In January 2012, Rice's Faculty Senate approved a student-initiated motion regarding syllabus standards and the required distributing of course syllabus information. Beginning with the Fall 2012 semester, instructors should post and archive the syllabus for their course in ESTHER, where it can be viewed by enrolled students. While instructors may additionally post their course syllabus in other locations such as on a course web page, Canvas, or even as distributed paper handouts, the posting in ESTHER is the official recorded distribution and archiving of the course syllabus.
Rice University's Center for Teaching Excellence has syllabus guidelines and a syllabus template available here.
How course syllabi can be viewed depends on the syllabi access restrictions that have been set.
When the syllabus is public and open to all, there will be verbiage on the course in Course Offerings that reads, “Course Syllabus Available - Download Here”. Clicking on the hyperlink will automatically download the syllabus.
When the syllabus is available to the Rice community only (and not everyone on the web), there will be verbiage on the course in Course Offerings that reads, “Course Syllabus Available to Rice students via ESTHER.” Clicking on this hyperlink will open up the ESTHER page so that a valid Rice community member can authenticate. After doing so (after logging into ESTHER), the file will download to the Rice community member's machine. A student does not need to be registered in order to view a private/Rice community only syllabus.
Posting course syllabi online came about in response to a student-initiated motion for instructors to make course syllabi available online, via ESTHER, and for course syllabi to remain in ESTHER indefinitely as a means of maintaining an archive.
This information can be easily obtained by using the public "Enrollment Counts" web application. Both the html (web page) output and Excel output include a column entitled “Has Syllabus?” with the answer being “Y” or “N”. Additional information on posted syllabi and archiving of course syllabi can be found in the Course Syllabus FAQs.
For a list of Course Syllabus FAQs for students, click here.
For a list of Course Syllabus FAQs for faculty and staff, click here.