Adding a Syllabus to Your Course

The initial impetus for course management systems like Blackboard was to help faculty "put their courses online" without knowing any HTML. Blackboard has expanded its funtionality over time, but its most common use is still as a document repository: in other words, a central place to upload course-related documents so that your students have access to those documents wherever and whenever they have Internet access. If you upload your syllabus into your Blackboard course, for example, your students can no longer use the excuse "I lost my copy of the syllabus" to explain why they didn't do the reading. Even if they truly did lose the printout of your syllabus, they can always access the online version that you posted into your Blackboard course. This help sheet will show you how to upload your syllabus (or, for that matter, any comparable document) into your Blackboard course. We're assuming that you've created your syllabus using a word processing program (for example, Microsoft Word), and that you're ready to add it to your Blackboard course:

  1. Log in to Blackboard (opens in new window), and click on your course among the list of "Courses you are teaching" in the My Courses section of the opening page. Within that course, go to the Control Panel by clicking on the Control Panel icon near the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. As part of our default course template, Blackboard's left navigation menu has "Announcements" as the first button, and "Course Information" as the second button, and "Course Materials" as the fourth button. Although the distinction between "Course Information" and "Course Materials" is sometimes a bit hard to explain, Blackboard assumes that the Course Information section will contain general information about your course, including (in particular) your syllabus. The Course Materials section will contain the various documents that you hand out after the first week of classes. If your syllabus is the only document you'll upload into the Course Information section, you can actually change the name of that area (to something like "Syllabus") by following these directions (directions open in new window). For this help sheet, we'll assume that you haven't changed the name of that Course Information section and that you'll be uploading your syllabus there.

    Within the "Content Areas" section of the Control Panel for your course (in the top-left quadrant of the screen), click on the Course Information link, which should be the top link in that section:

    Course Information

  3. To upload your syllabus into this section of the course, click on the Item button:

    Add Item

  4. In the Name window, type in Course Syllabus (or whatever you want to call the document):

    Course Syllabus

  5. You don't really need to add a text description, so scroll down to the Content section of the page. Click on the Browse button to find your syllabus on your hard drive:

    Browse for Syllabus

    Navigate to your syllabus file on your hard drive, and double-click on the file name when you find it.

  6. Blackboard will enter the path to the local file in that Attach local file window. You now need to type a name for the link to the file (in other words, what the students will see on the page, as a hyperlink) in the Name of Link to File box. We recommend that you indicate in parentheses the type of file: for example, "(Word Document)," so your students will know what kind of software they'll need to access the file. You'll want the Special Action to remain "Create a link to this file", so you won't need to change that:

    Name of Link to File

  7. In the Options area, we recommend that you select the "Yes" button to make the content available and to track the number of views (in other words, to gather statistics about how often students view your syllabus through Blackboard). If you want to limit the time frame when students can see the item, you can choose date restrictions by clicking in the "Display After" and/or "Display Until" boxes and selecting the appropriate dates and times from the pull-down menus. For the syllabus, though, it doesn't make sense to set such limits, unless (for example) you are uploading the syllabus into your course well in advance of the semester, but you don't want any students to see the syllabus until after a certain date. In the figure below, we choose the suggested settings of making the item available, tracking the number of times students view the item, but not restricting the item's availability to students:

    Content Display Options

  8. Click the Submit Button Button to send your changes to the server.

  9. Blackboard will confirm that the item has been successfully added to your course. Click the OK Button button to return to the Course Information page.

  10. You should see your syllabus as part of that Course Information section, with the information you typed in the "Name of Link to File" section now underlined, indicating a link to the file. Based on the selections you chose when you added the item, you have the option to modify, track who has viewed the item (using the "Manage" button and the "Statistics Tracking" link), copy, and remove the item as well. Those options are also available to you from the Control Panel, when you return to the Course Information area of your course (or to the area where you added the syllabus). Click on the OK button to return to the Control Panel for your course:

    Course Syllabus Added

Last revised November 8, 2006.  Please send questions or comments to