Whether teaching online, face-to-face, or through a blended approach, a syllabus is used to inform learners of the intent of the course, by offering a description of the content and curriculum expectations, describing the evaluation methods and material requirements, and identifying important policies that learners must be aware of. 

For your convenience, the Teaching Commons has provided a Course Syllabus Template (Word format) incorporating recommendations from this site that can be downloaded and adapted for your course.

Begin with a welcoming statement

The course syllabus is one of the first things learners encounter and provides an opportunity to establish a welcoming environment.  Learning online could be new to some of your learners; therefore, it's important to let them know where and how to begin when they first access the course.  A welcome statement or video from the instructor is an opportunity to personalize the course, set the tone, and provide a general overview of the course expectations - much like what would be done on the first day of a face-to-face class.  

Some ideas you may consider for your course:

  • Getting familiar with the course structure and expectations is very important.  Here are some suggestions to get you started:
    • Look through the course to familiarize yourself with the technology and the content of the course.
    • Read the course outline and contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
    • Access the technology tutorials located under the Help link on the navigation menu if you are new to mycourselink/D2L.
    • Read all the material in the Getting Started section of the course, which you will find in the Table of Contents (Content link in the navigation bar above).
Include relevant university policy and resource statements

An important part of any course syllabus is the inclusion of policy and resource statements to ensure learners are aware of the academic policies that are available to them and how to request assistance if needed.

Refer to the list of Policy and Resource Statements that can be copied and added to your course syllabus. 

Supports for Learners

There are many resources available to support our learners. These include but are not limited to:

Establish ground rules

Clearly state what is expected of your learners and hold each of them to the same standards. These ground rules may be static as with institutional codes of conduct, but can also evolve from discussions within the learning environment.  Much like it would be done in a face-to-face classroom, it is the instructor's responsibility to manage the conduct of the class to ensure a safe and positive learning environment. 

An idea you may consider for your course:

  • Learners are asked to behave in the discussions and other class interactions in a professional and civil manner. If you are in doubt, do not post it! Instructors reserve the right to remove any postings deemed inappropriate, unprofessional, or otherwise distracting from the course.

Additional Resources

mycourselink/D2L Resources

Your Syllabus Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes clearly describe the competencies that learners should be able to demonstrate upon the successful completion of the course. Outcomes inform course design, including the development and selection of assessments, course activities, instructional materials, multimedia, and support resources.

Confirm that your course outcome statements are:

  • achievable within the timeframe of your course.
  • are of sufficient complexity to provide a useful challenge to your learners. 
  • are discipline-specific whenever possible.
  • designed to support the Indigenous Content Requirement if applicable.

For more information on developing appropriate learner outcomes, see the Eberly Center's Articulate Your Learning Objectives page.