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Syllabus Resources

Additional Syllabus Direct Link for Canvas Syllabus Tool Use

Welcome to Western Carolina University! We're glad you’re teaching your first course here. As you get acclimated to campus, there are a few things to know:

You'll get a sample syllabus from your chair. Check that course syllabus against our Model Syllabus

,  and reconcile any differences.  Note that we recommend placing this text in the rich content editor box in the Canvas Syllabus tool instead of keeping it as a text file.  The same content will be copied into the blank course shells for upcoming semesters, so you may not have to use this file at all if you simply update the information in your course shell.

We have also created a more elaborate Canvas optimized system which you can transfer into your course shell which includes this information.  Use these steps to get started.

You have been teaching at Western Carolina University for more than a year. You’re familiar with the old Master Syllabus the Coulter Faculty Commons has long maintained or the new Model Syllabus that has replaced it, and all you need to know now is whether institutional policies have changed since you last visited this page.

Here’s a list of updated policy information, with a date/timestamp when it was required for your syllabus: 

  • Version 8.8.23 - Updated module syllabus template and WCU Additional Content.
  • Version 9.27.21 - Model Syllabus Update.  Moved all non-course required content (Policies and Support Resources) to persistent web page for WCU Syllabus Additional Content with link in the body of Model Syllabus.
  • Version 1.11.21 - Updated text in academic integrity section to include self-plagiarism 
  • Version 8.10.20 - Updated Statement on Wearing of Masks 
  • Version 8.06.10 - Section on Course Recording and Broadcasting updated with most recent guidance from the office of legal counsel. 
  • Version 7.19.20 - For Writing and Learning Commons section - corrected website and added information about supplemental instruction 
  • Version 6.26.20 - Statement on Wearing of Masks 
  • Version 5.18.20 - Guidelines for using Respondus LockDown Browser and/or LockDown Monitor 
  • Version 4.30.20 - Updated contact information for campus offices during COVID-19 stay-at-home order 
  • Version 2.01.20 - Added Community Vision for Inclusive Excellence Statement 
  • Version 12.19.19 - Updated Grading Table to Grading Section 
  • Version 5.8.19 - Updated Accessibility Statement, as suggested by the Office of Accessibility Resources 
  • Version 5.19.19 - Alignment to the policy on Academic Integrity, as maintained by the Dean of Students website; alignment to new contact email address and website for the Office of Accessibility Resources 
  • Version 9.13.18: - Inclusion of new Liberal Studies Learning Outcomes verbiage 
  • Version 8.7.18: - A link to the Liberal Studies Learning Goals website (to assist faculty teaching courses part of the Liberal Studies CORE). 
  • Version 7.17.18 - A statement about learning outcomes for courses part of the Liberal Studies program. 
  • Version 6.21.18 - Information about LMS downtime 
  • Version 5.25.18 - Updates about WALC, Math Tutoring center, Institutional Policies: Course Recording and Broadcasting, Institutional Policies: Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Academic Integrity Policy and Reporting Process (corrected a typo) 

So you’re teaching a new course not yet developed before. You may want to review our Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist, which was informed by research on learning-centered syllabi. We also have a Model Syllabus which can be helpful to ensure all the pieces are there.


Rationale for Developing a Syllabus

It is important to build and distribute a document syllabus.

To support existing processes and transparency.

A document copy (Word, PDF) of a course syllabus and course schedule is an important document for an enrolled student, particularly if the student is part of an accredited program, applying to a graduate program, transferring institutions, or seeking additional credentials or certifications. It is not uncommon for the institution or credentialing agency to request a copy of the syllabus and course schedule to verify the course description, outcomes, assignments/assessments, and topics listed in the course schedule meet the requisite requirements and/or knowledge outlined by the institution or agency. The same information is often required of the agencies who accredit our academic programs and must be available for annual reports, re-accreditation, mid-review reports. WCU’s internal program review also requests this information as part of the review process. Currently, the best practice is to have a digital copy of the syllabus (including the course description, outcomes, assignments/assessments) and course schedule of topics for each section of a course available to the enrolled student for their records and a copy on file with the program and department.

It is also important to use the Canvas Syllabus tool.

To equip students with the best chance for student success.

The Canvas Syllabus Tool does not replace a document syllabus that is distributed in class, or shared as a Word or PDF file. The Canvas Syllabus Tool, which is new to WCU faculty who were more familiar with Blackboard, is a student success mechanism:

  • It displays all scheduled assignments in a single place in Canvas.
  • It integrates with the student grade view, so students see all their assignments, grades, and current averages – at a glance.
  • It integrates with the student’s calendar, so they can see all their assignments across all their courses – in one place (in the eyes of students, the most important components of a syllabus are due dates for exams and assignments). [i]
  • It provides efficiencies for the teacher, who can grade all student work in one place (through the Canvas speedgrader), with all of the benefits inherent to the Canvas grading system (rubrics, auto-grade, drop grade functionality, etc.)

[i] Garavalia, L. S., Hummel, J. H., Wiley, L. P., & Huitt, W. G. (1999). Constructing the course syllabus: Faculty and student perceptions of important syllabus components. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching10(1), 5-21.

Course Planning Resources and Calendars

Academic Calendar - Plan your semester with the add/drop schedule, holiday schedule, midterm and final schedule.

Course Workload Estimator - Calculate length of time required for students to read, write, discuss, and test. This new version includes tools for incorporating length of time for videos and podcasts.

Video Waiver

Faculty seeking the video waiver/release form for students, referenced on page 14 of the Syllabus Template, should view the Office of Legal Counsel website. The form is provided on the very bottom of their webpage.


For further help with syllabi, including course planning and design, alignment, and assessment, consider a consultation with one of our faculty developers.

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