An integral part of the information provided to students is a course syllabus (outline). This syllabus is essentially an agreement between the instructor and student which outlines the learning objectives, course expectations, required texts, extra readings, the dates assignments are due, and the types of assignments (e.g. papers, tests, group projects, exams, etc.). Important information that may also be included on a syllabus is how to seek accommodation for personal or health matters that may affect a student's performance. Students should read the syllabus carefully at the beginning of the course and refer back to it regularly, in order to understand what texts and readings are required and to understand the frequency and types of assignments.
A well prepared (and read) syllabus will leave little room for surprises as the term progresses. Normally, the syllabus details all the readings for the course so students may come to class prepared and ready to engage with the material. If the material for the course causes concern due to bias, stereotyping or an unbalanced view, students may address their concern about the material with the instructor. There may be valid reason for having this material as it may provide a useful aid in showing how material and thought have changed. Instructors and students are urged to seek advice through the Equity Office if they require assistance with presenting or understanding sensitive material.