Syllabus Guidance, Spring 2021

Due to COVID-19 and its attendant challenges, we have a number of special requests relating to your Spring 2021 syllabus.

Please post your syllabus to Canvas as soon as possible but in no case later than January 12th, one week prior to the start of the semester

Your Canvas class is available to you now, and students need to know how you plan to run your class this spring so that they can make the course decisions that are right for them in this environment.

Safety and Class Participation/Masks

Here is a disclosure regarding safety and the wearing of masks that everyone teaching an in-person or hybrid class should include in their syllabus:

Safety and Class Participation/Masks: We will all need to make some adjustments in order to benefit from in-person classroom interactions in a safe and healthy manner. Our best protections against spreading COVID-19 on campus are masks (defined as cloth face coverings) and staying home if you are showing symptoms. Therefore, for the benefit of everyone, this is means that all students are required to follow these important rules.

  • Every student must wear a cloth face-covering properly in class and in all campus buildings at all times.
  • Students are¬†encouraged to participate¬†in documented daily symptom screening.¬† This means that each class day in which on-campus activities occur, students must upload certification from the symptom tracking app and confirm that they completed their symptom screening for that day to Canvas.¬† Students should not upload the results of that screening, just the certificate that they completed it. If the symptom tracking app recommends that the student isolate rather than coming to class, then students must not return to class until cleared by a medical professional.
  • Information regarding¬†safety protocols with and without symptoms can be found here.

If a student is not wearing a cloth face-covering properly in the classroom (or any UT building), that student must leave the classroom (and building). If the student refuses to wear a cloth face covering, class will be dismissed for the remainder of the period, and the student will be subject to disciplinary action as set forth in the university’s Institutional Rules/General Conduct 11-404(a)(3). Students who have a condition that precludes the wearing of a cloth face covering must follow the procedures for obtaining an accommodation working with Services for Students with Disabilities.

Sharing of Course Materials is Prohibited

Here is a disclosure that you are encouraged to include in your syllabus to help in targeting the unauthorized distribution of class materials through Chegg, CourseHero, and other unauthorized online sharing sources that are often used for cheating. We will be taking additional proactive steps to help with this problem, but clearly disclosing to students in the syllabus that this is not authorized avoids ambiguity and supports your case with Student Conduct and Academic Integrity if unauthorized sharing of materials is reported. 

Note: If you do wish to share your class assessment materials, as many faculty members do, we encourage you to do so by posting them in your course Canvas site to make sure all of your students have equal access:

Sharing of Course Materials is Prohibited: No materials used in this class, including, but not limited to, lecture hand-outs, videos, assessments (quizzes, exams, papers, projects, homework assignments), in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets, may be shared online or with anyone outside of the class unless you have my explicit, written permission. Unauthorized sharing of materials promotes cheating. It is a violation of the University’s Student Honor Code and an act of academic dishonesty. I am well aware of the sites used for sharing materials, and any materials found online that are associated with you, or any suspected unauthorized sharing of materials, will be reported to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students. These reports can result in sanctions, including failure in the course.

FERPA and Class Recordings

Here is a disclosure that you must include in your syllabus if you are recording class sessions in which class members are individually identifiable in the recording (or if you think you may wish to make such recordings available to support students who are unable to attend class for COVID-related, or other, reasons). Legal has indicated that to be in compliance with FERPA we need to provide such a warning.

Note: Class recordings made in Zoom should only be posted through Zoom’s integration with Canvas. When posted this way, students cannot directly download a copy of the recording (although other means of capturing recordings exist, hence the need for the syllabus warning as well):

Class Recordings: Class recordings are reserved only for students in this class for educational purposes and are protected under FERPA. The recordings should not be shared outside the class in any form. Violation of this restriction by a student could lead to Student Misconduct proceedings. Guidance on public access to class recordings can be found here.

For any instructors of in-person or hybrid courses with some in-person meetings, you might want to share the following information about social distancing, monitoring, quarantine and self-isolation.

COVID Guidance

COVID Caveats: To help keep everyone at UT and in our community safe, it is critical that students report COVID-19 symptoms and testing, regardless of test results, to University Health Services, and faculty and staff report to the HealthPoint Occupational Health Program (OHP) as soon as possible. Please see this link to understand what needs to be reported.  In addition, to help understand what to do if a fellow student in the class (or the instructor or TA) tests positive for COVID, see this University Health Services link.

Sample Spring 2021 Syllabus

This sample syllabus includes a statement on flexibility. If you'd like to share this statement in your syllabus, you can find the full text on page 8 in the "policies" section.

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