Syllabus Instructions

General Information

The following has been compiled by the Department of Architecture for use by instructors of both non-studio and studio subjects. Text in red is to be included in your syllabus verbatim.

Alphabetical index

Term offered

Fall 20XX. Spring 20XX. IAP 20XX.

Subject Number(s)

Include “meets with” and “joint” subject numbers attached to primary subject number

Subject Title and Subtitle

The “Title” is what appears in the course catalog: Ex. Architecture Design Option Studio

The “Subtitle” is what the instructor wishes to call the class: Ex. Accelerated Urbanism

Credit Units

Subjects with set units must include units as noted in MIT course catalog:
Ex. 3, 6, 9,12, 21 or 24
Subjects with arranged units can determine the breakdown of units:
# lecture hrs/wk – # lab/studio/recitation hrs/wk – # home work hrs/wk
Ex. 3 – 3 – 6= 12 units

Level

As noted in the course catalog:
Graduate subject = G
Undergraduate subject = U

If a G level subject welcomes undergraduates, rather than list the level inaccurately as U, include the statement: “Undergraduates welcome with permission of instructor.”

Prerequisites

Subjects listed in course catalog, plus any additional pre-requisites required by instructor

Schedule / Final Exams

Schedule

Days, times, location for lecture and lab/recitation as noted in Institute schedule (cut and paste URL into your browser): http://student.mit.edu/catalog/index.cgi

Final Exam/Review

Your syllabus must state whether or not you will hold a final exam or review. Generally:

  • graduate studios and design workshops usually hold a final review in the week preceding the Institute’s official final exam period.
  • Undergraduate studios must hold a final review and is scheduled by the Institute Scheduling Office to occur during the official final exam period.

Instructors and TA’s

Instructor(s)

Name and contact info

TA(s)

Name and contact info

Description, Learning Objectives and Pedagogy

Subject Description

The first paragraph needs to be a standardized overview summary of the subject in 300 words or less. Include the type of class: i.e., seminar, lecture, studio, workshop, lab. Additional paragraphs can be used to go into greater depth and description of your class content and concept (total 600-700 words).

Studio Structure/Learning Objectives/Pedagogy

How will the term be generally structured?

Example:

The semester is structured in terms of two problems that dove tail together. The site — the projected location of the new branch — remains the same for both design problems, ensuring that the students’ understanding of the urban context (cultural and formal) increases over the course of the semester.

What are the learning objectives for the course? What skills and knowledge will the students gain? What is the method of teaching?

Examples:

  • Ability to research, conceptualize, develop, and represent an architectural project
  • Learn and practice presentation skills
  • Ability to represent an architectural design concept in accurate plan and section drawings
  • Learn how to translate ideas from two dimensional sketches to three dimensional models

Schedule of Exercises, Projects, Quizzes, Exams or Assignments

Be specific about expectations, due dates, and deliverables. Example:

Date Due Assignment (and/or Project, Quiz, Exam)
date due Exercise 1: xxx
date due Mid-term public review

Absence Policy

Example:

Work in the studio will build sequentially. Therefore, student commitment to incremental development on a daily basis is of great importance. The demanding nature and pace of this studio necessitates regular attendance and requires that deadlines are consistently met. Attendance in studio and for the duration of all formal reviews is mandatory. Greater than two absences from studio without medical excuse supported by a doctor’s note or verifiable personal emergency could result in a failing grade for the studio.

Evaluation Criteria and Completion Requirements

Evaluation Criteria

Clearly state upon what grounds students will be evaluated. A lecture class may weight evaluation towards problem sets; a seminar towards class participation. Be explicit; include a % breakdown of the grade if appropriate.

Commonly considered factors in evaluation:

  • Class participation
    • If this is in discussion section, lab, or seminar: note the context
    • Define what level of participation you require as the instructor
  • Homework/problem sets/research papers
  • Attendance: there is no Institute policy for attendance. It needs to be set by the instructor based on type and level of the class and the subject criteria.
    • Example Absence Policy: Attendance for the full duration of each class is mandatory. You are allowed three excused absences for the semester. An excused absence is defined as one that was discussed with and approved by the professor at least 24 hours prior to the date of absence, or a family or medical emergency that is confirmed by your physician or a dean in Student Support Services. Absences beyond the three allotted will result in a decrease in your final grade. If you miss six or more classes, you will be asked to drop the subject or receive a failing grade.
  • If the subject is a studio: Studio Criteria
    • Concept: how clearly are you articulating your design intentions?
    • Process: how well are you using your concept to develop a spatial and architectural response to the given program or site?
    • Final Review:
      • Did you synthesize your concept into a resolved architecture appropriate for the site and larger spatio-temporal context?
      • Is your architectural response a logical conclusion of your process?
      • Does your design address the needs called out in the given program?
    • Representation:
      • Quality of representation? Evidence of skill/craft?
      • Ability of representation to convey information?
      • Clarity of representation?

Completion Requirements

Example:

  • Did you synthesize your concept into a resolved architecture appropriate for the site and larger spatial-temporal context?
  • Is your architectural response a logical conclusion of your process?
  • Is your architectural response a logical conclusion of your process?
  • Does your design address the needs called out in the given program?
  • Representation:
    • Quality of representation? Evidence of skill/craft?
    • Ability of representation to convey information?

Grading Definition

In addition to defining evaluation criteria, it is essential to define what the grades represent. The Institute’s definition of grades is in the online Bulletin (cut and paste URL into your browser): http://web.mit.edu/catalog/overv.chap5.html#ap.

Refer to that page for additional grade definitions. The standards are included below. Please feel free to modify and adapt the Institute’s descriptions.

A Exceptionally good performance demonstrating a superior understanding of the subject matter, a foundation of extensive knowledge, and a skillful use of concepts and/or materials.
B Good performance demonstrating capacity to use the appropriate concepts, a good understanding of the subject matter, and an ability to handle the problems and materials encountered in the subject.
C Adequate performance demonstrating an adequate understanding of the subject matter, an ability to handle relatively simple problems, and adequate preparation for moving on to more advanced work in the field.
D Minimally acceptable performance demonstrating at least partial familiarity with the subject matter and some capacity to deal with relatively simple problems, but also demonstrating deficiencies serious enough to make it inadvisable to proceed further in the field without additional work.
F Failed. This grade also signifies that the student must repeat the subject to receive credit.

Textbooks / Lab Fees

Textbooks and Reading Sources

Example format:

Users and Publics: Reinhold Martin, “Public and Common(s),” Places, January 2013.
Michel Serres, “Quasi-Object,” The Parasite (University of Minnesota Press, 2007, originally 1982)
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, intro to Multitude (Penguin, 2005)

Lab Fees (if any)

Example:

$xx for studio materials provided by instructor.

Final Studio Deliverables for archiving purposes

Selected projects need to be properly prepared and formatted, and delivered to the Archiving TA. Studio TA’s will collect project archives from each student immediately following the review. Detailed requirements and instructions for formatting are posted on the CRON website.

Studio Culture

Example:

The Department of Architecture promotes a learning environment that supports the diverse values of the entire MIT community of students, faculty, administration, staff and guests. Fundamental to the mission of architectural education is the stewardship of this diversity in a positive and respectful learning environment that promotes the highest intellectual integrity and cultural literacy. As architectural design learning is often accomplished through project-based activities during and outside of class times, maintaining this environment at all times is the responsibility of the entire community. Faculty and students should strive to understand and mutually respect the varied commitments of each other and work together to manage expectations of time and effort devoted to assignments, pin-ups, and public reviews.

Academic Integrity + Honesty

Faculty should refer to Checklist of suggested faculty actions regarding Academic Integrity.

Please include the following line in your syllabus.

MIT’s expectations and policies regarding academic integrity should be read carefully and adhered to diligently: http://integrity.mit.edu

Writing and Communication Center

The WCC at MIT (Writing and Communication Center) offers free one-on-one professional advice from communication experts. The WCC is staffed completely by MIT lecturers. All have advanced degrees. All are experienced college classroom teachers of communication. All are all are published scholars and writers. Not counting the WCC’s director’s years (he started the WCC in 1982), the WCC lecturers have a combined 133 years’ worth of teaching here at MIT (ranging from 4 to 24 years). The WCC works with undergraduate, graduate students, post-docs, faculty, staff, alums, and spouses. The WCC helps you strategize about all types of academic and professional writing as well as about all aspects of oral presentations (including practicing classroom presentations & conference talks as well as designing slides). No matter what department or discipline you are in, the WCC helps you think your way more deeply into your topic, helps you see new implications in your data, research, and ideas. The WCC also helps with all English as Second Language issues, from writing and grammar to pronunciation and conversation practice. The WCC is located in E18-233, 50 Ames Street). To guarantee yourself a time, make an appointment. To register with our online scheduler and to make appointments, go to https://mit.mywconline.com/. To access the WCC’s many pages of advice about writing and oral presentations, go to http://cmsw.mit.edu/writing-and-communication-center/. Check the online scheduler for up-to-date hours and available appointments.

Student Performance Criteria: NAAB [For All Graduate Subjects, including non-studios]

Every syllabus needs to incorporate the Student Performance Criteria (SPC) as defined by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) that relate to your subject. For the current list (NAAB 2009 Conditions for Accreditation), refer to (cut and paste URL into your browser): http://arch-fac-site.scripts.mit.edu/faculty/wp-content/themes/twentytwelve-child/docs/syllabi/NAAB_SPC.pdf

Do not stretch to meet a SPC: it is best to be absolutely sure your course material consistently covers the requirements every year and that evidence of compliance can be provided when requested. List the criterion realm and title: e.g., A1. Communication Skills; B1. Pre-Design; C1. Collaboration.