The syllabus — that hallowed contract between instructor and student — is a crucial part of the learning environment.
One of the big benefits of using a learning management system is the ease of the distributing the syllabus to students and making it available anytime, anywhere (with wifi, that is).
IDS is recommending some slight tweaks to syllabus posting in the new Blackboard system, with the goal of easy access in multiple formats for the students. They may not always read it with the care we’d hope for, but we ought to make it prominent and readable with the tech tools we have. In that spirit, here are a few options for posting syllabi in your MCC Blackboard Learn environment.
How to post your syllabus in Blackboard
To start, here’s a Blackboard terminology refresher: the recommended MCC course menu contains links to: the Announcements tool; the Syllabus; the Lessons content area; the Calendar tool; the My Grades tool; the Email tool; and a web link to Blackboard Help.
The course menu is how your students will navigate your course. They see everything (as long as it’s not hidden) above “course management,” which you use to edit, grade, etc. — instructor stuff.
There’s no set-in-stone course menu for all MCC courses. We think consistency is a good idea, especially within program areas, but it’s up to faculty to decide what works best, and there are several options for how to post various content items in Blackboard.
The course menu can also have as many links as you like. But please don’t do fewer — you may prevent students from accessing vital content. For example, if your course does not already have a “My Grades” link, please add one. This is the only way for students to see their grades.
Blank page (HTML) + PDF download option
Our recommended syllabus-posting technique is to post the text of the syllabus in the body of a blank page and attach a PDF of the syllabus to this blank page.
Reminder: You can make a PDF in Microsoft Word by “saving as” while in the finished document and then selecting PDF from the drop-down menu of file types.
Online leads should have created a blank syllabus page in the course masters, but, if you need to make one (if there’s nothing that says “syllabus” in your course menu), with your course in edit mode, click the + in the upper left of the menu, then select Blank Page. Give it a name and make sure it’s available to users.
Once you have the blank page in your menu, go to your syllabus in Word and copy and paste (Ctrl + A to highlight, Ctrl + C to copy) the content. With the edit mode on, navigate to the page in Blackboard and paste (Ctrl + V) into the content editor.
You can use the content editor (expand edit options if you don’t see all three rows) to make any changes needed.
You’ll then scroll down to “attachments” and browse to upload your PDF.
The final product has the text available to read right in the window AND as a printable document, giving the student too good options for easy access to their course contract.
Things to remember:
- Delete all references to ANGEL, course mail and ANGEL features such as “the Resources tab”
- You can still use the Syllabus Center (https://syllabus.mccneb.edu). Please do! You can use it to generate a PDF, or you can add a web link to your syllabus directly in your course menu.