Online Course Syllabus Statements and Resources

This page lists helpful syllabus statements and guidance for use as you develop your online course. These examples are for your consideration and may be edited to suit your needs.

Table of Contents

Example Online Course in D2L

Online Course Ground Rules

Accommodations Statement

University Syllabus Attachment

Technical Resources

File Formats

ETSU Student Services

Turnitin - Plagiarism Detection Service Statement

Online Attendance

Example Online Course in D2L

If you would like to be enrolled in an example online course, send your request to Anthony Kiech ( , 439.8565)

Online Course Ground Rules

  1. Participation is required
  2. Expected to communicate with other students in team projects
  3. Learn how to navigate in Desire2Learn
  4. Keep abreast of course announcements
  5. Use the assigned university email address as opposed to a personal email address
  6. Address technical problems immediately
  7. Observe course netiquette at all times. Instructor guidelines for communication by email, discussion groups, chat, and the use of web resources. Some examples of this include:
    1. Email
      1. Always include a subject line.
      2. Remember that without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
      3. Use standard fonts.
      4. Do not send large attachments without permission.
      5. Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
      6. Respect the privacy of other class members.
    2. Discussion groups
      1. Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion.
      2. Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
      3. Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas
      4. Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
      5. Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
      6. Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
      7. Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Accommodations Statement

You can add the statement somewhere in the syllabus or link directly to the Disability Services page at: http://www.etsu.edu/students/disable/employfaculty/syllabus.aspx

It is the policy of ETSU to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal law, state law and the University's commitment to equal educational access. Any student with a disability who needs accommodations, for example arrangement for examinations or seating placement, should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. Faculty accommodation forms are provided to students through Disability Services in the D.P.Culp center, telephone 439-8346.

University Syllabus Attachment

You can add the link somewhere in the syllabus or link directly from D2L's content to the Registrar's page at: http://www.etsu.edu/reg/academics/syllabus.aspx

Technical Resources

Technical information, requirements and help can be found here: http://www.etsu.edu/onlinehelp/student_help/tech_resources.aspx

File Formats

Free Microsoft Office Compatible Readers/Programs

Some instructors may post Microsoft Word or PowerPoint documents. Even if you do not have Microsoft Office installed on your computer you can still view these documents by installing one of the open source products or by installing the free Office Viewers.

PowerPoint 2007 - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=048dc840-14e1-467d-8dca-19d2a8fd7485&displaylang=en
Word Viewer 2007 - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3657ce88-7cfa-457a-9aec-f4f827f20cac&displaylang=en
Excel Viewer 2007 - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1cd6acf9-ce06-4e1c-8dcf-f33f669dbc3a&DisplayLang=en

A note on Content File Formats

Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, etc.)

There are some big disadvantages to loading a Microsoft Word or Powerpoint file directly into D2L. First and foremost, it requires each student to have specialized software to view the file. We get used to having Microsoft Office on all of our campus computers. In the past it was commonly packaged with new personal computers as well, but this is no longer the case. The truth is that many online students will not have Microsoft Office and unless it is a requirement for your course, should not have to buy it.

There are some alternative ways to view Microsoft Office files such as Word or Powerpoint for free, including Open Office, Skydrive and Google Docs. Many students will not know about these alternatives unless you give specific instructions.

Another issue is that students must download the file to their computer in order to view it, which takes more clicks (and thus more time) and harddrive space. With pop-up blockers, virus protection and browser security, there are often obstacles to retrieve these files.

HTML

Most Microsoft files can be saved in other formats which are easier to open and typically do not require extra software. Web native HTML formats (such as what D2L uses when you create a new file) can open in any browser or from any device. They can also be searched and bookmarked directly from D2L's content page.  It may be simpler for an instructor to upload Word or PowerPoint files to D2L but it is more difficult for students to access the files and the course content.

PDFs

PDF files are also common and largely universal. They typically open in the browser itself with a free addon. PDF files are easy to create from Microsoft documents (simply go to File > Save As and choose PDF) and preserve formatting, links, images, etc.  Students will not have the ability to search for key words in PDF files but they do provide more accessibility in an online course.

Cloud Docs (Google Docs, Skydrive, etc.)

Google Docs and other cloud document services are becoming more popular, and there are some positive and negative aspects to look at. The final output of these cloud documents are a form of HTML so no external software or plugins are required to view these documents. However, the document exists outside of D2L so an external link would be necessary, and sometimes pop-up blockers or other security settings can block them. You as the author would also have to make sure your permissions are set correctly to allow students to see them. Because they are outside of D2L, students could share the links with others essentially making these documents public for anyone to see.

Cloud services such as Google Docs do make it easy to update content without re-uploading files to D2L. Use this with extreme caution. Fixing a typo on the fly is a great benefit. However changing your syllabus or an assignment in the middle of a course without adequate notice is not fair to students. While any of these forms of content allow you to make updates throughout the semester, the ease of updating cloud documents makes it easy to over-use. The bottom line is: students should not see constant changes to important policies, assignments or instructions during the semester without notice.

ETSU Student Services

Services available to online students can be found here: http://www.etsu.edu/onlinehelp/student_help/default.aspx

Turnitin - Plagiarism Detection Service Statement

Students will submit their work to Turnitin, a plagiarism detection service, in order to help them learn to cite sources accurately and to ensure academic integrity. Students who might object to using Turnitin should consult the instructor as early as possible and definitely within the first two weeks of the course to determine suitable alternatives. The instructor will select the alternative method. Examples of alternative methods include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. For writing assignments not requiring the use of references and for take-home essay tests—completing a comparable assignment or test with a proctor.
  2. For writing assignments requiring the use of references—requiring the student to assemble a copy of all sources and meet with the instructor to review their use and documentation in the paper.
  3. For writing assignments requiring the use of references—having a third party selected by the faculty member check the use and citation of references in the paper.
  4. For any type of written assignments, use Turnitin but set the preferences for the student's assignment to search against only the free Internet and ProQuest. The student's paper will not be added to the database.

Online Attendance

Email about attendance and options to check it.

There is on one way to officially determine attendance in an online course. One method would likely not work universally as all online classes are a little different. It often does affect financial aid for students so it is important to be accurate as you can be when reporting.

In D2L, student access activity can be viewed. You can do this in D2L by clicking on the classlist and then the little round circles by their name. This is the "view progress" option.

Student Progress

Then you can select the tool you wish to view. For example, you would select "Content" to see how much content they've accessed, how long they stayed on each page, etc. Take this with a grain of salt as you can't guarantee that they are really contemplating the content or that they just clicked on it. Also, if you use Word documents or something outside D2L, then you can't tell how long they've looked at it. Overall it is a good way to tell if a student even clicked on something.

Progress Type

 

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