Designing Your Syllabus in Brightspace

A successful course includes an organized and easily navigable design, as well as a clearly deconstructed/laid out syllabus. The syllabus helps set your students up for academic success.

On this page:

Creating and Uploading a High-Quality Syllabus

Creating and sharing the syllabus at the onset of a course is an important component to help orient students. The following recommendations provide guidance on producing and sharing a high-quality syllabus with your students.

Writing a Syllabus

Please be advised that your school or department may have specific syllabus requirements in addition to the university’s guidelines. 

Please make sure the document is accessible, inclusive and student-centered. See the additional resources at the bottom of this page for guidance on syllabus language.

Uploading a Syllabus

The Upload/Create feature in Content makes it easy to add a syllabus to your course. First, create a module, then follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to a module or sub-module, such as a Course Orientation Module, in the Table of Contents panel on the left.
  2. Click Upload/Create and select Upload Files.
  3. Click My Computer.
  4. Click Upload and locate a file on your computer. Click Upload.
  5. Click Add

Note: You may want to recommend that your students bookmark the syllabus to make it easier to locate throughout the semester.

Highlighting Essential Information

Strategically pointing out specific parts of your syllabus can be extremely helpful for both instructors and students. Learners taking multiple classes in a given semester have to navigate many pages of syllabi and may miss important information. For instructors, this strategy can help students feel more comfortable with the course content and limit the number of frequently asked questions. 

There are several ways to showcase important information, here are a few ideas: 

  • Build additional content items that deconstruct the syllabus.
  • Develop a syllabus walk-through video.
  • Create a syllabus infographic.
  • Include icons within the syllabus to note critical information.

Developing a Syllabus Check

Make sure due dates in assignments, quizzes and discussion boards match those in your syllabus. Compare the dates on the Calendar tool or Course Schedule with those in your syllabus to confirm everything is accounted for and accurate. 

You also may want to consider using a formative check to ensure students have acknowledged they have read and understand the material. Consider setting this up as a quiz with automatic feedback, with or without a point value and other contingencies. Remember to create questions that highlight the most important information in your syllabus.

Establishing a Grading Policy

There are various ways to grade, or ungrade, within courses. Overall, consider a policy that is inclusive, equitable, transparent and aligned to the university’s grading policies and procedures

Clearly articulate this policy for students and reiterate it throughout the semester as needed. Just as important, ensure the grading scheme within UB Learns aligns to the assignment values, weights, percentages, etc. Having an up-to-date and accurate grade book is critical for establishing and maintaining for transparency and accuracy. 

Additional Resources