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. You can access your Blackboard course by logging in to myBucknell (opens in new window) and by clicking on the relevant course listing in the My Blackboard "gadget" on that page or by logging in directly to Blackboard (opens in new window).

  2. If you are on the main My Blackboard page in Blackboard, you can access your course by finding it in the Custom My Courses module in the middle column on that page and then clicking on the link for the course:

    Custom My Courses Module

  3. Although Blackboard 9.1 still has an area called the Control Panel, you'll actually use that less often than with previous versions of Blackboard. Instead, you first need to toggle the Edit Mode switch at the top-right corner of the page to the On position (if it's not "On" already), to allow you to edit your course:

    Turn Edit Mode On

  4. As part of our default course template, Blackboard's left navigation menu has "Announcements" as the first button, "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.

    Click on the Course Information button in the left-hand navigation menu, to take you to that part of your course.

  5. To upload your syllabus into this section of the course, put your mouse over the double down-arrow next to Build Content, and click on the (Create) Item link:

    Add Item

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

    Course Syllabus

  7. You don't really need to add a text description, so scroll down to the Attachments section of the page. We'll assume that you haven't added the syllabus to the Course Files area, so click on the Browse My Computer Button button to locate your syllabus on your hard drive.

    Navigate to where your syllabus file is saved, and double-click on the file name when you find it.

  8. Blackboard will add the name of the file to the "Attached files" area, and it will use the same name for the "Link Title" (what Blackboard used to call the "Name of Link to File"). If you are satisfied with having the file name be what the students click on to view the file, scroll down to the Options section just below this one. Otherwise, you can double-click within the Link Title box to select the content, then type a new name for the link that students will see on the page.

  9. In the Options area, we recommend that you retain the default setting of "Yes" to permit users to view the content and that you click in the "Yes" radion button 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 typing in the appropriate dates and times in the format suggested just below those boxes. 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 allowing users to view the item, tracking the number of times students click on the item, but not restricting the item's availability to students:

    Content Display Options

  10. Click the Submit Button button to send your changes to the server.

  11. In a green bar just above the Course Information title, Blackboard will confirm that the item has been successfully created, and you should see your syllabus as the first item in that Course Information section, file name (or the information you typed in the ":Link Title" box) now underlined, indicating a link to the file.

Last revised July 16, 2010.  Please send questions or comments to