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The Syllabus Resource

The syllabus lays out your expectations for when and how you expect students to engage with your course, the quality of work you expect from them, the commitment you make to support their work, the climate you want to promote in terms of effective and equitable interactions, and university and course policies. Please be sure that your syllabi are posted in your Canvas course shells and as required for HB2504.

UHD Common Syllabus Policies


Per PS 3.A.29 Course Syllabi, the Office of the Provost has developed a set of common syllabus policies in consultation with Senate leadership. These common policies are applicable to all courses at UHD. Thus, we ask faculty to either link to the page with the language or cut and paste into their syllabi with a list of the topics covered.


Faculty Requirements for Engaging Students

Please note that the university has identified expectations for faculty engagement, many of which are part of best practices already in place. In particular, please remember our Regular and Substantive Interaction requirements.

UHD Syllabus Checklist

This checklist is based on the UHD syllabus policy and may be useful in conducting the required periodic audits of syllabi in each department.


UHD Tips and Resources for Faculty

All elements below are optional for UHD faculty.

Drop in Zoom Room for Office Hours

You can create a “drop-in" Zoom room for virtual office hours though in response to student demand, we do ask that faculty be available for in-person office hours.

Creating a Phone Number

You can set up a free Google number that can forward to your personal phone. You can also forward your office phone to another phone number.

Language on Use of Canvas and Gatormail

Your success in this course is dependent on regular engagement in the course via Canvas, Gatormail, and Zoom/Teams/Other. Therefore, you must check the class Canvas site for announcements and materials several times per week. I will post reminders regularly, but minimally every _____, setting up plans for the next week.

Click on the link for Canvas resources. If you lose access to the Canvas site or have other technology issues, please contact IT at to try to resolve.


Sample Guidelines for Virtual Class Meetings (Zoom, MS Teams, Other)

Note to faculty: Faculty may require students to participate via live video in any class meeting in order to fulfill specific assignments or requirements related to a course learning outcome, assignment, or test, or when the participation supports the attainment of a learning outcome. Faculty should notify students of potential for requirements for video presence on the syllabus; as with any significant changes in course policy, faculty should provide advance notice to students. Students with concerns regarding any requirement to participate in live video for specific course learning outcomes and/or assignments should consult their instructor. We offer language below that may offer strategies for ensuring participation in other ways.

This class will include required and optional virtual meetings. Whether meeting with classmates or the instructor, we will follow the guidelines below to maximize opportunities for all to engage and to provide a supportive environment:

  • While camera presence is not required for general class meetings, please consider using the camera whenever possible. You can use a virtual background following these instructions: virtual background for Zoom
  • Regardless of camera presence, everyone must include a photo and name visual when participating in live sessions appropriate to the classroom environment look at this page for how to do this: customize Zoom
  • Full attention must be given during live sessions to the virtual meeting—be prepared to respond to chat, surveys, audio discussion, or other requested engagement during the entire session.
  • If we are using breakout rooms, be sure to accept the room assignment and participate actively in the task.
  • If you need to step away to handle a critical issue in your environment, send a private chat note to the instructor and indicate when you return. Do not disconnect from the session during this time unless you have indicated that you cannot return.
  • Respect the group by being on time and managing your volume, chat, and visual presence (use mute when not talking, do not use distracting or inappropriate background images, etc.)
  • If the instructor drops off or the virtual meeting ends unexpectedly, wait 5 minutes and try to reenter the meeting. If that is not successful, check your Gatormail and class Canvas shell for information and instructions.
  • If your own connection drops during a class meeting or session, as soon as possible try to reengage and send a private chat note to your instructor. If you cannot reengage, email your instructor as soon as possible to explain what happened and ask what you missed. You may be required to carry out specific tasks to make up the absence.
  • Make a note of the meeting ID and passcode before you join via computer; if your connection fails, try to rejoin using a cell phone.

Specific course assignments and/or exams may require live video. I, as the instructor, will provide this information to you in advance of the assignment due date. If you have a concern regarding any requirement to participate in live video for specific course learning outcomes please contact me as soon as possible to determine whether alternatives are available.


Sample Course Statement on Critical Thinking

At this university level course, the material is intended to encourage critical thinking and discussion as we examine new ideas and concepts from varying frameworks. To do this effectively I, as the instructor, will do my best to foster an environment in which each class member is able to hear and respect each other. In turn, it is vital that each class member show respect for all worldviews and experiences expressed in class. It is my intent that students from all backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the different backgrounds and perspectives that students bring to this class be viewed as a resources, strength, and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful to all.


Student Online Self-Assessment

Faculty are encouraged to require students to complete the “Student Online Self-Assessment" for their classes. This tool allows both students and faculty to identify areas of strength in online learning, but also areas in which the student might need extra support and guidance to additional resources from faculty members. Ways this assessment can be incorporated into your course can include:

· As a regular assessment, perhaps embedded within a larger assignment related to succeeding in online learning.

· As a “low-stakes" assessment, worth a small percentage or a few points.

· For extra credit.

· As a voluntary activity.

The most important aspect is for faculty to evaluate the results for each student so as to guide the student to the resources they need to succeed in the online environment. To download a digital postcard and see some activity suggestions, visit the UHD Online Learning Student Readiness Self-Assessment resource page at the CTLE's website.

SAMPLE SYLLABUS LANGUAGE: In this course, students are strongly encouraged (or required--explain how) to take the “Student Self-Assessment" for online learning. This assessment will help you and your professor to pinpoint any assistance you might need as you pursue online learning. The “Student Self-Assessment" can be accessed at


Best Practices for a Range of Online Technologies

See this resource: best practices for a range of technologies.

Realistic Preview of Online Learning (Video): In this brief video recommended by the Online Task Force, hear from UHD students on what to expect in an online class and how to overcome common challenges.

Some Zoom Features

  • Using Zoom for Office Hours
    Zoom allows you to use a room for a type of “drop-in" office hours. On this page is information to set up the waiting room.
  • Managing Chat in Zoom
    You can save the chat from a Zoom session, and you can manage who can chat with whom during a Zoom session; for example, you can disable private chat and allow only public chat or with the host.
  • Running a Poll in Zoom
    This can be a good tool for engagement during a synchronous session—polling participants and seeing the data in real time.
  • Tracking Attendance in Zoom
    You can pull participation lists from any Zoom meeting that is still in your cloud (30 day max for most UHD accounts).


Canvas Gradebook

If you have not used the gradebook feature in Canvas, please be sure to carefully review the default columns and calculations. Also, please consider putting something in your syllabus such as the following:

While you can track your grades in Canvas, final grades will be calculated soley on the basis of the  weighting and values described on the syllabus. Final grades or point totals in Canvas should not be taken as the official grade source unless confirmed by the instructor.

Please see additional information about Canvas gradebook set-up on this link. 


Sample Title IX Statement (Faculty are not required to include)

UHD seeks to provide an educational environment free from sex discrimination, including non-consensual sexual contact, sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonviolence and stalking. Please know that if you report any sexual misconduct to me, I am required under Title IX regulations and state law to share that information with our Title IX Coordinator. For more information, including counseling and support resources available to you, go to the Title IX & Sexual  Misconduct webpage.

Students are enouraged to report concerns directly to the Title IX Coordinator by emailing or using the online reporting form or calling (713) 221-5771. The Title IX/Equal Opportunity Office is a confidential resource that can offer resources, provide accommodations and investigate matter related to the Sexual Misconduct Policy.