Syllabus (Resident)


Elements of a Syllabus in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: Resident Courses

Course Number and Title

This syllabus is divided into several sections. It is essential that you read the entire document as well as the material covered in the Course Orientation. Together these serve as our course "contract."


Name (required)
Title (required)

Campus address
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

  • Phone: (contact info required)
  • E-mail: (contact info required) Please use the course e-mail system.
  • Office Hours: (required)

The information below about responding to student e-mail and discussion posts is critical. Please consider your schedule and your teaching style and update accordingly. The details of your policy are not nearly as important as having a policy and making the students aware of it.

NOTE: I will read and respond to e-mail and discussion forums at least once per day during the workweek (Monday through Friday). You may see me online occasionally on the weekends, but please don't count on it!

Teaching Assistants (required if applicable)

Name (required)
Title (required)
Campus address
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

  • Phone: (contact info required)
  • E-mail: (contact info required) Please use the course e-mail system.
  • Office Hours: (required)

The information below about responding to student e-mail and discussion posts is critical. Please consider your schedule and your teaching style and update accordingly. The details of your policy are not nearly as important as having a policy and making the students aware of it.

NOTE: I will read and respond to e-mail and discussion forums at least once per day during the workweek (Monday through Friday). You may see me online occasionally on the weekends, but please don't count on it!

Class Support Services 

Penn State Online offers online tutoring to World Campus students in math, writing, and some business classes. Tutoring and guided study groups for residential students are available through Penn State Learning.

Course Overview

Course designation in the curriculum: (e.g. required in major or option, elective) (required)

Course Description: (required)
Brief course description. It is recommended that you include the description from LionPATH. (Go to LionPATH then choose "Class Search".) Include information about how this course fits into a major, minor, certificate, option, elective, etc.

Prerequisites and concurrent courses: (required if applicable)
If there are prerequisites, list them, and then add the policy statement below.

Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be disenrolled according to Administrative Policy C-5 if they do not have the proper prerequisite override. If you have not completed the listed prerequisites, then promptly consult with the instructor if you have not done so already. Students who add the course after being disenrolled, according to this policy, are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Every effort should be made to disenroll students prior to the start of the semester, because if a student is disenrolled after the semester begins, the course will be counted as uncompleted, and could negatively affect the student’s financial aid.

Course Goals and Objectives (required) 

When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to: (e.g., list the course objectives and outcomes developed for the Penn State-required program assessment or for ABET accreditation)

  • describe
  • cite
  • explain
  • analyze
  • evaluate

Course content and expectations (e.g., list of topics covered, pages for or sources of required and suggested reading)

On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits.

I have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. The Internet may still be a novel learning environment for you, but in one sense it is no different from a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me as well as with your fellow students.

Specific learning objectives for each lesson and project are detailed in each lesson. The class schedule is published below and in Canvas (the course management system used for this course).

Required Course Materials (required if applicable)

If applicable, include a link to Barnes and Noble for textbook purchases. 

Please include the statement below if textbooks are required for your course. 

Assistance with textbooks (required if applicable)

Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, please contact your academic advisor. For additional needs, related to socioeconomic status, please visit Project Cahir or visit the Office of Student Care and Advocacy at 222 Boucke Building or call 814-863-2020.

Recommended textbooks (required if applicable)

Reserve materials and location (required if applicable)
This course uses the library Electronic Reserves (E-Reserves). More information about how to access this content is available in the course orientation.

Internet materials and links (required if applicable)

Online lesson content
All (other) materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website and in Canvas. In order to access the online materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the online course resources). If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact  Penn State IT Service Desk for World Campus students or  Penn State IT Get Support (for students at all other campus locations).

Syllabus and Paper Acknowledgement Forms

In an online course, the college recommends requiring all students to take an online quiz affirming they have read and understand the syllabus.

In a blended class, the college recommends that all students sign and return the Syllabus Acknowledgement Form (during the first week of the semester.) In addition, the College recommends the Paper Submission Form as a way to have students take responsibility for papers/labs/homework done as part of group work.

Assessment Policy: Assignments, Quizzes, and Exams (required)

Required written/oral assignments

  • Summary of required problem sets, papers, oral presentations, etc. 
  • The weight given to each assignment
  • Due date for each assignment

This course will rely on a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

  • Type of activity 1 write a description of that activity here
  • Type of activity 2 write a description of that activity here
  • Type of activity 3 write a description of that activity here
  • Type of activity 4 write a description of that activity here
  • Creating Web Content (Use the following statement if you are requiring students to create things that will be widely accessible on the web and move it under the appropriate bullet above)
    NOTE: This course requires students to maintain a web presence that may include things such as the creation of a web page, blog postings, video sharing, and other Internet participation. You will be required to participate in online activities that are widely accessible to all, including others outside of Penn State.
  • Citation and Reference Style (If you require this, move it under the appropriate bullet above)
    Here is where you tell your students what reference style you want them to use. You can add the Academic Integrity and Citation Style Guide library page. This page provides links to guides for a variety of styles (APA, MLA, CSE, Turabian, and Chicago).

It is important that your work is submitted in the proper format to the appropriate Canvas Assignment or Discussion Forum and by the designated due date. I strongly advise that you not wait until the last minute to complete these assignments—give yourself time to ask questions, think things over, and chat with others. You'll learn more, do better...and be happier!

Examination Policy

  • Summary of quizzes and exams
  • The weight given to each quiz or exam
  • Due dates for each quiz or exam
  • Make-up exam policy
  • Evening exam schedule, if applicable

Due dates for all assignments are posted on the syllabus and course calendar in Canvas.

    Breakdown of each assignment's value as a percentage of the total course grade.
    Assignment Percent of Grade
    Quizzes 15%
    Lesson Activities 10%
    Trading Activities 20%
    Midterm Exam 25%
    Final Exam 25%
    Discussion Forum Participation 5%

    I will use the Canvas grade book to keep track of your grades. You can see your grades in the grade book, too. Overall course grades will be determined as follows. Percentages refer to the proportion of all possible points earned.

    Make-up Examination Policy (required) Below is a sample policy.

    Make-up exams will only be granted through the approval of the course instructor for legitimate and excused absences. Prior notification and approval for a make-up exam must be obtained by the student at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled exam. Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Grading Policy

    Grading Scale (required)

    Letter Grade and Corresponding Percentage
    Letter Grade Percentages
    A 93 - 100 %
    A- 90 - 92.9 %
    B+ 87 - 89.9 %
    B 83 - 86.9 %
    B- 80 - 82.9%
    C+ 77 - 79.9 %
    C 70 - 76.9 %
    D 60 - 69.9 %
    F < 60 %

    Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)


      Curving Policy (required if applicable) Add information about the curve here or state that you don't use a curve.

      Late Policy (required if applicable) Below is a sample policy.
      I do not accept any "late work." In exceptional circumstances, you should contact me. The earlier you contact me to request a late submission, the better. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Generally, late assignments will be assessed with a penalty of at least 10% and will not be accepted more than one week after the original due date.

      Sample 7 Course Schedule

      imagePrintable Schedule

      Below you will find a summary of the primary learning activities for this course and the associated time frames. This course is twelve weeks in length, with an orientation week preceding the official start of the course. Each lesson is one week long. See our Syllabus/Calendar in Canvas for specific lesson time frames and assignment due dates.

      (How do your lessons open? One per week? A unit at a time? Can students work ahead? etc.)

      Weekly schedule: Lessons open on xyz day, close on xyz day, discussions are due to xyz. I expect you to participate in the online discussion forums at least # times per week, etc.

      NOTE: See the Canvas Syllabus or Calendar for a full semester calendar of events.

      Enter Weekly Lesson number and name
      Week #:

      Course Policies

      [The following policies are required: Academic Integrity, Course Copyright, Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Change in Normal Campus Operations, Mandated Reporting Statement, Counseling and Psychological Services, Attendance, Technical Requirements (General and Internet Connection), Equations (if Math is used), Disclaimer. A Make-up Exam Policy is also required, and should be included in the Grading section of the syllabus.]

      Penn State E-mail Accounts

      All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

      Technical Requirements

      For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the World Campus Technical Requirements page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

      Internet Connection

      Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.

      Mixed Content

      This site is considered a secure website, which means that your connection is encrypted. We do however link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted. This is called mixed content. By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed. Follow the directions on our Technical Requirements page to view the mixed content.

      Connect Online with Caution

      Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision-making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information to others whom you do not know.

      Academic Integrity

      This course follows the EMS academic integrity procedures. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting other's work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other student's papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's "Academic Integrity Training for Students".

      Course Copyright

      All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

      For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

      Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

      Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for Campus Disability Coordinators at every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Office for Student Disability Resources website

      In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled. You will participate in an intake interview and provide documentation. See documentation guidelines at Applying for Services from Student Disability Resources. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.


      Regular attendance is critical for building the skills and knowledge developed throughout the class. Students who participate have a more complete understanding of the material presented and are more likely to succeed in the class. The University recognizes that, on exceptional occasions, students may miss a class meeting to participate in a regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activity (such as field trips, debate trips, choir trips, and athletic contests), or due to unavoidable or other legitimate circumstances such as illness, injury, military service, family emergency, religious observance, participation in local, state, and federal government elections, or post-graduate, career-related interviews when there is no opportunity for students to reschedule these opportunities (such as elections or employment and graduate school final interviews). In all cases, you should inform me in advance, when possible. Missing class, even for a legitimate purpose, may mean there is work that cannot be made up, hurting your grade in this class. Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVPSA) and Student Care and Advocacy for help. You should be prepared to provide documentation for participation in University-approved activities, as well as for career-related interviews. You should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form, at least one week prior to the activity.

      If seats are assigned in the classroom, it’s important that you sit in your assigned seat for each class period you attend. Physical attendance will NOT be used as part of the calculation of your course grade, but participation may be used.

      Change in Normal Campus Operations

      Campus emergencies, including weather delays and closures, are announced on Penn State News and communicated to cell phones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at PSUAlert).

      Reporting Educational Equity Concerns

      Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias.

        Counseling and Psychological Services

        Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitivity to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Services include the following:

        Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park (CAPS): 814-863-0395
        Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses
        Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
        Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

        Deferred Grades

        If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period. It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion. If for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

        Military Personnel

        Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

        Disruptive Behavior

        Behavior that disrupts normal classroom activities will not be tolerated, in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

        Mandated Reporting Statement

        Penn State's policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State's Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response website.

        Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.

        Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

        Penn State is committed to creating an educational environment that is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming, and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.

        For additional information, see:

        Disclaimer Statement

        Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in written (paper or electronic) form.