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Template · Administrative Departments · Administration

Listening To Music (sample learner-centered syllabus)

  • 2016
  • Section Training
  • 01/11/2016 to 05/20/2016
  • Modified 03/12/2019

This syllabus for "Listening to Music" does not represent an actual Webster class. Rather, it was created by the Faculty Development Center as an example of a learning-centered syllabus to help faculty consider new ways of engaging students.


Items in blue boxes, labeled "About this item," communicate information about the Concourse syllabus technology and how it is used at Webster University. These boxes also explain whether the information contained in specific fields can be viewed only by the instructor and enrolled students or to everyone; items are visible to all audiences unless specified here. Furthermore, these boxes explain which fields instructors are responsible for completing, as some content is already supplied by the university or by departments and cannot be edited by individual instructors.

Items in yellow boxes, labeled "Notes for improving learning," offer suggestions on creating a learning-centered syllabus, and on using your syllabus as a tool for enhancing student engagement in the classroom.


Meeting Times

About this item: The meeting times item allows the instructor to enter meeting times for class sessions and activities. If entered in a structured way, a calendar feed is available for these activities. Click here for a video overview of this item.

  • Monday, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Contact Information

About this item: The contact information item provides instructors a space to enter email, phone, and other contact info. This item is visible only to registered students and instructors.


Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Dister

Available to meet with students during office hours and throughout the week upon request.

Office Hours

  • Wednesday, Friday, 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM


In today's world, we listen to music constantly, yet we have developed skillful ways of not attending to it. From streaming services to ringtones to background music in coffee shops, music enters almost every aspect of our lives, and its intrusion can make us tune out, to relegate music to the realm of "noise." Meanwhile, we have more and more powerful technologies for seeking music out and for actively listening to it. What do our choices to listen and to not listen mean? How do the things we listen to and how we listen to them reflect our identities and our changing society? This course explores the act of listening in various historical, political, social, and geographic contexts in order to understand listening itself is as a diverse human practice rooted in issues of power and identity.

About this item: The course description item holds the formal course description from the university catalog. If this description has already been entered, instructors will not be able to edit this item. If it has not been entered, instructors are asked to enter the description from the catalog.

Notes for improving learning: The course description does more than explain the content of your course: it offers your students a snapshot of the major themes to be addressed, and it gives them an idea of how they might frame the larger issues surrounding those themes. The description can be quite broad, however, and students may read the catalog description, make assumptions about what the course entails, and enroll with expectations that do not necessarily align with what individual instructors will teach. The syllabus therefore becomes a tool for individual instructors to give students a picture of both the course content and the teaching approaches that will be used during the term, and to start a conversation with students about how the course is relevant to their interests and professional goals.



Students will:

  • Identify and describe different modes of listening, interrogate the contexts in which these modes are valued, and apply diverse modes of listening to musical examples
  • Evaluate how musical meaning is socially constructed by interpreting various case studies and by analyzing how students' own identities and backgrounds contribute to their musical choices
  • Describe how music can be used as a tool of both power and dissent by assessing various musics within relevant historical contexts
  • Through self-reflection and collaboration, develop personal and collective modes of listening that solidify communal identities, enhance lifelong enjoyment of music, and enrich personal growth

About this item: Webster University courses have documented course outcomes which are communicated via the outcomes item (below). Instructors are free to use the objectives item here for other goal-related language for their course so long as it complements the the documented course outcomes (e.g., profession-related objectives, instructor objectives, etc.).

Notes for improving learning:

Course objectives should help your students to understand where the course is headed, what they'll be expected to learn, and how, specifically, they will be learning it. Objectives therefore do more than simply giving students a snapshot of what they'll be able to do and what they'll know at the end of the course; they should describe the process of getting there. In developing your course objectives, you might want to consider the following questions:

  • The "what": What skills and knowledge do I want my students to acquire or strengthen through this course?
  • The "how": What sorts of activities will students be engaging in to develop these areas, and how will I be assessing their learning?
  • The "why": How do these objectives relate to more general goals for our students (degree requirements, professional standards, lifelong learning)?
When students scan your syllabus, some may have a tendency to skip over the objectives and the outcomes section and look directly to the deliverables. You can help reorient their priorities in a couple of ways. You might explain why the objectives are important within the context of your field, or you might ask them to think of how the objectives relate to their own goals or current jobs. When you talk about the deliverables section, you might relate each assignment back to the objectives, making it clear how the work they will complete relates to big-picture goals.



About this item: Webster University has documented outcomes for each course supplied by the academic department. These outcomes communicate what a student will be able to do as a result of taking this course. If provided in the item already, instructors will not be able to edit the outcomes. If not provided in the item, instructors are asked to enter only outcomes provided by the academic department.

Notes for improving learning: Consider using the course outcomes as a jumping-off point for a discussion of why your students signed up for this class and what they are hoping to get out of it. You can also always return to these outcomes as you craft your lesson plans and assignments, asking yourself whether or not particular activities fulfill the broader mission articulated through the course outcomes.



About this item: The materials item provides a place to enter information about the textbooks and other items required for a course.  NOTE: Walker School of Business and Technology syllabi have an additional "required textbook" item.

Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World

  • Author: Kay Kaufman Shelemay
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton
  • Edition: 3rd
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-91828-1
  • Availability: Campus Bookstore

Please note that this book has an accompanying set of CDs, which students should purchase separately.

Recordings for Soundscapes, 3rd Edition

  • Publisher: W. W. Norton
  • ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-393-93784-8
  • Availability: Campus Bookstore

Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty

  • Author: Ben Ratliff
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
  • ISBN: 978-0374277901
  • Availability: Campus Bookstore

Articles and Links to Recordings in WorldClassRoom

All other articles, book chapters, recordings, and videos will be available as pdfs or links in WorldClassRoom.


About this item: The deliverables item holds details about assignments, reports, papers, and possibly quizzes and exams if additional detail is needed beyond the evaluation item. This item is visible only to registered students and instructors.

Further details on most of the items below are available in WorldClassRoom, including grading rubrics in some cases. The content of the exams will depend in large part on class sessions, so further details on exams will be posted two weeks before the exam.



The midterm exam will cover material through Week 8 and will evaluate your ability to synthesize, evaluate, and analyze course content through short answer questions, responses to listening examples, and essay questions. The material for the exam will be drawn from course readings, in-class discussions, and in-class activities, and it will be a take-home, open-book exam.


Students will choose either Option 1 or Option 2 for their final assessment:

Option 1: Open-book final exam

The final exam will be cumulative, covering material from the entirety of the course, and it will be open-book/open-notes. Test questions will address the big-picture themes we've covered in the course (different modes of listening), but you should be prepared to present specific issues, case studies, theories, and examples as evidence. A study guide and more details will be provided two weeks before the exam date.

Option 2: Personal Soundtrack Paper, Part II

At the beginning of the semester, you were asked to create a three-track personal "soundtrack" CD, and to write a paper analyzing how your musical choices reflected your complex intersectional identity. This final paper represents Part II of that project, and asks you to create a three-track soundtrack that reflects who you want to become in the next five years, considers how musical choices play into your emerging identity, and suggests ways that different modes of listening might contribute to this transformation. The complete paper prompt is available through WorldClassRoom.

Notes for improving learning: One major barrier in student engagement is anxiety over grades. By laying out what students will be expected to know for the exams, and by giving them some choice and control over the exams (open-book, different options for assessment), you can allay their worries, helping them to concentrate on the material and skills they need to acquire rather than focusing on receiving a certain grade. When you offer closed-book exams, you can achieve a similar result by detailing the content they should study, or offering a practice take-home exam or study guide.

Short Written Responses

Throughout the semester, you will be asked to prepare very short responses to readings, videos, and audio examples, and we will use your responses in class as the basis for group discussions and in-class activities. You can expect to complete one of these short assignments in preparation for or during each class session, and ten of them will be collected, graded for completion, and returned to you with feedback.

Notes for improving learning: The more opportunities you give your students to receive feedback on short, low-stakes assignments, the more likely your students are to be prepared for more weighty, lengthier work. Here, the low-stakes assignments serve four purposes: they encourage students to actively engage with the material covered outside of class, they help students practice skills needed for other assignments, they allow the instructor to gauge student comprehension of the material, and they help ensure that students arrive in class prepared to engage in discussion.



Many of this course's in-class activities, and some of your graded activities, will involve collaborations with your peers. This is partly because I believe that you have important things to teach each other, partly because listening itself is a social activity, and partly because social learning is more rich and motivating than individual learning. Group work can be challenging, so I will help you learn how to interact with your group in productive ways as we move through the course content. During our first group exercise, you will come up with a set of guidelines for effective group work.

Notes for improving learning: Studies show that students learn best when learning is social, but many students greatly dislike group projects. One major barrier that prevents students from having fruitful group experiences is concern over grades. You can help your students feel more comfortable in their groups by asking them to draw up a group contract that will guide expectations and a group grading rubric for how they will be assessed.


Further details for each assignment are available in WorldClassRoom, and we will discuss each paper several times as dates approach.

  • Personal Soundtrack Paper, due Week 2: asks you to create a 3-track personal soundtrack and provide a 3-page commentary on how it reflects aspects of your identity
  • Listening as a Social Practice Essay I, due Week 5: asks you to attend a musical event and analyze it using tools learned in class; will include an in-class peer report and peer evaluation; grading criteria determined by students (final grade determined by instructor to ensure fairness)
  • Listening as a Social Practice Essay II, due Week 10: asks you to attend a musical event and analyze it using tools learned in class; will include an in-class peer report and peer evaluation; grading criteria determined by students (final grade determined by instructor)
  • Modes of Listening Paper, due Week 13; you will analyze a piece of music from three different listening perspectives, as discussed in class; students choose which listening modes to employ, or may come up with their own

Notes for improving learning: Studies in pyschology and education show that students are more engaged when they are given opportunities to connect the course material to their own lives, when they are given different choices and some measure of control, when they are challenged, and when they work collaboratively with peers. The assignments above allow students opportunities to connect the material to their personal and professional identities and to social groups in their communities, which may help them understand how what is learned in class can be applied to many aspects of their lives, to current events, and to issues of local and national concern. All of these assignments give students a great deal of choice (in terms of the content and sources of their paper materials) and two allow them to determine the grading criteria collectively, which can increase their sense of agency and autonomy, thereby increasing their engagement.

Students may find this amount of choice and control very challenging, which can increase some students' engagement but be overwhelming for others. You can provide an appropriate level of support as each assignment approaches by giving students examples of what successful assignments might look like. Ultimately, though, the assignments here are still dictated by the instructor. Some instructors choose an even more democratic approach, allowing students to collectively choose assignments at the beginning of the semester and to determine all of the grading criteria. Such an approach can increase engagement but may prove too challenging for students new to a subject area, since they may not yet have the context to come up with relevant goals.



About this item: The evaluation item allows the instructor to enter a breakdown of their grading criteria and the information about the grading weight carried by different course activities.  This item is visible only to registered students and instructors.


Types of evaluations and related weights
Type Weight Topic Notes
Exams 20%

Mid-term is worth 10% of final grade, final assesment is worth 10% of final grade.

Papers 30%

Comprised of 4 papers: Personal soundtrack (5% of final grade), Listening as a Social Practice 1 (5% of final grade), Listening as a Social Practice 2 (5% of final grade), and Modes of Listening Paper (15% of final grade).

Participation 20%

Comprised of attendance, participation in in-class activities, and contributions to class discussions.

Collaboration 10%

Comprised of in-class group work and short presentations.

Short Assignments 20%

There will be 10 short assignments throughout the semester--some very short written assignments as homework, some short assignments completed in class. Each one is worth 2% of your final grade and will be graded for completion only.


About this item: The course schedule is a breakdown of course activity at the session level.  This item is visible publicly for students to evaluate the course activity.  To share details more privately with students, including all grade-related details, make use of the evaluation, deliverables, or course policy items.

Notes for improving learning: Students use the syllabus as a planning tool as they navigate their various classes, professional responsibilities, co-curricular activities, and personal lives. Giving them a detailed schedule allows them to take control of their own time management and plan out how they will allocated their energies. As you create your schedule, think about how students will approach it. They may look at it with the following questions: How much time will I need to allocate to complete weekly assignments? When are major projects due, and how will I make time to get them done? What can I expect at each class session? What topics are we going to cover? What looks interesting, and what looks boring?

In the first week of class, you can use the course schedule of your syllabus as a tool for starting a conversation about students' attitudes, expectations, and experiences surrounding the course content. Understanding where your students are coming from can help you tailor your approaches to better reach all of your students. Consider asking your students to take a look at the topics, assignments, and activities in the schedule and ask them questions such as: How do the topics you see here compare to what you expected to find in this course? What looks interesting to you, and why? Have you had primarily positive experiences related to the course content, or negative ones? What makes you the most excited about this course? The most nervous?

Asking these sorts of questions will allow you to get to know your students so that you can better help them understand how the course relates to their personal and professional goals, and it will help your students to be self-reflective about how they approach the course content, which can increase their engagement in the course.


Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Week 1
What is listening?

In-class topics and activities: Defining music; defining listening; Pandora and Spotify commercials exercise in groups; music and identity exercise in groups

Week 2
How do we listen?

Readings due: Shelemey, Chapters 1 and 2, and accompanying recordings; Ratliff, pp. 3-38

Assignments due: Personal Soundtrack Paper

In-class activities: Speed friending exercise for Personal Soundtrack Paper; developing a common vocabulary for talking about music (groups, full class); defining who values that vocabulary 

Week 3
Listening to the Canon

Readings due:  Burkholder, "Museum Pieces"; video linked on WorldClassRoom

Assignments due: Compile list of "rules" for concert-goers at the Symphony

In-class activities: Comparison of student "rules" and real-life examples from orchestra programs; critical reading exercise

Week 4
Listening as Social Activity

Readings due: Shelemey, Chapter 3, and accompanying recordings; Christopher Small 1995 lecture "Musicking: A Ritual in Social Space"

Assignments due: Compile list of the social contexts in which you experience music

In-class activities: small group activity: social contexts of music; analytical writing exercise for "Musicking"

Week 5
Listening through the Body

Readings due: Shelemey, Chapter 7, and accompanying recordings

Assignments due: Listening as a Social Practice Essay 1

In-class activities: Peer reports and review of essays; holistic perspectives on music and the body, from the music of the spheres to chakras; dance activity; sound healing

Week 6
Performance as Listening

Readings due: Ratliff, pp. 81-90; 149-160; guest speaker/performer bios; videos linked on WorldClassRoom

Assignments due: interview questions for guest speakers on listening

In-class activities: Guest speakers (ensemble); Jigsaw groups, Modes of Listening

Week 7
Listening to Silence and Noise

Readings due: Ratliff, pp. 49-80; 171-182; Alex Ross, "Searching for Silence: John Cage's Art of Noise," The New Yorker; videos linked on WorldClassRoom

Assignments due: 24-hour music log

In-class activities: Cage's "Lecture on Nothing" and videos; soundscapes exercise in pairs; composition activity

Week 8
Recap: "Valid" Ways to Listen

Readings due: none

Assignments due: Take-home mid-term

In-class activities: critical reading exercise; modes of listening group activity

Week 9
Listening as Memory

Readings due: Shelemey, Chapter 5, and accompanying recordings

Assignments due: Short response to the question: what music do you remember from your childhood? How was is taught to you and why do you remember it?

In-class activities: music, memory, and childhood exercise; analytical writing exercise; 3 case studies (corrido, jazz funeral, and pizmon) broken into six groups

Week 10
Listening to History

Readings due: Ratliff, pp. 195-236; Messiaen liner notes (3); "Quartet for the End of Time" recordings linked on WorldClassRoom

Assignments due: Listening as a Social Practice Essay 2

In-class activities: Peer presentations and peer review of essays; history lab: evaluating descriptions of the wartime performances of "Quartet for the End of Time"

Week 11
Listening as Prayer

Readings due: Shelemey, Chapter 8, and accompanying recordings

Assignments due: Respond to the question: Where have you heard chant before and what do you think it meant in that context?

In-class activities: final critical reading exercise; case studies jigsaw groups (Tibetan Buddhist chant, Santería, and Ethiopian Christian Orthodox chant); film clips exercise: Gregorian chant and pseudo-Gregorian chant as exoticism in the US today; defining "music" again as/in/against "prayer"

Week 12
Listening as Power

Readings due: Shelemey, Chapter 9, and accompanying recordings

Assignments due: Olympics assignment

In-class activities: final analytical writing exercise; national anthem case studies (US, France); German nationalism and Beethoven

Week 13
Listening as Dissent

Readings due: Listening through WorldClassRoom: Figure humaine, "We Shall Overcome," "Alabama," "The Promised Land"

Assignments due: Modes of Listening Paper

In-class activities: defining dissent and protest; 3 case studies: World War II France; the civil rights era; the music of Ferguson

Week 14
Listening to Race

Readings due: Simon Frith, “Rhythm: Race, Sex, and the Body,” in Performing Rites, 123-144; Mariana Torgovnick, Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives, Chapter 1; music videos linked in WorldClassRoom

Assignments due: Watch the videos, then do the readings, then watch the videos again and respond to the question: what did you perceive in the second music video viewing that you didn't in the first?

In-class activities: Stereotypes of rhythm and race: small groups; musical codes of otherness, from "Carmen" to "The Mummy": film production role-play activity

Week 15
Listening to Gender

Readings due: Paul Lamere blog post "Gender Specific Listening"; Kheshti, Chapter 1 in Modernity's Ear: Listening to Race and Gender in World Music; Coker, "What bell hooks Means When She Calls Beyoncé a 'Terrorist'; bell hooks, "Moving Beyond Pain"; Beyoncé, Lemonade video, linked on WorldClassRoom

Assignments due: bring questions about final assessment

In-class activities: excerpts from the New School discussion "Are You Still a Slave: Liberating the Black Female Body" and group discussions; "What are We Listening for?" exercise

Week 16
Listening as a Consumer

Readings due: none

Assignments due: Final assessments (Choose either Option 1 or 2)

In-class activities: charts on consumer spending activity; music in advertising and spaces of public consumption; music marketing: role-play marketing groups


Course Policies

About this item: The course policies can hold instructor developed guidelines not related to assignments and grading, such as expectations for participation.  This item is visible only to registered students and instructors.

This training/example syllabus has non-policy items in this section, such at a philosophy of teaching.  You may with to use the Additional Items section for such items.

Teaching Philosophy Statement

I believe that the best learning happens when students take ownership of their own growth, so this course challenges students to emerge as active agents in their own intellectual development. You will see that this course gives you some choice over what you learn, how you learn it, and how you will be assessed, because I know that having choice and control makes the course both more challenging and more motivating for you. I also believe that my students are more engaged in class when the course material is directly relevant to their lives; consequently, you can expect assignments that ask you to consider how contemporary issues relate to the course material, to think about how your own identity impacts how you understand and process what we cover, and to apply what we've learned to real-life situations. Most importantly, I believe that everyone's voice is worth hearing, so you can expect classroom activities that ask you to engage in lively discussions and to learn from others' diverse perspectives.

Notes for improving learning: You can help your students to understand your approach by including a short teaching philosophy statement in your syllabus that summarizes why you teach the way you do. This shows students that you have carefully reflected on how to best craft their learning experience and it lets them get to know you a bit. It also communicates that assignments and classroom exercises are learning experiences, not arbitrary busy work, and it helps students reflect on their own process of learning.



Your individual perspective is important to this course, and your classmates will rely on you to contribute your valuable point of view to discussions. This class is your community, so you will get to determine how the community operates; during the first week, we will work together to decide on specific policies that create an environment of respect, inclusion, and equity.

Notes for improving learning: Some instructors prefer to have students draft the entire "Course Policies" section of the syllabus themselves during the first week of class, but you can also do that in part, as is done here. Studies show that establishing a shared vision of appropriate behavior can increase student engagement.


Absences and Late Work

In-class work and participation comprise a significant portion of your grade because I consider these activities important aspects of your learning. You will not be able to make up this work if you are absent. Two absences (excused or unexcused) are granted for each student. After that, your participation grade will fall one letter grade for each subsequent absence.

Turning in work late makes it difficult for me to respond to student work in a timely manner, and it may make you fall behind on other assignments. To discourage late work, you will be graded down one letter grade for each day that your work is late.

Notes for improving learning: The "Course Policies" section of the syllabus provides essential information for students, but it risks becoming a litany of punitive responses to undesirable student behavior. In part, this may be because many faculty view syllabi as "contracts" with students. In some ways, they are contracts, as they lay out expectations and responsibilities. But faculty should avoid taking an overly legalistic view of the syllabus. A long list of consequences for every possible infraction won't do much for you or your students, since there is no way to preempt every scenario.

At the same time, students will want to know what to expect if they are absent or if they get behind. If you lay out your policies on the most common issues encountered in the classroom, you will let your students know your expectations while also treating them as responsible individuals. In addition, explaining your rationale for course policies lets students know that your policies have a reasonable motivation.

You'll also notice that this sample syllabus addresses students directly, saying "you will analyze..." instead of "students will analyze...", which gives the document a more inviting tone, particularly in the policies section.


Tips for Success in this Course

  • I'm available to talk and I welcome your questions! If you have questions about the material, about assignments, or about issues on campus, I'm here for you. Come to my office hours, send me an email, or set up an appointment with me. I'm also willing to read drafts of your papers ahead of time and can usually return them to you within 48 hours.
  • Get a study buddy. We'll be doing some activities during the first two weeks of class in which you'll have the opportunity to recruit a network of study partners.
  • Your individual voice is important to both me and your classmates; fellow students will rely on you to contribute your valuable perspective to class discussions and activities. For this to work, everyone has to complete the readings and short assignments, and bring their notes and their readings to class (either in paper or electronically). You'll see me doing the same: showing up with notes, with the reading material marked up, and with lots of questions.

Notes for improving learning: Instead of using language in the "Course Policies" section such as "Students bear sole responsibility for reviewing any material they miss during absences," you can use positive language to achieve the same ends; you want your students to take ownership of their learning and to collaborate with each other effectively, so encourage them to do so by explaining how they can be successful. If you frame some of your policies as "tips for success" rather than punitive responses to undesirable behavior, your students may be more likely to do the very things you'd hope they would: show up prepared for class, complete assignments in a timely manner, communicate with you about any issues, and respect their peers.

A "Tips for Success" section can also project that you care about your students, both as learners and as people. Studies show that students emphasize "care" and "compassion" as some of the most desirable instructor attributes.


Institutional Policies

About this item: The institutional policies items is comprised of university policies maintained in a template for your course. Instructors cannot add to or edit institutional policy items.


Academic Policies

Academic policies provide students with important rights and responsibilities.  Students are expected to familiarize themselves with all academic policies that apply to them.  Academic policies for undergraduate students can be found in the Undergraduate Studies Catalog; graduate students should review the Graduate Studies Catalog.

Undergraduate Studies Catalog

The Undergraduate Studies Catalog contains academic policies that apply to all undergraduate students. The academic policies and information section of the catalog contains important information related to attendance, conduct, academic honesty, grades, and more. If you are an undergraduate student, please review the catalog each academic year. The current Undergraduate Studies Catalog is at:

Graduate Studies Catalog

The Graduate Studies Catalog contains academic policies that apply to all graduate students. The academic policies section of the catalog contains important information related to conduct, academic honesty, grades, and more. If you are a graduate student, please review the catalog each academic year. The current Graduate Studies Catalog is at:


The Grades section of the academic catalog outlines the various grading systems courses may use, including the information about the final grade reported for this class.




There are important policies that govern grades of Incomplete (I), including the circumstances under which Incomplete grades are granted, deadlines for completion, and consequences should the remaining course work not be completed.  It is the responsibility of a student who requests an Incomplete to ensure that he/she understands and follows the policies.

Grade Appeals

Instructors are responsible for assigning grades, and student should discuss grade issues with the instructor. Policies and procedures for appealing grades are available in the appropriate catalog.

Academic Honesty Policy

Webster University is committed to academic excellence. As part of our Statement of Ethics, we strive to preserve academic honor and integrity by repudiating all forms of academic and intellectual dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is unacceptable and is subject to a disciplinary response. Students are encouraged to talk to instructors about any questions they may have regarding how to properly credit others’ work, including paraphrasing, quoting, and citation formatting. The university reserves the right to utilize electronic databases, such as, to assist faculty and students with their academic work.

The University’s Academic Honesty Policy is published in academic catalogs:



As a part of the University commitment to academic excellence, the Academic Resource Center provides student resources to become better acquainted with academic honesty and the tools to prevent plagiarism in its many forms:

Statement of Ethics

Webster University strives to be a center of academic excellence. The University makes every effort to ensure the following:

  • The opportunity for students to learn and inquire freely
  • The protection of intellectual freedom and the rights of professors to teach
  • The advancement of knowledge through scholarly pursuits and relevant dialogue

To review Webster University's statement of ethics, see the Undergraduate Studies Catalog and the Graduate and Studies Catalog:



Important Academic Resources

Academic Accommodations

Webster University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with academic/learning, health, physical and psychological disabilities. To obtain accommodations, students must identify themselves and provide documentation from a qualified professional or agency to the appropriate campus designee or the ADA Coordinator at the main campus. The ADA Coordinator may be reached at 314-246-7700 or [email protected].

If you have already identified as a student with a documented disability and are entitled to classroom or testing accommodations, please inform the instructor of the accommodations you will require for this class at the beginning of the course.

Academic Resource Center 

Additional support and resources may be accessed through the Academic Resource Center (ARC). Support and resources include academic counseling, accommodations, assistive technology, peer tutoring, plagiarism prevention, testing center services, and writing coaching. Visit or Loretto Hall 40 on the main campus for more information.

University Library

Webster University Library is dedicated to supporting the research needs and intellectual pursuits of students throughout the University’s worldwide network. Resources include print and electronic books, journal articles, online databases, DVDs and streaming video, CDs and streaming music, datasets, and other specialized information. Services include providing materials at no cost and research help for basic questions to in-depth exploration of resources. The gateway to all of these resources and services is For support navigating the library’s resources, see for the many ways to contact library staff. We invite students to visit the Library in Webster Groves.

Drops and Withdrawals

Drop and withdrawal policies dictate processes for students who wish to unenroll from a course.  Students must take proactive steps to unenroll; informing the instructor is not sufficient, nor is failing to attend.  In the early days of the term or semester, students may DROP a course with no notation on their student record.  After the DROP deadline, students may WITHDRAW from a course; in the case of a WITHDRAW, a grade of W appears on the student record.  After the WITHDRAW deadline, students may not unenroll from a course.  Policies and a calendar of deadlines for DROP and WITHDRAW are at:



Academic Calendar -

Current tuition rates, policies, and procedures, including details of pro-rated tuition refunds, are available in the “Tuition, Fees, and Refunds” section of Webster’s Academic Catalogs:



Student Handbook and Other Important Policies

Student handbook and other non-academic policies may apply to you and may impact your experience in this class.  Such policies include the student code of conduct, privacy, technology and communications, and more. Please review the handbook each year and be aware of policies that apply to you.  The handbook is available at:

Sexual Assault, Harassment, and Other Sexual Offenses

Webster University makes every effort to educate the community to prevent sexual assault, harassment, and other sexual offenses from occurring, and is committed to providing support to those affected when this behavior does occur. To access information and resources or to review the Policy on Sexual Assault, Harassment, and Other Sexual Offenses, visit:

Research on Human Subjects

The Webster University Institutional Review Committee (IRB) is responsible for the review of all research on human subjects.  The IRB process applies to all Webster University faculty, staff, and students and must be completed prior to any contact with human subjects.  For more information on the IRB, visit:

Course Evaluations

At the end of this course, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback about your experience. Your input is extremely valuable to the university, your instructor, and the department that offers this course. Please provide your honest and thoughtful evaluation, as it helps the university to provide the best experience possible for all of its students.

Important Technology Information

Connections Accounts

Webster University provides all students, faculty, and staff with a University email account through Connections. Students are expected to activate their Connections account and regularly check incoming University email. Students may choose to have their University email forwarded to an alternate email address. Connections account holders can call the Help Desk (314-246-5995 or toll free at 1-866-435-7270) for assistance with this setup. Instructions are also provided on the Information Technology website at:


WorldClassRoom is Webster’s Learning Content Management System (LMS). Your instructor may use WorldClassRoom to deliver important information, to hold class activities, to communicate grades and feedback, and more. WorldClassRoom is available using your Connections ID at:

Webster Alerts

Webster Alerts is the University's preferred emergency mass notification service, available free to current students, faculty and staff at all US campuses. By registering a valid cell phone number and email address, you will receive urgent campus text, voice mail and email communications. Valuable information concerning a range of incidents affecting you - from weather-related campus closures, class delays and cancellations, to more serious or life-threatening events - are immediately and simultaneously delivered through multiple communication channels. To register for Webster Alerts, visit:

Additional Items

About this item: The additional items area allows the instructor to provide additional non-policy details, such as a philosophy of teaching. This item is visible to anyone logged into the Concourse system.

For the purposes of this training/example syllabus, this section holds FAQs about the Concourse product and its implementation at Webster University.


FAQs about Concourse

Who is Using Concourse?

What is full adoption?

Concourse is available to all faculty for all classes at Webster University.  All faculty and programs are encouraged to use Concourse.  Many Colleges, Schools, and Departments have already fully adopted the Concourse platform.  Full adoption entails:

  • A default course template has been developed for most courses to provide all sections with a rich and consistent starting point - description, outcomes, and common evaluation criteria.
  • The native syllabus tool in WorldClassRoom (Canvas) has been renamed and replaced with Concourse for quick access by faculty and students in on-ground and online classes.
  • A point of contact has been identified by the department or school to help faculty make use of Concourse for the program they teach in. 


Which departments have adopted Concourse?



Online Classes Integrated?

Support Contact*

George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology

All Departments

Fully adopted


Tim Davis

Textbook issues: Debbie Ray

School of Education

All Departments

Fully adopted


Department Associate

School of Communications

All Departments

Fully adopted


Meredith Daly

Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts

Department of Music

Partially Adopted
(templates in progress)



College of Arts and Sciences

Anthropology and Sociology

Adoption in progress

   Danielle MacCartney (CRIM)

Biological Sciences

Adoption in progress
(1000 and 2000 level required courses and GCP courses offered by the department)


International Relations Program**

Fully adopted


Carly Timm

Department of Nursing

Fully adopted


Jan Palmer

Department of Professional Counseling

Partially adopted
(FA 2017)


Allison Labaali

Department of Religious Studies

Adoption in progress 
(templates complete)

  Karen Pernecairo

Global Citizenship Program

First-Year Seminar



FYS Director

Keystone Seminar



KEYS Director

*Support contacts provide information about department/program expectations and opportunities.  Instructional development support and general training for using the tool is available from the Faculty Development Center – [email protected]

**Canvas integration for all INTL courses, including undergraduate.

Departments/programs not listed have not begun to adopt Concourse for their programs.


What if I am using Concourse but my department hasn't fully adopted?

Many campuses have adopted Concourse even if the academic department that houses the courses delivered at their campus have not fully adopted.  Additionally, many faculty members find the tool valuable and are may wish to use it in their courses.  Faculty in these situations may have the additional steps of:

  1. Pasting the appropriate, approved course description and learning outcomes into their syllabus since they may not have been copied from a department maintained template;
  2. Manually enable the Concourse integration in their WorldClassRoom course home page (instructions below).


What Campuses are actively Using Concourse?

Campus Support Contact
Most US Extended Locations Local representative
Leiden, The Netherlands Sophie Heinis
Academic Support Officer
Geneva, Switzerland Francisco Rivas



How Do I Enable Concourse in WorldClassRoom?


1. Navigate to your course in WorldClassRoom.

2. Choose Settings from the course navigation list.

Canvas Settings

3. Click the Navigation tab.

4. From the list of disabled tools at the bottom of the page, drag "Concourse Syllabus" to the desired location among the active course tools.

5. Click Save

Concourse View from Canvas

The Concourse Syllabus item is now enabled for this course and should appear in the menu for you and your students.

Can I roll over my syllabus from one semester to another?

Yes! You can import content from another syllabus into your own. You can choose whether to copy the entire syllabus or whether you'd like to just import certain sections. Click here to watch a video that will walk you through the process step by step.

Here is an example of what the import screen looks like:

Concourse View from Canvas

How do I edit my syllabus in Concourse?

Click here to watch a video that will walk you through the steps of editing your syllabus in Concourse. 

Please note that some of the content in the video is specific to the Walker School, so there are a few things that may be different for you. For instance, the video explains that the course description and outcomes are already populated in your syllabus. For some departments, this may not be the case, and you may have to add these items yourself. Contact your department chair if you have questions about what you should put in the course description and outcomes fields.

How do I log into Concourse?

To log into Concourse, first sign into Connections, then click on the “Faculty” tab at the top. Once you’re on the Faculty page, you should see a link to Concourse. Click there, and you’ll be taken to your dashboard in Concourse, where you should see your past and future course syllabi.

Why Doesn't My Concourse Link From WorldClassRoom Work?

If you receive the screen below, then for some reason your course syllabus was not created in Concourse.  Reasons for this are typically one of the following reasons:

  1. Your course is new and a template has not been created for it yet in Concourse.
  2. Your campus is new or had a name change that was not entered into Concourse.
  3. Your department is new or had a name change that was not entered into Concourse.

Concourse View from Canvas

The good news is that these problems are easily remedied and your syllbaus can be created in a short amount of time.  If you have this screen, please let us know at [email protected]

What Items are Visible to Various Groups?

There are several user groups in Concourse, such as Students, Instructor, Guest (someone with a log in but not enrolled in the class), and Public (the outside world).  These groups can see and/or edit different items on a syllabus.

Concourse View from Canvas

Check back soon for a table on how Webster has configured permissions for courses.


How Can I Avoid Time-Zone Issues with Meeting Times

It is highly recommended that you DO NOT make use of the “Include Days and Times” feature on the course meeting time syllabus item.  By default, user accounts are created in US Central Time, which was causes a problem for courses entered in other time zones in which the instructor has modified their profile for the time zone in which they work.  The reality is, I think it is not practical to expect all students to modify their time zone settings in this tool b/c they simply don’t interact with it in the same way as faculty.


Concourse View from Canvas


If you have are experiencing problems with time-zone issues, you may easily disable the feature by accessing your syllabus, choosingSyllabus – Edit, selecting the pencil icon to edit a Meeting Time, and clicking “Remove Days and Times.


Concourse View from Canvas