Faculty Resources

Course Syllabi Checklist

The following is an extensive checklist of items to think about as you prepare to teach your online course.


Course Structure

Outlining the course structure is important -- especially in hybrid courses. You should at a minimum include:

  • Overview of the course structure and an explanation of what will happen face-to-face and what will happen online. For example:
    • __% of time face-to-face as well as what activities students can expect (lecture, group discussion, class projects, on-campus exams, etc.)
    • __% of time online/out of class and activities students can expect (readings, watching lectures, quizzes, group projects, videos, chat, discussion forums, email, journaling, blogging, wikis, etc.)
  • Explicitly state your attendance and/or participation policy. Remind students participation in both in-class and online/out of class work is required.
  • In the syllabus or weekly schedule, include specific dates and times for on campus class sessions as well as building and room locations. If online or out of class, sessions will be held at a specific location or using a particular technology, indicate this as well.
  • In the syllabus or weekly schedule, include a breakdown of which components of the course will be online and/or out of class, as well as which will be face-to-face. This will help illustrate for students what is expected of them and when.

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Contact Information

  • Have you noted your response time?

    Example: "I will respond to email messages within 24 hours during the week. Although I check occasionally, you should not expect a response from me on weekends and holidays."
  • If you include a personal telephone number, have you set appropriate times to call?

    Example: "Please do not call after 9pm."
  • Can students text you? Some say it improves retention, but if you don't want to give out your cell phone number, try Google Voice. It gives you a separate phone number to use and allows you to send and receive text messages from the comfort of your computer.

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  • Did you include your ISBN number(s)? Students often buy books from sources other than our bookstore and this information insures that everyone has the right textbook.
  • Is an older version of the text ok? If so, let students know -- it can save them a lot of money.
  • Are textbook rentals a possibility? Share this info with students. Your students will appreciate options to save money on textbooks.
  • Is there an eBook option your students should know about?

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Canvas or other Web Resources

  • It might seem intuitive, but it's always a good idea to include the address to Canvas on your syllabus (http://canvas.uw.edu) in addition to other web resources you will be using. Make sure to include the relevant login information.

    Example: "This course is offered on Canvas, http://canvas.uw.edu. You can access Login Instructions and general instructions at http://www.bothell.washington.edu/digital-learning/canvas/canvas-for-students".
  • If you are using other online resources that students will link to directly, include links and login information for them.
    • How will these other websites be used? Explain this in your syllabus. This is particularly important as some students are quite intimidated by using several different web resources.
    • In Hybrid classes, be sure to clearly explain the relationship between face-to-face and online portions of the class.

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Technical Support

  • What is required for participation in the class (e.g. internet connection and any other tools, reosurces, and materials)?
  • Are there expected technical skills needed to be successful?
  • Be clear about directing all Canvas tech support problems to the IT Help Desk. Otherwise the students will turn to you for tech support and that, of course, is not your job.

    Example: If you have technical problems with Canvas, you should contact the IT Help Desk. You can call them at 425-352-3456 or stop by LB2-218. You can also reach them via email at uwbit@uw.edu. Their hours are posted at http://www.bothell.washington.edu/it/about-it/hours.

    For Canvas help, a robust set of tutorials can be found on the UWB Learning Technologies page at: http://www.bothell.washington.edu/digital-learning/canvas/canvas-for-students

  • If you are using web resources outside of Canvas, you will need to take care of tech support problems. The IT Help Desk will not provide support for these resources.

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  • If you are testing online, have you included relevant policies about it?
    • What are the general expectations? Open book? Proctored?
    • What happens if the technology fails? If the test freezes of Canvas goes down? What if it happens after the student takes the exam? Or as they are submitting it? You should think of all of the things that could go wrong and be sure your syllabus addresses them.
    • What if the student misses the exam?

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Appropriate Behavior

  • If you have a classroom behavior policy, is it written so it can be applied to the online environment? You might want to reference some standard rules of netiquette. Here are some options.

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Writing Guidelines

  • Many students write in abbreviated language online. You may wish to have some language in your syllabus explaining the writing expectations in your course.

    Example: College is like work and in that way I (and all of your instructors) expect you to communicate professionally. That means that in all communications you must:
    • identify yourself fully, including our class name (BEDUC 200 or Education and Society) and your first and last name
    • use complete sentences, including proper spelling and grammar. Communications that don't meet the two criteria above will be sent back for clarification. Also remember that I will reply to your email within 1 business day, so look for that reply and respond if needed.

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Emergency Preparedness Plan

  • If your students (or you) get sick or if the college closes for a period of time during the quarter, how will you continue instruction? You should have a plan and convey it clearly in your syllabus.

    • You may submit up to 2 assignments 1 week late without penalty.
    • You are encouraged to have 2 "study buddies" who you can turn to for course notes if you miss class.
    • If the college closes during our class time, we will meet at our same class time online in Canvas. The class will be recorded for later viewing if you are unable to attend.

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