To assist instructors in creating a complete course outline for their course(s) and to provide students with a consistent presentation of course information, the College of Biological Science is now using the E-Outline Tool developed here at the University of Guelph.
You can access the E-Tool at on-line through the outline manager website. Instructors use their central ID and login to access the tool and their outline.
The purpose of a course outline (or syllabus) is to provide students with a description of the course goals, desired learning outcomes, specific content, modes of learning, resources to support content, assessment methods and due dates, and any relevant course policies of which students need to be aware.
The outline should be considered a contract between instructors and students. Changes to the structure of a course during a course offering should be avoided, and modifying the methods and timing of evaluation can be made only with unanimous consent of the students.
Prior to the course selection period the following information, listed below, within the outline tool should be populated. Basic instructions regarding the outline sections is provided. If a course is new and is being offered on a trial basis instructions will need to use the provided blank template.
- Instructional Support
- Course & University Statements
The details section contains all the standard course information including calendar description, final exam date and timetable.
- Title - This is automatically generated
- Calendar description (from undergraduate calendar), credit weighting, pre-requisites/co-requisites, and restrictions (limits as to which students can register) will be automatically generated from the undergraduate calendar and you will not be able to edit this information. If you would like to add additional details regarding the course you can add material to the Course Description section.
- Timetable - this would normally summarize the information from WebAdvisor and include lecture and lab information. For courses that have multiple labs/seminars (4+) a reference to WebAdvisor to confirm a specific lab or seminar is appropriate.
- Final Exam: At this time we ask that a standard reference to WebAdvisor is appropriate. If there is no final exam please state this and remove the WebAdvisor statement
The tool allows users to look up University of Guelph employees and automatically adds their contact information. Once the person is identified within the directory the editor can choose the individuals role within the course. Each individual is added separately.
Resources is a listed of required and recommended resources that will support the course. This could range from textbooks to a CourseLink site or journal articles.
- List all required resources, along with any other resources available to support the student in achieving the stated learning outcomes. Describe the use and availability of resources as appropriate (e.g. hours and location of SLGs). E.g. Required textbook, Recommended textbook, Lab manual, i-Clickers, Journal Articles, Reserve at library, Suggested readings, D2L on Courselink, Supported Learning Groups, Field trips, Eligible additional costs (lab coats, safety boots, dissecting tools). If there is a Courselink site associated with the course, instructors should include details to guide the student on how to access the materials, specifically for first and second year courses.
Please note that, according to the provincial guidelines, students cannot be charged for online resources or other ancillary fees that are required to complete the assignments or tests.
Please note that students can not be asked to purchase a required textbook, though it can be strongly recommended. As a result, copies must be made available on reserve in the library.
The outcomes section refers to the learning outcomes for the course. Each outcome should be added individually and will automatically be numbered
- List the specific learning outcomes for the course. Between five and ten outcomes would generally be appropriate for a 0.5 credit course. Learning outcomes should refer to what students should know or be able to do following successful completion of the course (i.e. attainment of a passing grade) that can be assessed. Outcomes are usually culminating competencies that involve combinations of knowledge, skills and attitudes, and should be expressed using active verbs (i.e., the student should be able to demonstrate, compare, synthesize, apply, analyze, etc) that reflect the extent of mastery by the student. (For example: By the end of this course, successful students will be able to critically evaluate a scientific claim in the public media by locating relevant research from the primary literature, identifying the major elements of that research and critically assessing its methods, results and conclusions). Learning outcomes for a particular course should address at least some of the learning outcomes established for the degree (e.g. BSc ) and the University.
- Resources are available to help craft learning outcomes, through Open Learning and Educational Support and the Associate Vice President Academic. A series of short workshops will also be offered by OpenEd (TBA) to provide assistance for distance education courses.
The activities include the lecture, laboratory, seminar content and can be added as a weekly schedule or by activities.
- When adding an activity you can choose from three categories lecture, lab or seminar
- A date can be added to the activity or the week of the semester (ie. 1, 2, 3 etc)
- A title can be added by completing the blank field just following the date/week
- If information is added to the three open text boxes (Topic, Reference, Details) these will be added just under the title
The assessments will first appear as a list however when the weighting of the course assessment is added a summary chart will created and alternate grading schemes can also be incorporated.
When an assessment is added a prompt will open that will require specific details of the assessment. Some details of the assessment is required, type and name, and additional details are optional. For the draft version of the outline the type and name must be included however the details of the assessment can be brief. It is strongly suggested that the weighting be included. If individuals are concerned about things changing prior ot the start of the semester, these details can be added in the assessment introduction section of this section.
Once all assessments have been added, individuals can click on the circular arrow beside title 'Distribution Scheme' and a summary of the individual components will appear with their individual weightings. This is a great way to confirm that your assessment adds up to 100%. If there are alternate grading schemes for a course this can be added into this section of the outline.
Please note: If assignments and tests do not explicitly align with the learning outcomes, the instructor should review and revise the outcomes or assessments or both.
Please Note, According to University Policy:
- Meaningful and constructive feedback (assessment) must be provided to students
- Evaluation criteria should measure quality of performance and not merely activity (or attendance for particular activities).
- Unannounced evaluations (e.g. pop quizzes) can not be used for course assessment purposes or to determine course grades.
Provide any additional descriptions about the forms of assessment that you require. e.g. Midterm exam – 40 multiple choice and 6 short answer questions; Research proposal - instructor needs to provide guidance regarding, length, style, topics, assessment etc.
Important dates: In a separate location, list the date and time of midterm and final exams and any other important dates or deadlines.
NOTE. Once released any changes to the grading scheme can only be approved under strict policies as approved by Senate. The policy can be found under Resolution 5.
There are a number of policies that the institution recommends to be included on all course outlines. There are standard University Policies will automatcally be incorporated into the course outlines along with any College wide statements. If there are course specific policies/statements individuals can add these individually using the tool.