Course Outlines/Syllabi and Office Hours

Keeping organized and getting the help you need when you’re taking more than one class is sometimes a challenge. But each instructor will offer you resources: it will be up to you to keep all this information organized so that things don’t slip through the cracks in your busy life.

What is a Course Outline or Syllabus?

Each instructor will give you a ‘course outline’ or ‘syllabus’. Course outlines usually include information on what the course is about, what the instructor expects you to learn, a calendar of assignments and assessments, a description of how grades work, and contact information for the instructor. Some instructors post this information in their VIULearn (D2L) site. Others might hand out a course outline as a paper document. In any case, the important information you need to get from any course outline is:

  • When and where does the class meet?
  • What is the course about and what does the instructor expect me to learn?
  • What are the expectations for what happens in class?
  • What are the expectations for preparing before class?
  • How can I contact my instructor if I have questions?
  • How will I be graded? When are exams and quizzes scheduled?
  • When are other assignments due?
  • Are there any ‘special’ days when the class meets in a different place, or online?

If you don’t find the answers to these questions, take advantage of the instructor’s office hours or email to ask additional questions.

Helpful Hints

Keep a calendar that has enough space on it for you to put all assignment deadlines, exam dates, group meetings or other details for each class. Be sure to schedule in time to study or prepare for major assignments!

Office Hours

Many instructors will put “office hours” on their course outline or syllabus. Office hours are a time when you can go to your instructor’s office and ask questions about your course information or talk to them about other academic concerns.

VIU Advising - office hours