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Principles for the Fall Semester

Course Fundamentals

A well-thought-out syllabus can be used to establish instructor presence, facilitate engagement, manage the classroom, foster inclusion, clarify important course details and much more.

The UTK accessible online and hybrid course syllabus template was designed with you and your students in mind. The template includes components that support best practices in online course design and delivery. The template is meant to serve as an example, and it contains navigation links and specific language that you can modify and use when developing your own syllabus. As you utilize the template, you may add, change, or delete portions of the document to meet your needs. If you are teaching a hybrid class, make it very clear in the course schedule which days are for in-class meetings and which days are for online instruction and participation.

The syllabus template has been formatted using the Styles feature in Word to differentiate headings from normal text (for screen readers and easy editing).

Teaching Tip: Give students a syllabus quiz – you’ve taken time to develop it and it contains important information. This also allows students to practice taking a low-stakes assessment using the Canvas quiz tool.

The Office of the Provost has provided additional information for you to include in your syllabus, including language about wearing masks, practicing social distancing and using seating charts in on-campus courses.

Syllabus Language Regarding Masks and Social Distancing

Seating Charts for On-Campus Classes

Health and Safety in Instructional Labs for Fall 2020

Online and Hybrid Attendance Best Practices from the Division of Student Success and the Office of the Provost.

From the Office of Information Technology: You’ve decided to deliver your course online or as a hybrid. Using a template will make it easier.

A template turns a blank course shell into a fill-in-the-blank Canvas course. New online faculty, or faculty short on time, can begin with a pre-built point of launch. Faculty power users can take and modify the template without needing to start from zero.

The UTK OIT Canvas Course Template will help you to easily create a structure and load examples that you can duplicate in your own course.

TheĀ UTK OIT Canvas Course Template is available in the Canvas Commons. Please follow these steps to preview the template and import it into a course shell:

1. In the Global Navigation menu (grey menu underneath the Power T), click the Commons link.

2. Using the Search field, copy and paste this text: UTK OIT Canvas Course Template. Press Enter.

3. Click the resource title:

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  • You can view the template content by clicking on any of the links found on the Preview tab.

4. To import the resource, click the Import/Download button.

5. Select the course(s) you wish to import the template into. Then, click the Import into Course button.

6. Navigate to the course site you selected to view the imported content.


Use the template as a base design to develop your desired course. There is pre-filled text as suggested information. This content can be changed. There are highlighted areas which need to be updated with your unique course content.

The Template populates into the course. The template provides one, pre-filled module (Module 0) with basic information your students will need. Edit this information as needed.

From the Office of the Provost, these resources can be helpful as instructors prepare course syllabi and make plans to engage UT’s scholars, both in person and through online or hybrid teaching and learning.

  • Send your class a welcome message in email and let them know what to expect on the first day of class (are you meeting on campus, online in Zoom, etc).
  • Publish your Canvas course site and include a welcome Announcement and short introductory video.
  • If you plan to use Zoom, download the Zoom software to your computer and remind your class to download the Zoom software.
  • Email or post the Zoom Participant Guide and Guide to Joining a Meeting for students to access. Share Participation rules for live Zoom sessions.
  • Find a trusted colleague with whom you can practice recording live Zoom sessions. Also, be sure that you are comfortable uploading Zoom recordings to your Canvas course site or a cloud-based repository so that you can share them with students.
  • Download your class rosters from Canvas so that you have a copy on your computer. This will be handy if you are temporarily unable to connect to Canvas.
  • The best laid plans have backup plans. To ensure that you have a backup, create a list of student emails in your course, create an email distribution list, and download your Gradebook so you have access to it outside of Canvas. Learn details about the process on the OIT website.