Creating a Syllabus

Learners in an online learning environment rely heavily on the course syllabus to understand what expectations you have of them for their engagement and successful completion of the course. A comprehensive, well-designed syllabus includes the course objectives, grading scale, semester course schedule, and clear expectations for remote participation. To help you adapt your syllabus for an online or blended course, review the tips below and download this checklist from the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning in Engineering (CRLT-Engin).

Core Components of a Well-Designed Syllabus

= notable or unique to hybrid/online courses

Best Practices for Online or Blended Course Syllabus

  • Add direct links: Consider adding direct links to your syllabus for learners to ask questions (e.g., via email or Canvas discussion) regarding course instructions, administrative support, and technical support.
  • Plan for additional content: Plan for when course components will be added or made available as the course progresses (e.g., content, recordings, assignments of learners’ groups). Consider adding this information to your syllabus.
  • Using a template: To streamline the process, consider using a standard syllabus template as a framework (see below for sample).
  • Make it printable: Create a printable version of your syllabus for learners who prefer to reference a hard copy to navigate the course.
  • Use learner-centered language: To address learners directly and make your syllabus more engaging, consider using first-person language (e.g. “at the end of this course, you will understand how to…”).
  • Include a section on how to succeed: Consider including suggestions on how learners can succeed in your course, such as time management recommendations, estimated time to spend on assignments/activities, and a statement encouraging them to ask questions.

FERPA Compliant Recording Notice

With the increase in online courses, it is an important time to review the FERPA requirements around the re-use of recordings. Recordings of class activities in which learners are seen or heard are considered educational records that fall under FERPA requirements. If you are using recorded material for the course and term in which it was recorded, there is no real concern, as long as you include a statement about recording class sessions in your syllabus.

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