Elements of an Effective Course Outline

Expectations for Student Behavior
Expectations of academic integrity (description of applicable academic offenses and associated penalties), student conduct (non-academic offenses and personal security policy), or any special conditions (such as confidentiality of class discussions, practicum behaviors and ethics, research ethics, and human subjects research approval procedures) that may apply to the course need to be stated in the course outline. Alternatively, the course outline may refer students to the appropriate pages of the current University Calendar or authorized website with a statement such as "The policies governing student conduct can be found on pages 63 to 68 of the University Calendar; a useful guide to avoiding plagiarism may be found on the Library's website at http://www.uleth.ca/lib/guides/plagiarism.asp."

The inclusion of these passages severs three purposes: It ensures that students are informed on these issues, which cannot be assumed otherwise, given the wide variation in high school preparation, students transferring from other contexts or cultures, and the variation in the enforcement of these ideals by one's colleagues; it eliminates the "I didn't know" defence by students in violation of these policies; and research shows that students are more likely to conform to the highest standards of academic integrity when the instructor indicates that these issues matter to him or her (by including them in the course outline and referring to them in class).

Where instructors wish to make use of an approved plagiarism detection service, the course outline should include an appropriate notice, such as: "The University of Lethbridge subscribes to [name of authorized service such as Turnitin.com], a plagiarism detection service. Student work submitted for credit in this course may be submitted to this system to verify its originality." [Note that there are significant ethical and legal issues which have yet to be resolved in the use of these services.]