Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research

Syllabus Template

The Online Course Syllabus Template is an accessible template built in Microsoft Word that contains all of the required sections for an online course syllabus. Below is a brief description of each section within the template including some with examples.

Creating an Accessible Syllabus in MS Word

Presented by Dawn Sweet

Resources

Syllabus Template Sections

Instructor Information

Include your name, preferred email address, and your online office hours. Include the format of your offices (Chat, Zoom, etc.)

Communication Statement

Also include your preferred email address here, along with your expected response time. Other items to include are the details of your online office hours or any other communication options you want to provide.

EXAMPLE:

Contact me using my WIU Gmail address: email@wiu.edu. I will generally respond to emails and voice messages within 24 hours except on weekends, in which case I will respond on Monday. In addition to the weekly office hours posted, I am willing to schedule one-on-one online meetings by request. Grades and feedback will be posted to the grades tool within 48 hours of the assignment’s due date.

General Course Information

This section includes the course catalog description, pre/co requisites (if any), course goals, and the course objectives. To ensure the course description and any pre/co requisites on your syllabus matches the catalog description, view the Undergraduate Catalog or Graduate Catalog. Below is an example of course goals and objectives:

EXAMPLE COURSE GOAL:

The goal, as a result of taking this course, is to be able to apply best practices in teaching online to your own course or subject area resulting in (1) an online course syllabus that meets or exceeds WIU Online Course Standards and (2) a sample online instructional module.

EXAMPLE COURSE OBJECTIVES:

Upon successful completion of this course learners will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast online instruction with classroom instruction.
  • Apply a learner-centered approach to teaching online.
  • Describe how distance in space and time impacts communications and learning.
  • Develop effective online communication strategies that encourage and develop student collaboration and an online learning community.
  • Compose course goals and objectives consistent with both curricular goals and the nature of teaching online.
  • Develop online course activities, assignments, and assessment measures based on the course goal and objectives.
  • Discuss issues, define barriers to success, and explore best practices in managing the "virtual classroom."
  • Define copyright and intellectual property issues as they apply to developing online course materials.
  • Develop an online learning module.
Required Materials

This section includes required text, optional materials, and software or hardware students may need for your course. If there are no other required materials state that in this section.

EXAMPLE TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS:

Software - You will need a word processor for this course capable of saving a document in MS Word Format. Because you are a Western Illinois University student, you automatically have free access to Google Docs and a Microsoft 365 account which will both meet this requirement. Learn more about these at the following websites.

Hardware - Additionally, you will need to have a web camera and microphone for use in the live video conferencing portions of the course. Today, many computers come equipped with these. If yours does not, we recommend the following camera/microphone combo for this course. However, this model is not required as long as you have a functional webcam and microphone for participation.

Online Activities Participation Requirements

EXAMPLES OF PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS

Online Activities Participation Requirements

As a student in this online course you are expected to actively participate throughout the week in order to promote a meaningful and engaging learning experience. Weekly attendance (logging in) is recorded each time a student logs into their online course. It is mandatory that all students log into their online course a minimum of _______ times a week. The academic week for this online course is Monday at 12:00am CST through Sunday 11:59pm CST.

Weekly participation is mandatory. Participation demonstrates the completion of weekly assignments as defined by the faculty, based on course requirements and may include, but is not limited to: Submitting an academic assignment. Completing a quiz or exam. Participating in a posted online academic discussion. Reading and responding to at least two peer assignment submissions.

Participation is expected within the week of the scheduled assignments or it will not count towards that assignment grade. A student’s failure to maintain active participation in an online course may result in reduced grades.

Students are required to participate in 1 face-to-face orientation meeting on the Macomb Campus, 3 (one per week whole class checkpoint Zoom classes weeks 2 - 4), 4 (at least one per week group discussion/working virtual meeting via Zoom that is recorded and submitted during weeks 1-5), conduct 1 class session throughout weeks 5-8 on a given topic, and participate in 4 weeks worth of online discussion in which each student will post an initial response and review at least 2 peer responses per week.

The academic week for this course is Monday at 12:00am CST through Sunday 11:59pm CST.

Participation is expected within the week of the scheduled assignments or it will not count towards that assignment grade. A student’s failure to maintain active participation in the online portion of this course will result in a reduced grade.

Participation in Discussion Boards

In order to earn full credit for online threaded discussion, students must make substantive contributions to the online discussion as determined and outlined in the syllabus and make two responsive posts to others per discussion thread. You are encouraged to post on multiple days of the week, but are not required to do so to earn your participation points for this course. Examples of online participation include:

  • Follow-up to classmate’s initial discussion posts that integrate course theories with a practical application of the subject, perhaps offering a different personal observation or experience or referencing real-world examples, current events, or presenting further research you have conducted on the topic.
  • Interaction in classroom discussion that demonstrates deeper and broader thoughts about a topic, rather than just rephrasing what the textbook has presented.
  • Asking additional, relevant questions about the topic.
  • Communications are presented in a professional and supportive manner, and with respect.
Participation in Online Discussions

Each week you will be required to participate in an online discussion. There will be 8 in all. Participation in this discussion area must be completed before 12:00 a.m. on Monday morning of the following week. For participation to count for grades it must be within this time period. Original posts and responses to peers must be thoughtful, constructive and well developed. A grading rubric will be provided as a guideline for constructing your posts and responses.

Participation in the discussion area must be completed before 12:00 a.m. on Monday morning of the following week. For participation to count for a grade it must be within this time period. Original posts and responses to peers must be thoughtful, constructive and well developed. A grading rubric will be provided as a guideline for constructing your posts and responses.

Participation in Group Projects

Students are required to participate in two group discussions hosted via Zoom during the course. All students must participate and work collaboratively with their peers. A peer evaluation rubric will be provided to outline expectations prior to the beginning of each project.

Students are required to participate in four group discussions hosted via Zoom during the course. All students must participate and work collaboratively with their peers. A peer evaluation rubric will be provided to outline expectations prior to the beginning of each Project.

Absences

Absence due to illness, personal emergency or technical difficulties should be reported to the faculty member the same day that the absence occurs. If technical difficulties are the reasoning for an extended absence it is the student’s responsibility to find another source for Internet service, such as a Public Library, Internet Café, or a family member’s/friend’s computer. Failure to notify the faculty member will be considered a missed student deadline.

Students are required to participate in two group discussions hosted via Zoom during the course. All students must participate and work collaboratively with their peers. A peer evaluation rubric will be provided to outline expectations prior to the beginning of each Project.

Policies and Expectations Related to Netiquette
  • Remain professional, respectful and courteous of others at all times.
  • Keep posts on-topic and professional. Use professional language and accurate terminology. Proofread your posts before submitting them. Avoid using slang and emoticons in your discussion posts.
  • Unless warranted by the topic, refrain from discussions of religion and politics.
  • If you become upset with a peer’s post, wait a day or two and cool down before providing a response to that post.
  • Do not post private comments on the discussion board.
  • Inappropriate and offensive posts will be removed.
Course Work

Provide detailed information for all activities such as discussions, assignment, quizzes, etc.

Course Schedule

Provide a detailed, week by week, schedule that includes due dates.

Graded Activities

Provide a breakdown of how activities will be graded.

Grading Scale

Provide your grading scale

EXAMPLE

  • 90% - 100% - A
  • 87% - 89% - A-
  • 84 - 86% - B+
  • 80% - 83% - B
  • 77% - 79% - B-
  • 74% - 76% - C+
  • 70% - 73% - C
  • 67% - 69% - C-
  • 64% - 66% - D+
  • 60% - 63% - D
  • 57% - 59% - D-
  • 56% or below - F
Student Participation and Netiquette

Include your expectation for students participation in the course as well as how to use proper netiquette.

EXAMPLE

You will need to login to the course on a regular basis throughout the week.

Communication online is different than that of face to face classes. Try to use good "netiquette" when communicating with your classmates. Remember that your fellow students can't see your facial expression or gestures. All of these elements add to our face to face communication every day without us really noticing it. Please keep this in mind when you are commenting on others ideas, giving constructive criticism, or just interacting with the class in general. It is expected that everyone will treat others in this course with the same respect that they would wish to be treated!

Additional Info On Netiquette - The Core Rules of Netiquette

Examination Requirements and Procedures

A student has the following two options for attempting proctored exams:

Option 1 is not currently available due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Option 1: Electronic Exams on the Macomb and QC Campus (Free to student) - Please recognize that while you can attempt the quizzes for grade online in a non-proctored environment the same does not hold true for exams. Examinations are offered at no cost to students in the testing facilities on the Macomb and the Quad City campuses. While you will see folders/icons relating to exams within the module structure, you will not be able to access these, as they are password protected and require a “Lock-Down-Browser.” The testing facility administrators on the Macomb and the Quad Cities will log you into the appropriate browser and get your examination process initiated. Prior to taking your examination, you will be asked to present a photo ID such as a driver’s license or state identification to your proctor. The requirements and procedures for examinations depend on where the examination will be proctored.
    • For Exams Proctored at the Quad Cities Campus: Students living in the Quad Cities area may take examinations under the supervision of personnel at the WIU Quad Cities campus. Call to schedule a time for the examination. WIU Quad Cities requires a minimum of 48-hours advance notice before taking an examination. WIU Quad Cities, 3300 River Drive, Moline, IL 61265, (309)762-3999 – Extension: 64567
    • For Exams Proctored at the Macomb Campus: Students living near Macomb may take all examinations in the CITR Office, Malpass Library 184, WIU. Call (309) 298-2434 to schedule a time for the examination. A minimum of 48 hours advance notice is required before taking an examination.
    • There are a limited number of testing stations available at both testing facilities and reservations in advance are highly recommended. Advance scheduling is also recommended, as there are peak testing times during the semester and not reserving a testing spot will prevent you from completing your tests in a timely manner.
  2. Option 2: Electronic Examination – Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor -Students who do not live near the WIU campuses and wish to attempt the electronic versions of the exam may do so using Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus monitor. They will also require a webcam that plugs in with a USB cable and allows you to provide a complete scan of the work environment prior to the beginning of the test. Please recognize, that the use of the lock-down browser and the accompanying webcam are intended to provide the proctored environment and you are responsible for all aspects of maintaining academic integrity. This convenience of untethering you from a proctored environment cannot compromise the academic integrity of the course. Individuals who breach the academic integrity of the course will be assigned a failing grade for the COURSE. You are governed by the Code of Student Conduct at WIU.