CTL Blog

New Syllabus Tool Coming to CoursePlus During Spring Break

March 14, 2013 | 3 Minute Read

The new syllabus tool that has been available in online courses since the start of the academic year is coming to CoursePlus on Sunday, March 17. Last year, the School completed a process wherein a standardized syllabus template was developed by individual academic departments and the School's academic deans. The new syllabus tool that's coming to CoursePlus meets the requirements of and encourages faculty to work within this new syllabus template. We had hoped to get the new syllabus tool into CoursePlus in December, but the complexities of transferring all the data in "About the Course" pages in CoursePlus into the new syllabus format caused that deadline to be pushed back by a few months.

The instructional design team in the Center for Teaching and Learning has been offering workshops on how to create a great syllabus, and will continue to do so in the coming months. We will also be posting some overview videos of the new tool in the CoursePlus 101 movie list.

In the meantime, here's a refresher on some of the major changes that the new syllabus tool brings to CoursePlus:


  • Select information from the JHSPH course database is pulled into the syllabus tool and can be modified from within the syllabus tool. Previously, these sections were not editable from within the syllabus tool. This includes the following sections:
    • Course Description
    • Course Learning Objectives
    • Methods of Assessment
    • Intended Audience
    • Prerequisites
    • Required Text(s)
  • Numerous sections of content recommended by the committee which developed the standardized JHSPH course syllabus appear on the main editing page. These sections can easily be added by clicking a [+] button next to the section title.
  • Guides for effectively writing each section of content in your syllabus have been created by the instructional design team at the Center for Teaching and Learning. These guides can help you write a better syllabus in less time.
  • You can rearraange the display order of sections in your syllabus by dragging and dropping those sections on the page.
  • You can flag files in the Online Library so that the files display on the syllabus.
  • The syllabus is available in a printable format with one click.
  • If you print the syllabus, and you use either the schedule in an online course or the sessions tool in CoursePlus, the schedule/session information is printed inline with the rest of the syllabus content.
  • Classroom information is now pulled from centralize scheduling and included in the syllabus.
A common question that has been asked about the new syllabus tool is: what do I need to do when the new syllabus tool launches? The answer: not a whole lot. Everything that was in the old "About the Course" page on your course's CoursePlus site will be copied into the new syllabus. However, you'll probably want to reorder the display of content on the page, and you'll probably want to consolidate some sections of content. For example, on the old syllabus in CoursePlus, you could not edit the course description or learning objectives that came from the SPH course catalog database. As a result, many faculty added "Additional faculty notes" about the the course description or learning objectives. In the new syllabus tool, these "Additional faculty notes" will appear as a seprarte section of content. You will most likely want to merge what you once had in the "Additional faculty notes" into the main course description or learning objectives sections. You can keep those "Additional faculty notes" sections if you want, but it may be better in most cases to merge them.

If you have questions about the new syllabus tool in CoursePlus, the CTLT Help team is happy to help!