Syllabus Statements

In accordance with NIU's syllabus policy, the following statements are provided for inclusion in NIU course syllabi. These statements have been provided by other departments and are not generated by CITL; while we check periodically for updates, you may want to check the source provided for each statement for the latest version. Please feel free to use with our recommendation, but if you have any questions about the content itself, please contact the department attributed with the statement

General Statements

NIU requires all syllabi to include a statement about disability accommodations, as specified in the Operating Procedures for Curricular Items. Students have the right to request disability-related accommodations for any course after registering with the Disability Resource Center, whether or not such a statement is included in the syllabus. Faculty may use the recommended statement, which is approved by the President’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities, or a similar statement of their own creation. The following recommended statement is available at Statement of Accessibility.

If you need an accommodation for this class, please contact the Disability Resource Center as soon as possible. The DRC coordinates accommodations for students with disabilities. It is located in the Campus Life Building, Suite 180, and can be reached at 815-753-1303 or drc@niu.edu.

Also, please contact me privately as soon as possible so we can discuss your accommodations. Please note that you will not be required to disclose your disability, only your accommodations. The sooner you let me know your needs, the sooner I can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.

Include a statement on academic integrity in your course syllabus. The following statement is from the NIU Undergraduate Catalog:

Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.

Include a statement on free expression, aligned to NIU's Freedom of Expression policy:

Northern Illinois University supports and upholds the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech and the principle of academic freedom to foster a learning environment where open inquiry and the vigorous debate of a diversity of ideas are encouraged. Students are not penalized for the content or viewpoints of their speech if student expression in a class context is germane to the subject matters of the course and conveyed in an appropriate manner.

Include a statement directing students to the library support available for their discipline. The following statement is a sample statement by University Libraries that can be customized for your course discipline:

Your librarian for this course, Firstname Lastname, can help you narrow a research question, manage citations, and use library services. You contact him/her/them at email@niu.edu to request an appointment. For recommendations and links to the best library resources, please see your department's Library Research Guide. For any research question, you can also chat live with a librarian.

See the Subject Specialist Librarians and Subject Areas for the name and contact information for your subject specialist librarian. Also, reach out to your librarian for their personal link for requesting an appointment.

The high cost of textbooks can be a barrier to students' academic success. If you have adopted low or no-cost course materials, consider the including following statement recommended by the Course Materials Affordability Task Force:

As a commitment to education affordability, this course uses course materials that are either open educational resources (OER), available from the University Libraries under fair use guidelines, or identified as low-cost (under $40).

You should also notify the course scheduler for your department so that your course can be designated with a Low Cost or Zero Cost attribute in MyNIU. Students are able to search for courses based on this attribute.

Sometimes it is necessary to make changes to the course syllabus for reasons such as unexpected university closure due to weather-related emergencies or to adjust content based on course and student progress. Therefore, it can be beneficial to include a syllabus change policy statement such as the example below.

This syllabus is a guide and every attempt is made to provide an accurate overview of the course and its requirements. However, certain circumstances may make it necessary for me to modify the syllabus during the semester for your benefit and the changes may depend, in part, on course progress and our needs. I will announce any change to the syllabus as early as possible so that you can adjust your schedule. The department/ school will also be notified of any change.

NOTE: Changes to the syllabus after the fourth week of a course, or deviations from the standards set in the syllabus, can be a basis for grade appeal: Procedures for Appeals of Course Grades by Undergraduate Students.

Inclusion Statements

Include a statement on gender identity and pronoun use. The following statement is recommended by the NIU Gender & Sexuality Resource Center:

Class rosters and University data systems are provided to faculty with the student's legal name and legal gender marker. As an NIU student, you are able to change how your preferred/proper name shows up on class rosters. 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 proper 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 preferred/proper name, you can do so by looking at the following guidelines and frequently asked questions:

As you set the tone in your syllabus for a welcoming community, consider including a land acknowledgement statement such as the following that echoes the sentiment of the NIU Land Acknowledgement Statement:

Northern Illinois University operates and is built on the traditional lands of the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), Miami, Bodewadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), Sauk and Meskwaki, and Peoria. We acknowledge this land and these peoples in order to honor the legacies, struggles, and current existence of Indigenous peoples.

Include a statement of support for students whose first language is not English. The following statement is recommended by Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:

I am committed to making course content accessible to all students. If English is not your first language and this causes you concern about the course, please speak with me.

Include a statement of support for undocumented students. The following statement is recommended by Undocumented Student Support and is included in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Educators Toolkit:

Undocumented students are welcome in this class. If you are undocumented and need assistance with successfully completing courses or a degree at NIU, the coordinator for Undocumented Student Support, Sandy López, can help you with advising, campus services designed for undocumented students, and other university resources. Visit Sandy in the Campus Life Building, room 236 or contact her at slopez1@niu.edu or 815-753-2391

NOTE: For all students addressing undocumented immigration as a category of analysis in class, do not use the word "illegal(s)" in a discussion. The term "illegal(s)" promotes a culture of intolerance and violence toward foreign nationals and undocumented immigrants. A more accurate and non-offensive term is "undocumented immigrant(s)." The use of this language signifies respect to the population addressed and reflects our campus's most basic values of diversity and civility in academic discourse.

Statements Related to Online or Hybrid Courses

You may want to add this statement to your syllabi, to highlight the alternative formats and their benefits available in your Blackboard course because of Blackboard Ally.

Blackboard offers Alternative Format options for many types of content in your courses. You can download course content in formats that work best for you, such as tagged PDFs (for screen readers), HTML, ePub (eBooks), electronic Braille, audio (mp3), and BeeLine reader versions. Download alternative formats by clicking the icon of an "A" with an arrow next to any item in our Blackboard course.

These alternative formats are not a substitute for accommodations. If you need an accommodation for this class, please contact the Disability Resource Center as soon as possible in the Campus Life Building, Suite 180, or at 815-753-1303 or drc@niu.edu.

If you plan to review student activity and participation in Blackboard, you can include the following statement to notify students:

This course uses Blackboard, which provides the instructor with analytics and data on student engagement within the Blackboard course, including participation, submissions, timeliness, etc. I will be monitoring student activities on Blackboard to ensure successful engagement and participation in the course. If I notice that a student's activities on Blackboard indicate issues with pedagogically appropriate engagement, I may reach out to the student to discuss improving course engagement and participation.

If you plan to record class sessions, it's helpful to include a statement in your syllabus notifying students of your plan to do so, such as:

Class sessions will all be audio- and/or video-recorded for the purposes of student-participant reference and access by other students enrolled in the same course (including students enrolled in different class sections or break-out groups). Student consent to being recorded during class is a condition of class participation. If you do not consent to being recorded during class, you will need to deactivate your video camera, keep your mute button activated, and participate only via the chat feature, but please note that such actions may have a negative impact on any portion of your grade that is based on class participation. Students are not permitted to make their own recordings of class sessions or to share or distribute university recordings of class sessions. NOTE: Students with specific electronic recording accommodations authorized by the Disability Resource Center may record classes; however, the instructor must be notified of any such accommodation prior to recording. Any distribution of such recordings is prohibited.

If you plan to use Respondus LockDown Browser with Monitor for proctoring your exams and/or assessments, include a statement clarifying your expectations for use, such as:

Faculty use a number of strategies for ensuring academic integrity in courses, whether in-person or online, and a variety of technologies may be applied. This course may use LockDown Browser with Monitor for online exams and assessments. While there is no cost to you to use the software, you are required to have a webcam, which may be built into your computer or may be an external camera. Use a Mac or PC computer; Chromebooks are not compatible. Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of LockDown Browser and the Monitor webcam feature.

During remote course exams or assessments, your participation may be video-recorded with your webcam using Respondus Monitor. Respondus Monitor is a companion product for LockDown Browser that enables students to record themselves with a webcam and microphone during an online exam. These video recordings may be submitted to Student Conduct as evidence in suspected cases of violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

The Respondus system allows access to your webcam only while the exam/assessment is in progress. NIU and its faculty do not have access to your webcam at any point outside of the assessment setting. You are responsible for obtaining an external webcam with microphone if no functioning built-in camera is available on your device. Students may borrow laptops with webcams from Founders Library.

Download and install LockDown Browser to your Mac or PC computer.

For more information, see Taking a Test with the Respondus LockDown Browser

If you plan to require students to use a webcam for class sessions and/or assessments, include a statement that identifies what synchronous tool(s) you will be using and your expectations for participation, such as:

This course may require you to use a webcam for class sessions and/or assessments. Classes and assessments may be conducted using Collaborate, Teams, Zoom or other technology selected by your instructor which may use your computer’s webcam or other technologies to communicate, monitor, and/or record classes, class activities, and assessments. Assessments may also be conducted using proctoring software, which may listen to you, monitor your computer screen, view you and your surroundings, and record (including visual and audio recordings) all activity during the proctoring process. Please contact your instructor if you are unable to comply or have any questions or concerns.

For more, see Recommendations for Webcam and Respondus Monitor Use in the Classroom.

Teaching Support

CITL staff are available to answer your teaching questions. Give us a call at 815-753-0595 or email citl@niu.edu for assistance. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our staff.

View CITL upcoming events to view available upcoming workshops offered or to register.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595
Email: citl@niu.edu

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