Teaching & Learning Resource Center

Online and Hybrid Syllabus Template Instructions

Instructors find that online and hybrid courses merit special syllabus considerations. Some information beyond the standard policies for an in-person course can help to set clear expectations and orient students when the structure of a particular online course a or perhaps online learning a may be unfamiliar.

ODEE instructional designers have developed and refined a syllabus template in partnership with the university's fully online programs and certificates. This template contains crucial online-specific policies which may be adjusted by individual instructors, and the file itself has been formatted to meet basic accessibility guidelines.

Because many colleges, departments, and individual instructors already have syllabus templates or formats that address other needs, some instructors may find it easier to copy, paste, and revise specific sections of this template to incorporate into their own syllabus. Expand each section below for sample language for key online-specific policies.

UX Tip

See Post Your Syllabus in Carmen for detailed instructions.

Syllabus Template Sections

How This Online Course Works

A syllabus for an online class can help to orient students to the pace and expectations of instruction in this modality. Students who are new to online learning, or who are used to a particular format, may have trouble translating their expectations from in-person learning. With some clear, straightforward explanations in your syllabus, you can help students understand how much time and effort may be required for your class, what attendance means, and what the live or synchronous requirements are (such as Zoom meetings), if any.

Customize this section with information about your particular course context.


Example: Completely asynchronous class

Mode of delivery: This course is 100% online. There are no required sessions when you must be logged in to Carmen at a scheduled time.

Pace of online activities: This course is divided into weekly modules that are released one week ahead of time. Students are expected to keep pace with weekly deadlines but may schedule their efforts freely within that time frame. 

Credit hours and work expectations: This is a 3-credit-hour course. According to Ohio State policy, students should expect around 3 hours per week of time spent on direct instruction (instructor content and Carmen activities, for example) in addition to 6 hours of homework (reading and assignment preparation, for example) to receive a grade of (C) average. 

Attendance and participation requirements: Because this is an online course, your attendance is based on your online activity and participation. The following is a summary of students' expected participation: 

  • Participating in online activities for attendance: AT LEAST ONCE PER WEEK. You are expected to log in to the course in Carmen every week. During most weeks you will probably log in many times. If you have a situation that might cause you to miss an entire week of class, discuss it with me as soon as possible.

  • Office hours and live sessions: OPTIONAL. All live, scheduled events for the course, including my office hours, are optional.

  • Participating in discussion forums: 2+ TIMES PER WEEK. As part of your participation, each week you can expect to post at least twice as part of our substantive class discussion on the week's topics.


Example: Class with weekly Zoom meetings

Mode of delivery: This course is 100% online. You will find a sequence of materials and activities each week in Carmen, and we will meet for a weekly Zoom session during our scheduled class meeting time. 

Pace of online activities: This course is divided into weekly modules that are released one week ahead of time. Apart from our Zoom meetings, you may schedule your efforts freely throughout the week as you keep pace with weekly due dates. 

Credit hours and work expectations: This is a 3-credit-hour course. According to Ohio State policy, students should expect around 3 hours per week of time spent on direct instruction (class meetings and instructor content and Carmen activities, for example) in addition to 6 hours of homework (reading and assignment preparation, for example) to receive a grade of (C) average. 

Attendance and participation requirements: Because this is an online course, your attendance is based on your online activity and participation. As noted above, this course is not a self-paced learning experience. If you have a situation that might cause you to miss an entire week of class, discuss it with me as soon as possible. The following is a summary of students' expected participation: 

  • Weekly Zoom sessions: REQUIRED. All live, scheduled class sessions for the course are required.

  • Zoom instructor office hours: OPTIONAL. You are encouraged to note my office hours in your weekly schedule, and to attend as you have questions, but these sessions are optional.​​​​​

  • Participating in online activities for attendance: AT LEAST ONCE PER WEEK. You are expected to log in to the course in Carmen every week to engage with course readings, videos, and assignments. During most weeks you will probably log in many times.

Course Materials, Fees and Technologies (including Digital Flagship)

In addition to noting required textbooks, materials, and fees, you can set clear expectations with your students about the required technology for the class. Customize this section with information about your particular course context. In the bulleted lists below, you will likely add or remove items to reflect what's required.

Digital Flagship: There is a wide variance in digital skills among students at Ohio State. Providing students a pathway to support for the technology they will use in your course is a good step in helping them develop their skillset. Include the language below about Digital Flagship to connect your students to resources. Support is available to help any student a from first-year students and graduate students to fully online students a build their skills.


Example syllabus language

Required Equipment

  • Computer: current Mac (OS X) or PC (Windows 7+) with high-speed internet connection

  • Webcam: built-in or external webcam, fully installed and tested

  • Microphone: built-in laptop or tablet mic or external microphone

  • Other: a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) or landline to use for BuckeyePass authentication

Required Software

CarmenCanvas Access

You will need to use BuckeyePass multi-factor authentication to access your courses in Carmen. To ensure that you are able to connect to Carmen at all times, it is recommended that you take the following steps:

  • Register multiple devices in case something happens to your primary device. Visit the BuckeyePass - Adding a Device help article for step-by-step instructions.

  • Request passcodes to keep as a backup authentication option. When you see the Duo login screen on your computer, click Enter a Passcode and then click the Text me new codes button that appears. This will text you ten passcodes good for 365 days that can each be used once.

  • Install the Duo Mobile application to all of your registered devices for the ability to generate one-time codes in the event that you lose cell, data, or Wi-Fi service.

If none of these options will meet the needs of your situation, you can contact the IT Service Desk at 614-688-4357 (HELP) and IT support staff will work out a solution with you.

Technology Skills Needed for This Course

Technology Support

For help with your password, university email, CarmenCanvas, or any other technology issues, questions or requests, contact the IT Service Desk, which offers 24-hour support, seven days a week.

Digital Flagship

Digital Flagship is a student success initiative aimed at helping you build digital skills for both college and career. This includes offering an engaging collection of digital tools and supportive learning experiences, university-wide opportunities to learn to code, and a Design Lab to explore digital design and app development. Digital Flagship resources available to help Ohio State students include on-demand tutorials, The Digital Flagship Handbook (your guide for all things tech-related), workshops and events, one-on-one tech consultations with a peer or Digital Flagship staff member, and more. To learn more about how Digital Flagship can help you use technology in your courses and grow your digital skills, visit go.osu.edu/dfresources.

In addition to noting required textbooks, materials, and fees, you can set clear expectations with your students about the required technology for the class. Customize this section with information about your particular course context. In the bulleted lists below, you will likely add or remove items to reflect what's required.

Digital Flagship: There is a wide variance in digital skills among students at Ohio State. Providing students a pathway to support for the technology they will use in your course is a good step in helping them develop their skillset. Include the language below about Digital Flagship to connect your students to resources. Support is available to help any student a from first-year students and graduate students to fully online students a build their skills.


Example syllabus language

Required Equipment

  • Computer: current Mac (OS X) or PC (Windows 7+) with high-speed internet connection

  • Webcam: built-in or external webcam, fully installed and tested

  • Microphone: built-in laptop or tablet mic or external microphone

  • Other: a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) or landline to use for BuckeyePass authentication

Required Software

CarmenCanvas Access

You will need to use BuckeyePass multi-factor authentication to access your courses in Carmen. To ensure that you are able to connect to Carmen at all times, it is recommended that you take the following steps:

  • Register multiple devices in case something happens to your primary device. Visit the BuckeyePass - Adding a Device help article for step-by-step instructions.

  • Request passcodes to keep as a backup authentication option. When you see the Duo login screen on your computer, click Enter a Passcode and then click the Text me new codes button that appears. This will text you ten passcodes good for 365 days that can each be used once.

  • Install the Duo Mobile application to all of your registered devices for the ability to generate one-time codes in the event that you lose cell, data, or Wi-Fi service.

If none of these options will meet the needs of your situation, you can contact the IT Service Desk at 614-688-4357 (HELP) and IT support staff will work out a solution with you.

Technology Skills Needed for This Course

Technology Support

For help with your password, university email, CarmenCanvas, or any other technology issues, questions or requests, contact the IT Service Desk, which offers 24-hour support, seven days a week.

Digital Flagship

Digital Flagship is a student success initiative aimed at helping you build digital skills for both college and career. This includes offering an engaging collection of digital tools and supportive learning experiences, university-wide opportunities to learn to code, and a Design Lab to explore digital design and app development. Digital Flagship resources available to help Ohio State students include on-demand tutorials, The Digital Flagship Handbook (your guide for all things tech-related), workshops and events, one-on-one tech consultations with a peer or Digital Flagship staff member, and more. To learn more about how Digital Flagship can help you use technology in your courses and grow your digital skills, visit go.osu.edu/dfresources.

Academic Integrity and Collaboration

In addition to the standard university academic integrity policy, ODEE recommends including some specifics in plain language about what constitutes positive academic conduct with the specific activities and assignments in your course.

Remember that while an exam, a pop quiz, and an in-class group worksheet will all seem distinct from each other in the classroom a with particular norms tied to each that most students will bring with them a in an online class these very different types of activities can lack those crucial in-person signals. For example, they may all just be quiz links in your Carmen course. By listing out in the syllabus the core activities and assignments in your course and defining expectations, you'll help students orient themselves and understand concretely what constitutes proper conduct in your class.

Customize this section with your own course activities and expectations. The list below probably includes a broader range of items than would be relevant for any individual course.


Example syllabus language

  • Quizzes and exams: You must complete the midterm and final exams yourself, without any external help or communication. Weekly quizzes are included as self-checks without points attached but are still expected to be completed on your own.

  • Written assignments: Your written assignments, including discussion posts, should be your own original work. In formal assignments, you should follow [MLA/APA/Chicago etc.] style to cite the ideas and words of your research sources. You are encouraged to ask a trusted person to proofread your assignments before you turn them in, but no one else should revise or rewrite your work.

  • Reusing past work: In general, you are prohibited in university courses from turning in work from a past class to your current class, even if you modify it. If you want to build on past research or revisit a topic you've explored in previous courses, please discuss the situation with me.

  • Falsifying research or results: All research you will conduct in this course is intended to be a learning experience; you should never feel tempted to make your results or your library research look more successful than it was.

  • Collaboration and informal peer-review: The course includes many opportunities for formal collaboration with your classmates. While study groups and peer-review of major written projects is encouraged, remember that comparing answers on a quiz or assignment is not permitted. If you're unsure about a particular situation, please ask ahead of time.

  • Group projects: This course includes group projects, which can be stressful for students when it comes to dividing work, taking credit, and receiving grades and feedback. I have attempted to make the guidelines for group work as clear as possible for each activity and assignment, but please let me know if you have any questions.

In addition to the standard university academic integrity policy, ODEE recommends including some specifics in plain language about what constitutes positive academic conduct with the specific activities and assignments in your course.

Remember that while an exam, a pop quiz, and an in-class group worksheet will all seem distinct from each other in the classroom a with particular norms tied to each that most students will bring with them a in an online class these very different types of activities can lack those crucial in-person signals. For example, they may all just be quiz links in your Carmen course. By listing out in the syllabus the core activities and assignments in your course and defining expectations, you'll help students orient themselves and understand concretely what constitutes proper conduct in your class.

Customize this section with your own course activities and expectations. The list below probably includes a broader range of items than would be relevant for any individual course.


Example syllabus language

  • Quizzes and exams: You must complete the midterm and final exams yourself, without any external help or communication. Weekly quizzes are included as self-checks without points attached but are still expected to be completed on your own.

  • Written assignments: Your written assignments, including discussion posts, should be your own original work. In formal assignments, you should follow [MLA/APA/Chicago etc.] style to cite the ideas and words of your research sources. You are encouraged to ask a trusted person to proofread your assignments before you turn them in, but no one else should revise or rewrite your work.

  • Reusing past work: In general, you are prohibited in university courses from turning in work from a past class to your current class, even if you modify it. If you want to build on past research or revisit a topic you've explored in previous courses, please discuss the situation with me.

  • Falsifying research or results: All research you will conduct in this course is intended to be a learning experience; you should never feel tempted to make your results or your library research look more successful than it was.

  • Collaboration and informal peer-review: The course includes many opportunities for formal collaboration with your classmates. While study groups and peer-review of major written projects is encouraged, remember that comparing answers on a quiz or assignment is not permitted. If you're unsure about a particular situation, please ask ahead of time.

  • Group projects: This course includes group projects, which can be stressful for students when it comes to dividing work, taking credit, and receiving grades and feedback. I have attempted to make the guidelines for group work as clear as possible for each activity and assignment, but please let me know if you have any questions.

Instructor Feedback and Response Time

Alongside your grade policies or contact information, you can tell students what to expect in terms of your response time for email and assignment feedback. Ohio State instructors with extensive experience teaching online often recommend blocking off time strategically during the week for these class-facilitation tasks and communications. This approach lessens the burden of feeling as if you need to be always on and always answering emails; you can set reasonable expectations and still have an active, responsive presence.

Customize this section with your own expectations, reflective of your schedule.


Example syllabus language

I am providing the following list to give you an idea of my intended availability throughout the course. Remember that you can call 614-688-4357 (HELP) at any time if you have a technical problem.

  • Preferred contact method: If you have a question, please contact me first through my Ohio State email address. I will reply to emails within 24 hours on days when class is in session at the university.

  • Office hours: You can always bring questions about course content, assignments, or policies to my weekly office hours.

  • Class announcements: I will send all important class-wide messages through the Announcements tool in CarmenCanvas. Please check your notification preferencesto ensure you receive these messages.
  • Discussion board: I will check and reply to messages in the discussion boards once mid-week and once at the end of the week.

  • Grading and feedback: For large weekly assignments, you can generally expect feedback within seven days.

Alongside your grade policies or contact information, you can tell students what to expect in terms of your response time for email and assignment feedback. Ohio State instructors with extensive experience teaching online often recommend blocking off time strategically during the week for these class-facilitation tasks and communications. This approach lessens the burden of feeling as if you need to be always on and always answering emails; you can set reasonable expectations and still have an active, responsive presence.

Customize this section with your own expectations, reflective of your schedule.


Example syllabus language

I am providing the following list to give you an idea of my intended availability throughout the course. Remember that you can call 614-688-4357 (HELP) at any time if you have a technical problem.

  • Preferred contact method: If you have a question, please contact me first through my Ohio State email address. I will reply to emails within 24 hours on days when class is in session at the university.

  • Office hours: You can always bring questions about course content, assignments, or policies to my weekly office hours.

  • Class announcements: I will send all important class-wide messages through the Announcements tool in CarmenCanvas. Please check your notification preferences to ensure you receive these messages.
  • Discussion board: I will check and reply to messages in the discussion boards once mid-week and once at the end of the week.

  • Grading and feedback: For large weekly assignments, you can generally expect feedback within seven days.

Discussion and Communication Guidelines (includes Zoom guidelines)

Your interaction with students and their interactions with each other are crucial components of students' success in an online class. Customize this section with statements that capture your expectations in the context of the particular technology media where you and students will be interacting.


Example: Asynchronous class where discussion occurs in writing in Carmen

The following are my expectations for how we should communicate as a class. Above all, please remember to be respectful and thoughtful.

  • Writing style: While there is no need to participate in class discussions as if you were writing a research paper, you should remember to write using good grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A more conversational tone is fine for non-academic topics.

  • Tone and civility: Let's maintain a supportive learning community where everyone feels safe and where people can disagree amicably. Critique ideas, not people. Remember that sarcasm doesn't always come across online.

  • Citing your sources: When we have academic discussions, please cite your sources to back up what you say. For the textbook or other course materials, list at least the title and page numbers. For online sources, include a link.

  • Backing up your work: Consider composing your academic posts in Microsoft Word or a note-taking app, where you can save your work, and then copying into the Carmen discussion.


Example: Synchronous class where discussion occurs in Zoom

A significant component of our interactions in this class will occur through Zoom videoconferencing. Because this mode of discussion has benefits and challenges that differ from in-person class sessions, I want to share my expectations for how we will meet and communicate:

  • Technical Issues: If you encounter a technical issue with Zoom during a session, first make sure you are using the latest version of Zoom. Next, contact the IT Service Desk at go.osu.edu/it or 614-688-4357(HELP). If issues continue, contact me after the session to learn how to make up for the missed content either via a recording or other means. I will not be able to address technical issues during a live session.
     
  • Preparation: Come to the session having completed any readings or pre-work and be ready to have open, civil, and supportive discussions in video and chat spaces. I ask that you update your Zoom profile with your preferred name and add a picture with your face.
     
  • Participation: At the start of our sessions, Iall share specific expectations for how to use the chat, how to interact, and how to raise questions or concerns as we go. If you are unsure about expectations or are unsure about raising a question, please follow up with me afterward to make sure your questions are answered. Plan to be present during the entire class session as much as you are able. For some activities, I may ask you to share your faces on camera so that we can see each other and connect. Please feel encouraged to use a non-distracting virtual background. Many students and instructors prefer not to share their remote spaces for a variety of reasons. Mute your microphone when others are talking to minimize background noise in the meeting.

If you have any concerns about participating in class over Zoom in this way, please let me know. My goal is to create a safe environment where we can benefit from seeing each other and connecting, but I want to prioritize your safety and well-being.

[If you are recording]

Recordings: I will be recording our meetings for the benefit of students who may need to be absent. These links will only be shared with students in our class, and only when a student contacts me to make this arrangement.

Your interaction with students and their interactions with each other are crucial components of students' success in an online class. Customize this section with statements that capture your expectations in the context of the particular technology media where you and students will be interacting.


Example: Asynchronous class where discussion occurs in writing in Carmen

The following are my expectations for how we should communicate as a class. Above all, please remember to be respectful and thoughtful.

  • Writing style: While there is no need to participate in class discussions as if you were writing a research paper, you should remember to write using good grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A more conversational tone is fine for non-academic topics.

  • Tone and civility: Let's maintain a supportive learning community where everyone feels safe and where people can disagree amicably. Critique ideas, not people. Remember that sarcasm doesn't always come across online.

  • Citing your sources: When we have academic discussions, please cite your sources to back up what you say. For the textbook or other course materials, list at least the title and page numbers. For online sources, include a link.

  • Backing up your work: Consider composing your academic posts in Microsoft Word or a note-taking app, where you can save your work, and then copying into the Carmen discussion.


Example: Synchronous class where discussion occurs in Zoom

A significant component of our interactions in this class will occur through Zoom videoconferencing. Because this mode of discussion has benefits and challenges that differ from in-person class sessions, I want to share my expectations for how we will meet and communicate:

  • Technical Issues: If you encounter a technical issue with Zoom during a session, first make sure you are using the latest version of Zoom. Next, contact the IT Service Desk at go.osu.edu/it or 614-688-4357 (HELP). If issues continue, contact me after the session to learn how to make up for the missed content either via a recording or other means. I will not be able to address technical issues during a live session.
     
  • Preparation: Come to the session having completed any readings or pre-work and be ready to have open, civil, and supportive discussions in video and chat spaces. I ask that you update your Zoom profile with your preferred name and add a picture with your face.
     
  • Participation: At the start of our sessions, Iall share specific expectations for how to use the chat, how to interact, and how to raise questions or concerns as we go. If you are unsure about expectations or are unsure about raising a question, please follow up with me afterward to make sure your questions are answered. Plan to be present during the entire class session as much as you are able. For some activities, I may ask you to share your faces on camera so that we can see each other and connect. Please feel encouraged to use a non-distracting virtual background. Many students and instructors prefer not to share their remote spaces for a variety of reasons. Mute your microphone when others are talking to minimize background noise in the meeting.

If you have any concerns about participating in class over Zoom in this way, please let me know. My goal is to create a safe environment where we can benefit from seeing each other and connecting, but I want to prioritize your safety and well-being.

[If you are recording]

Recordings: I will be recording our meetings for the benefit of students who may need to be absent. These links will only be shared with students in our class, and only when a student contacts me to make this arrangement.

Accessibility of Course Technology

To supplement the standard accessibility policy language, which lets students know how to receive accommodations for disabilities, you can provide additional information in online or hybrid courses to link to information about the accessibility affordances of the major platforms you use in your course.

It is good practice to include these links and to add links to accessibility information for any other technology platforms required for the class that are not commonly used Ohio State tools.


Example syllabus language

This online course requires the use of CarmenCanvas, Ohio State's learning management system, and other online communication and multimedia tools. If you need additional services to use these technologies, please request accommodations with your instructor.