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Add Your Syllabus
Per the Academic Senate,
all faculty are strongly encouraged to post their syllabi in Canvas.
What’s In a Syllabus?
“Your class syllabus is an important working document. It contains the instructor’s contact information and class schedule, what students can expect to learn from the course (SLOs), recommended and required books and materials, and an orientation of the instructor’s expectations of academic conduct and performance.”
A syllabus is:
- a way of providing basic course and contact information.
- a reflection and record of the instructor’s expectations and requirements.
- an agreement between teacher and students.
A syllabus should include:
- Course details found in the Official Course Outline (Course Description, Units, transfer status, SLOs).
- Digital or print textbook details.
- Other required materials, equipment, software, etc.
- Technology requirements, such as a webcam, microphone, external accounts, software, etc.
- Preferred method of contact (RECOMMENDED: Use Canvas Inbox for course communications).
- Other forms of communication, such as open discussions, or external services.
- Expected response time for communications.
- Office hours times and locations (or online option details).
- Course communication policy, such as using Announcements.
- Department contact information.
Where to Get Help
- List on-campus or online resources that you feel would be helpful to your students, such as CAS and the Library, or online tools like NetTutor.
- Encourage students to use the Help menu in Canvas, including the option to search Canvas Guides or contact 24/7 Canvas Support.
- Describe the types of assessments in the course, and how they are graded.
- List the grading scale and points needed for each grade.
- Provide an overview of how the course is scheduled, including content availability and due dates.
- Describe anticipated grading turnaround time.
- Consider including a statement on what constitutes cheating or plagiarism.
Participation and Drop Policy
- Define a specific participation policy, including “non-participation”.
EXAMPLE: “I define active participation as the timely submission of at least one graded assignment per week. Students who miss the requirement two weeks in a row, without instructor consent, may be dropped.”
- Identify what constitutes participation during the first week. Students who don’t meet this requirement should be dropped as no-shows.
- Explain policies related to late work, extra credit, and make-ups.
- Consider including some basic “netiquette” rules and appropriate language for discussions, particularly if the course covers sensitive or controversial topics.
Academic Policies & Procedures
Every syllabus should include a link to the District’s Student Academic Policies and Procedures page, provided by the Office of Instruction, to inform students of guidelines for attendance, academic integrity, and accommodations.
Instructors may COPY and PASTE the following into their own syllabus:
Attendance Guidelines – California Education Code requires attendance must be taken for the first two weeks of regular classes for census. Faculty need to have clear policies describing their withdrawal procedures.
Academic Integrity – Students are encouraged to discuss homework problems with others but need to produce assignments that are a result of their own independent effort.
Incorporating a welcoming statement on accessibility into your course syllabus can motivate students facing accessibility issues to reach out to you, even if they haven’t registered with DSPS. The most effective syllabus statements are those that convey a friendly, supportive, and personalized message to your students, rather than sounding like standard policy language.
Example syllabus statement on accessibility and inclusion:
I am dedicated to building and conducting this course with inclusivity in mind. Should you face any obstacles, I encourage you to inform me promptly so we can explore whether a modification is possible or if an accommodation is necessary to solve any limitations. I am open to innovative solutions that do not alter the fundamental purpose of the assessments or learning activities. Your feedback is valuable to me as it helps enhance the course’s accessibility and overall student experience.
The course syllabus is often some of the first content a student encounters in a course. The information provided in the syllabus can set the tone for the course. It can introduce the student to the instructor’s priorities and expectations, as well as
All faculty are encouraged to consider adding any or all of the statements provided here: Inclusive Statements to Add to Syllabi
About The Syllabus Tool
The Syllabus tool in Canvas uses the Rich Content Editor. This is a good starting point for faculty just learning Canvas, and provides essential information to students in a versatile and accessible format.
- The syllabus contains essential information for students.
- The syllabus should be easy to find, and easy to read (and accessible!).
- The RCE is the basis for creating, editing and formatting the syllabus.
- Using the RCE to compose the syllabus improves efficiency and accessibility.
- A syllabus can be transferred from a Word or PDF file to the RCE.
How To Add A Syllabus
Be sure to use the Syllabus tool built into every Canvas course. This is the most common, consistent and prominent way to provide your students with easy access to this important document that informs them of many areas of the course.
The Syllabus tool uses the built in Rich Content Editor (RCE) to provide an easy way to compose and format the syllabus, including heading styles, embedded images and/or video, links to resources, and more.
In your course, click the Syllabus item in the course menu.
Click the Edit button.
Use the RCE to enter (or paste from a document) your course syllabus information. Edit and adjust the content using the available formatting tools, if needed.
Adding the Syllabus From a File
It is recommended that instructors add their syllabus content as text pasted and formatted directly into Canvas, and NOT as a linked/attached file (Word, PDF, etc.).
Advantages to providing the syllabus within the Rich Content Editor:
Easy to update
If you need to make a correction, or add something, just go to Canvas, click Edit, make the change, and Save. That’s it. The syllabus is updated for you and for students. Updating a file requires finding and opening the original document in an application (Word, for example), saving the file, then uploading the new version to overwrite the old file.
Displays well on small screens
Many students access basic course content on their phones. A Word or PDF file is very small on a mobile device, and requires a lot of pinch-and-zooming to navigate and read. A syllabus composed in the RCE will be automatically adjust to the screen size for readability.
If your syllabus content is currently in a Word or PDF file, the content should be copied/pasted into the RCE.
ANY text-based content is more readable when composed in the RCE. Providing files to students introduces additional complexity and barriers to accessing important information.
To put your syllabus content in Canvas:
- Open the original syllabus file (copying from Word works better than PDF)
- Select the entire document content
- Copy the selected text
- Go to the Syllabus tool in the Canvas course, click Edit
- Paste the copied content into the RCE
- Use the Clear Formatting tool in the RCE toolbar to “clean” the text to make it easier to correct in Canvas.
- Click Update Syllabus to save changes.
Text content copied and pasted from a file (Word, Google doc, PDF, etc.) may require some work to remove irregularities, such as spacing and alignment issues, sub-headings, missing images, and accessibility requirements.
Use the Clear Formatting tool in the RCE toolbar to “clean” the text to make it easier to correct in Canvas.
With the content simplified, use the built-in tools to properly format and edit using the RCE tools.
Select all of the content.
Click the Clear Formatting tool to remove extraneous formatting.
Use built-in RCE tools to apply heading styles, text formatting, lists, images, etc.
See the Canvas Guides: