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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Course Outline

Definition

A course outline or syllabus is a summary of the basic elements of a course, including class schedules, expectations, learning outcomes, assessments and policies. Functionally, it serves as a contract between you and your students. However, its true value can go beyond that. Your course outline can set up your students for success by helping them understand what is expected of them and what they should expect from you.

Explanation

The course outline is an important document for both instructors and students. A well-designed course outline sets the tone for the course and serves as a reference guide for students and instructors throughout the term.

For instructors, the course outline:

  • Helps you plan and organize your course.
  • Articulates your teaching style and assessment methods.
  • Models the course lessons, topics and outcomes.
  • Establishes the expectations you have for your students.
  • Allows you to set policies and guidelines.

For students, the course outline:

  • Establishes an initial point of contact between the instructor and themselves. 
  • Aligns course objectives, topics and assessments. 
  • Defines student expectations and responsibilities.
  • Provides a framework for what students can expect from the instructor. 
  • Articulates important policies, guidelines and resources.

Learner-centered course outlines can help foster a more engaging learning environment and build student-instructor rapport. In order to construct a learner-centered course outline, instructors must view learning as a partnership with students and shift focus from what content they are going to cover in the course to what tools they are going to provide to students in order to support their learning.

Application

An effective course outline provides descriptive course information, clarifies learning objects and evaluation methods, outlines course requirements and policies, and communicates key institutional policies and resources. Instructors are encouraged to use the Ontario Tech University course outline template. 

Example

Traditional
Learner-centered

Instructor: Dr. Jane Doe, PhD.

Office: Science Building, UAXX

Telephone: (905) 721-8668, ext. XX

Email: jane.doe@ontariotechu.ca

Office Hours: By appointment



Instructor: Dr. Jane Doe, PhD (she/her) - you can address me as “Jane”. 

Office: Science Building, UAXX

Telephone: (905) 721-8668, ext. XX

Email: jane.doe@ontariotechu.ca

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesday from 2:00 to 4:00 PM via Google Meet (link). 

I am always happy to connect with students during office hours. If these hours do not work with your schedule, please email me to arrange a time to meet. I am also able to provide assistance via email if that is your preference. 

I aim to respond to emails within 1-2 business days. Please note that I do not check my emails after 7 PM, during the weekends or holidays.

Personalizing your Course Outline

Your course outline is more than a collection of rules and expectations, it is a platform to communicate with students, provide valuable resources and share your enthusiasm for the subject matter and course. To personalize your course outline, consider adding the following elements: 

  • Introductory Message: welcome your students to your course and briefly introduce yourself. You can share any unique features of the course, such as experiential learning opportunities, and describe why you are excited about teaching this course.
  • Instructor Information: in addition to listing your contact information, you can provide students with more information about yourself, such as a brief bio, your pronouns, and what they should address you as. 
  • Teaching Philosophy: provide a brief statement of your values, goals, and beliefs regarding teaching and learning. 
  • Rationale for Teaching Approach and Evaluation Methods: share the rationale behind your teaching and evaluation methods. This can include information on how the course design has evolved based on student feedback and how it promotes a learner-centered environment. 

References

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Personalizing your Syllabus. University of Saskatchewan. https://teaching.usask.ca/articles/personalizing-your-syllabus.php

Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology. (n.d.). Function of the Syllabus. The University of Iowa. https://teach.its.uiowa.edu/sites/teach.its.uiowa.edu/files/docs/docs/Function_of_the_Syllabus_ed.pdf