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Is your syllabus reaching prospective students?

Post your syllabus to using the Canvas Syllabus tool – even enrolled students will thank you hosts all course syllabi that have been submitted by instructors, providing centralized  access to course information for both prospective and enrolled students. To post a syllabus to, instructors will need to utilize the Syllabus Tool within Canvas to share their syllabi; they can do so without publishing a course in Canvas. This article highlights the significance of getting syllabi into and provides guidance on how to do it.

How helps students

Established in 2006, enables Stanford students to access the syllabi of courses they are interested in without enrolling. This accessibility allows students to:

  • Make informed decisions while shopping for courses and have time to comparison shop for recommended textbooks and supplies before registration
  • Avoid crowds in classrooms typically experienced during the first week of classes 
  • Stay within the enrollment cap of 20 units per quarter 
A screenshot of after selecting Spring 2023 and PWR department

Add your syllabi to

Use the Syllabus tool in Canvas to upload a file, directly edit a page, add a link, or embed an external webpage to ensure your syllabus appears on, displays as your Canvas homepage, and is accessible from Explore Courses. Even if you change your default homepage, as School of Medicine and Graduate School of Business have, students will be able to find “Syllabus” in the left navigation. 

Screenshot shows new interface for adding a syllabus

By default, syllabi uploaded to Canvas via the Syllabus tool are accessible to all authenticated Stanford users, even before publishing your Canvas course.

Restrict your syllabus to enrolled students by changing the Syllabus Visibility setting

What if you don’t want to share your syllabus with students outside your class or are still drafting your syllabus? Before or after adding your syllabus to the Canvas Syllabus tool, you can restrict the Syllabus access settings to enrolled students (a link to your syllabus will still show in, but it will only work for enrolled students).

You may think it’s easier to upload your syllabus to Files in order to restrict its visibility to enrolled students, but adding syllabi to the dedicated Syllabus tool and modifying the Syllabus Visibility setting helps enrolled students find and access them more easily, especially via the Canvas mobile app. Students’ most frequently mentioned frustration in using Canvas is that it is hard to locate essential items like syllabi in Canvas because the content is not where they expect to find it, such as in the Canvas Syllabus tool.

Contact for help or more information.

Further Reading

Optimizing the Syllabus: Article from the Center for Teaching and Learning

Open course for shopping: If you want to make more content from your Canvas course available to students who are not yet enrolled in your course

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