. Respect means being prepared for substantive discussion with insightful questions. Courtesy does not mean deference but does mean communicating in a polite manner. Disagree with a speaker’s statements or perspectives. Ask hard questions. The speakers will not mind being challenged. However, your comments and questions should be about ideas and not ad hominem attacks.
  • We will operate under an assumption of non-attribution as defined by the Chatham House Rule for all guest speakers. Speakers may explicitly waive their right to non-attribution in general and if so, they may still invoke it for select portions of the discussion.
  • The Chatham House rule is straightforward:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

  • Organizations invoke the Chatham House Rule to facilitate the free flow of ideas and insights. It is considered a standard of professional conduct. We also desire a free flow of ideas and insights with our guest speakers so we will use it.
  • Speakers may request a more restrictive form of engagement which is “off-the-record.”In this case, you may not discuss or publish the information from the class with anyone not part of our class, even without attribution. The information is only for your edification.
  • Speakers will also have a choice about whether we record the class or not. As a reminder, you are not permitted to record any class without explicit permission from me. I will usually record our classes and share the recordings with you for academic purposes. However, if a speaker does not wish to be recorded, we will honor their request.
  • Our guest speakers are all busy professionals who are volunteering their time with us. The more they trust us to keep their confidences, the more insights we will hear, and the more likely they will be willing to come back again.
  • I will repeat these guidelines and any updates as we get to specific guest speakers and we will discuss them in class. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know as soon as possible.
  • Failing to adhere to these guidelines could subject a student to a Student Conduct charge under American University’s Student Conduct Code.

Developed and shared by Richard Ressler.

More information about course requirements and expectations and grading.

University-Wide Policies

Fall 2021 COVID-19


Optional. (Faculty, please edit for your needs)

As AU returns to in-person activities this fall, we must recognize the new challenges this return brings. Our success as a community relies on all of us committing to expectations outlined in the AU Forward Fall 2021 Health and Safety Plan as well as striving to maintain an inclusive learning environment.

Face coverings: In accordance with current AU policy and for everyone’s health and safety, students are required to wear face coverings at all times in the classroom. We have been instructed to refer any violations of this commonsense policy to the Dean of Students. If you are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, do not come to class; instead, get a COVID test, contact the Dean of Students, and stay in your room.

Academic Integrity Code

Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the university’s Academic Integrity Code. By registering for this course, students have acknowledged their awareness of the Academic Integrity Code and they are obliged to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly and disciplinary action will be taken should violations occur. This includes cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism.

A short guide for students on how to meet the expectations of the AU’s Academic Integrity Code

Defining and Reporting discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to the Office of Equity and Title IX


American University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under applicable federal and local laws. The University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and stalking.

As a faculty member, I am required to report discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to the Office of Equity and Title IX if I witness it or become aware of it. There are four confidential resources on campus if you wish to speak to someone who is not required to report: Counseling Center, victim advocates in OASIS, medical providers in the Student Health Center, and the Chaplain in the Kay Spiritual Life Center. For more information or if you wish to directly make a report, please visit the Office of Equity and Title IX website.

Review the complete Discrimination and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Emergency Preparedness

In the event of an emergency, American University will implement a plan for meeting the needs of all members of the university community. Should the University be required to close for a period of time, we are committed to ensuring that all aspects of our educational programs will be delivered to our students. These may include altering and extending the duration of the traditional term schedule to complete essential instruction in the traditional format and/or the use of distance instructional methods. Specific strategies will vary from class to class, depending on the format of the course and the timing of the emergency. Faculty will communicate class-specific information to students via AU email and Canvas, while students must inform their faculty immediately of any emergency-related absence. Students are responsible for checking their AU email regularly and keeping themselves informed of emergencies. In the event of an emergency, students should refer to the AU Student Portal, the AU website, and the AU information line at (202) 885-1100 for general university-wide information, as well as contact their faculty and/or respective dean’s office for course and school/college specific information.

Student Code of Conduct

The central commitment of American University is the development of thoughtful, responsible human beings in the context of a challenging yet supportive academic community. The Student Code of Conduct is designed to benefit the American University community and to assist in forming the highest standards of ethics and morals among its members. By registering for this course, students have acknowledged their awareness of the Student Code of Conduct and they are obliged to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code.

Religious Observances

Students will be provided the opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance, provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes. Please send this notification through email to the professor. For additional information, see American University’s religious observances policy.

Use of Student Work

The professor will use academic work that you complete for educational purposes in this course during this semester. Your registration and continued enrollment constitute your consent.

More information about the academic integrity code, emergency preparedness, and Title IX.

Academic Support Services

Academic Success Coaching


Academic Coaching offers free one-on-one meetings where learners work with academic coaches to identify and enhance academic strategies. Students may schedule one 30-minute academic coaching session per week. Sessions are interactive and learners can expect to leave with a strategic action plan. Our year-round services are open to all degree-seeking AU learners, undergraduate and graduate. Virtual Sessions are held on Zoom, Monday-Friday. You’ll receive a zoom link the day of your session.  Some In-person sessions are also available throughout the week. Please check our YouCanBook.Me for details. Digital resources can be found in our online Resource Library. Hardcopies can be found on the resource wall outside of MGC 243.

Peer Assisted Student Support (PASS) Tutoring Lab

The PASS Tutoring Lab provides free one-on-one and drop-in tutoring for selected courses in disciplines such as accounting, biology, chemistry and economics. In your 30 minutes or hour appointment, a peer tutor can assist with understanding course content, providing hands-on practice, and discussing best strategies for studying.  (Schedule tutoring appointments on WC Onlinetutoring@american.edu)

International Student & Scholar Services

International Student & Scholar Services provides immigration services and cultural guidance to students and the university community by educating, advocating, and training while complying with federal regulations governing international education exchange.

Mathematics & Statistics Tutoring Lab


The Mathematics & Statistics Tutoring Lab provides free drop-in tutoring and scheduled one-on-one tutoring appointments to American University students for exam review, homework assignments, and understanding concepts. The Lab tutors Mathematics concepts up to Calculus II and Statistics concepts up to Intermediate Statistics. (Drop-in to Don Myers Building Room 103 or Schedule tutoring appointments on WC Online)

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a free group tutoring program that supports historically challenging courses in disciplines such as accounting, biology, chemistry and economics. SI Leaders facilitate weekly group review sessions that reiterate course content. In your one or two hour session, an SI Leader can assist with learning course concepts, facilitating group learning, and sharing best strategies for studying and note taking. (siprogram@american.edu)

Writing Center

Writing Center offers free, individual coaching sessions to all AU students. In your 45-minute session, a student writing consultant can help you address your assignments, understand the conventions of academic writing, and learn how to revise and edit your own work. (Bender Library – 1st Floor Commons – Schedule tutoring appointments on WC Online – 202-885-2991)

Get Help from a Research Librarian

Get Help from a Research Librarian: A research librarian can help you find high-quality information for your research projects and can save you time. For a quick question, librarians are available on chat 24/7. You can also request a personal meeting with a subject specialist librarian through here: https://www.american.edu/library/ask/

Student Support Services

Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI)

CDI is dedicated to enhancing LGBTQ, multicultural, first-generation, and women’s experiences on campus and to advancing AU’s commitment to respecting and valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison to students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy. It is located on the 2nd floor of Mary Graydon Center (202-885-3651, MGC 201 & 202).

The Center for Well-being Programing and Psychological Services


The Center for Well-being Programing and Psychological Services was recently formed to help better meet the wellness needs of the American University student population. It is comprised of staff that previously worked in the Counseling Center and the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center. The Center provides American University students with a range of wellness related services. These services include: individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, victim/survivor advocacy services, crisis intervention through AUProtoCall Services 202-885-7979, alcohol and other drug education and consultations and wellness related programing. For more information please visit our website www.american.edu/counseling.

Dean of Students Office

The Office of the Dean of Students offers individual meetings to discuss issues that impact the student experience including academic, social, and personal matters.  Staff work with students and make referrals to appropriate campus resources for resolution.

Additionally, while academic regulations state that medical absences are to be excused, if faculty require correspondence to verify the student’s significant medical concern, medical documentation should be submitted by the student to the Office of the Dean of Students (“DOS”).  The DOS staff will review the documentation and verify the medical excuse.  Faculty have the discretion to approve absences and do not need permission from the Office of the Dean of Students to excuse absences.  Students should be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students only if faculty require further proof of a significant medical concern or if they have concerns about the impact of absences on the student’s ability to succeed (202-885-3300; Butler Pavilion 408; www.american.edu/dos)

Food and Housing Insecurity Statement

Students facing challenges securing food or housing should be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students (www.american.edu/dos or 202-885-3300) for support and referral to resources.

Victim-Survivor Advocacy Services

Victim-Survivor Advocacy Services, which is housed within the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services (Well-Being Center), provides free and confidential advocacy services for students who have experienced sexual and interpersonal harm. These services are available ​during office hours, Monday through Friday, to all students and to friends and family members of survivors. To schedule an in person or virtual meeting with an advocate, please book an appointment at http://auhpac.youcanbook.me. The advocates are also available via email (hpac@american.edu) or by phone (202-885-7070). Victim-Survivor Advocacy Services is located in Hughes Hall, Suite 105.

Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services

The Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services offers a variety of psychological services, online resources, and referrals to off-campus mental health care. Psychological services are free and confidential. Students can schedule an appointment and faculty can schedule a consultation at 202-885-3500.

Please visit the Center’s website for more information: www.american.edu/counseling.


You@American is American University’s student portal for mental and physical health. Find tips and tools for everything from your mental and physical health, to friendships and finding balance. Get started at the You@american portal.

Respect for Diversity

As stated in the American University Discrimination and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy:

“American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under applicable federal and local laws and regulations (collectively “Protected Bases”) in its programs and activities. The University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and stalking.”

The above website includes further details, including how to report instances of discrimination and your responsibilities as a member of the campus community in relation to the policy; you are strongly encouraged to familiarize yourself further with this policy.

Class rosters and University data systems are provided to faculty with the student’s legal name and legal gender marker. As a student, you are able to change how your name shows up through email and on your AU ID Card. This option is helpful for various student populations, including but not limited to: students who abbreviate their first name; students who use their middle name; international students; and transgender students. As a faculty member, I am committed to using your name and pronouns. We will take time during our first class together to do introductions, at which point you can share with all members of our learning community what name and pronouns you use, as you are comfortable. Additionally, if these change at any point during the semester, please let me know and we can develop a plan to share this information with others in a way that is safe for you. Should you want to update your name, you can do so by looking at the guidelines and frequently asked questions from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Students with Disabilities

If you wish to receive accommodations for a disability, please notify me with a memo from the Academic Support and Access Center. As accommodations are not retroactive, timely notification at the beginning of the semester, if possible, is strongly recommended. To register with a disability or for questions about disability accommodations, contact the Academic Support and Access Center at 202-885-3360 or asac@american.edu. For more information, visit AU’s Disability Accommodations web page.

Updated 08/04/2022