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Template for Course Syllabi

Basic Course Information

  • How do you want students to contact you: via email, phone or through Blackboard; through a course Facebook page?  
  • Are there times of day you will not be available?  
  • How soon can students expect a response?  
  • Are you willing to meet with students at other times if office hours conflict with their schedule?
  • Where is your campus mailbox?

For adjunct faculty who don’t have office space, there are several options for establishing office hours:

  • Meet with students prior to or directly after class
  • Establish office hours and meet in the Blackboard Support Office in Library 321
  • Meet with students in the library, Mary Graydon, or other public spaces on campus
  • Establish on-line office hours when you will be available via e-mail, g-chat or Skype.

Course Description and Goals

This section might begin with the course description from the AU catalogue (or your individual version) and often includes general course goals: broad statements that outline the purpose of the course. These goals can be listed or written as a paragraph. Terms often used to describe goals include, for example, appreciate, value, explore, consider, take into account, understand, and become familiar with.

Selecting Textbooks and Readings for Your Course

  • For many introductory courses, a traditional textbook is needed. When appropriate, you might also consider alternative information sources: books that are not textbooks, journal articles, online sources etc.
  • Consider how much of the text students will be required to read. If it is only one or two chapters, consider other options available through the Library, such as E reserves.
  • Request that copies of your texts and other books be put on reserve in the Library and specify the amount of time a student can have them. For example, a two-hour reserve allows more students to access the book in a given period than a longer reserve period. For Gen Ed courses, the Library automatically puts copies of all books on reserve.
  • Check with Library Reserves to see if copies of your text or other books are in the stacks. You can request that they be pulled and added to the course reserves so that more students have access to them.
  • Based on your individual course content and discipline, consider whether students can purchase an earlier edition than the most recent one. Either way, let students know your policy in advance.

Information to include on Course Syllabi

Include, as relevant, information such as the following:  

  • If a specific edition of the text is required, let students know. Prior editions may be less expensive than new ones, (if they are still available) though you need to judge their appropriateness.
  • Distinguish between required readings and those that are optional or recommended. Keep in mind that some students will interpret "suggested" readings as required.
  • Are books on reserve in the Library?
  • Are there additional resources or required fees, e.g. lab fees, art supplies, sheet music, field trips, technology fees or software purchases?

How to Order Textbooks from the AU Campus Store

Beginning with the fall, 2016 semester, the AU Campus Bookstore has new textbook ordering and purchasing practices in place.

Please click here to read further about how your students can purchase books through


Open Education Resources (OERs)

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. 

The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning OER Initiative provides grants to faculty who want to revise a course to make use of OERs.