Getting Started with the Semester

4 Adding your syllabus to Canvas

Adding the course syllabus to the Canvas Syllabus tool makes it much easier for students to find. You can add your entire syllabus in the text box provided or enter some basic course information and link to your full syllabus in a PDF or Word document.

Before adding your syllabus to Canvas, please take time to check it for accessibility. There is a short Canvas course titled Creating an Accessible Syllabus using Microsoft Word that walks you through the process.

Adding your entire syllabus into the Syllabus tool

  1. Go to the Syllabus tool and click the “Edit” button at the top right.
  2. Click in the text box that appears.
  3. Paste in your syllabus text.
  4. Check your formatting. The more accessible your document is, the better your formatting will appear when pasted into Canvas. Any tabs used for indenting in your document won’t indent text on a web page so you may need to re-indent lines using the indent button in the text editor tools above the text box.
  5. Click “Update Syllabus.”

Using a link to your syllabus document

If you choose to link to your full syllabus document, please be mobile-friendly and also add some basic course information directly into the top of the Syllabus tool using the instructions above. The most useful things to include are:

  1. The full course name and number, especially if the course goes by a different name than you see listed at the top of your Canvas site (for example, special topics courses).
  2. Course meeting day(s), time, and location, so students know where they are going and when they need to be there. If it is an online course, let them know if there is a live Zoom orientation or regularly occurring live Zoom meetings.
  3. Your name and contact information in case they have questions before the first day of class.
  4. Textbook information on any books they need to buy or a note that the course is using an eText through IU eTexts or that reading material will be provided in another way.

If you are using the Syllabus tool as your course home page, you should also include anything students need to do prior to the first class meeting.

To add the link to your full syllabus document:

  1. Click the “Edit” button at the top right of the Syllabus tool
  2. Click in the text box where you would like to add the link.
  3. Click on the Document icon and choose “Upload Document” to upload a new file or”Course Documents” if your syllabus document is already in the Canvas Files tool. Follow the prompts to add your link.
  4. If your syllabus file does not have a clear and meaningful name, you can change the linked text to be clearer.
    1. Click anywhere in the linked text and then click the Link Options popup when it appears above your cursor.
    2. Change the text in the “Text” field to something meaningful such as “[Course Number] [Course Name] Syllabus (pdf)” and click “Done.” (Indicating whether the syllabus is a pdf or a Word doc is very helpful as students can usually open pdf files on their phone but may not be able to open a Word document.)
  5. Finally, draw your students’ attention to the syllabus document
    1. If your link is at the top, you may want to make the link text larger by changing the font size.
    2. If your link is below your basic information, you can set the link to automatically show a preview of the syllabus file. To do this,
      1. click anywhere in the linked text
      2. click “Link Options” when it pops up above your cursor.
      3. check the box next to “Automatically open an in-line preview”
      4. click “Done”

      Note that you have to save your changes and reload the page for the preview to appear. The preview will take a few moments to appear the first time you load it.

    3. Click “Update Syllabus.”

    Questions? Talk to your campus teaching and learning center!

    Click “Next” below at the bottom right to continue.


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