Expanded Course Description

The Expanded Course Description template was created for FAS Canvas courses and was first implemented in fall 2020. This template was designed in partnership with the FAS Steering Committee and the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning.

The Expanded Course Description is built into the Syllabus tool in Canvas and is part of the course creation process.

Why is the Expanded Course Description in the Canvas Syllabus?

The expanded course description was added to the Syllabus tool in Canvas to facilitate student access to consistent information necessary during registration. Unlike other parts of a Canvas course site, the Canvas Syllabus is linked to its course listing on Yale Course Search once a faculty member publishes (or makes available) their official course site in Canvas. Students who are registering for classes can click the corresponding “Syllabus” button on Yale Course Search for a course to view the completed Expanded Course Description.

Yale Course Search interface with the Syllabus button highlighted in red and a red arrow pointing towards it.

Registrar Information

Refer to the Registrar website for current information, deadlines, FAQs, and a growing library of registration system tutorials and instructional documentation.

Editable Copy

For an editable Microsoft Word version of the Expanded Course Description (updated for Spring 2024), please see the following document:

Expanded Course Description - SP24

Extended Course Description Support

Accidentally deleted / overwrote this template or would like to restore the original version to your course? Please reach out to the Poorvu Center!

Email the Poorvu Center
Expanded Course Description template in a Canvas course site.

Expanded Course Description Elements

The FAS Expanded Course Description is comprised of multiple elements. Instructors can use these elements as a jumping off point for students to see details about the course prior to enrolling during the registration periods. To learn more about each syllabus section and what you may want to include in it, please review the toggle-sections below.

Breakdown of the Elements

Provide a brief overview (limit to 250 words) of the course and the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities you intend for students to learn or develop. You might also use this space to welcome your students or share your interest in the discipline.

Share the primary form of instruction (lecture, seminar or other small-group format, lab, studio, or tutorial), as well as any additional required participation (e.g. discussion sections, field trips, film screenings, etc.).

Specify the delineation of synchronous versus asynchronous course components, as applicable.

If admittance to your course is by preference selection, or if you intend to limit enrollment, provide students with instructions on how to apply or obtain instructor permission. Also include any relevant deadlines and how students will be notified of admission.

Students may find it helpful to refer to the University Registrar Office website.

Share course prerequisites or related requirements, if any.

Describe / identify the required readings, computer software, and course materials and their cost estimates (if applicable).

Consider providing advice on cost-effective means of obtaining course materials, such as through the Yale Library or other open-source materials.

Describe the principal formative and summative course assignments (e.g., homework exercises, problem sets, exams, papers).

Please indicate the end-of-term assessment, and include a provisional breakdown of how each assessment will factor into the overall grade.

Instructors are encouraged to share their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their teaching and facilitation of the classroom community.

Check out the Poorvu Center’s resources on writing Diversity Statements for a syllabus.

Instructors are encouraged to share how they provide equitable academic experiences for all students—including students with disabilities—through their course materials, technology selections, and teaching approaches.

Check out the Poorvu Center’s resources on writing Accessibility Statements for a syllabus.

Instructors are encouraged to share how they define academic integrity for their course—tailored to their course assignments and what constitutes appropriate collaboration outside of class.

Check out the Poorvu Center’s resources on writing Academic Integrity Statements for a syllabus.

Instructors are encouraged to include a brief welcome video to introduce students to their course.

Check out the Poorvu Center’s resources on creating your own Course Introduction video. A more detailed resource on creating Course Introduction videos can also be found on the Course Welcome Videos support article.

If available, provide a link to your full syllabus document here.

Instructors may find helpful guidance on writing a syllabus in the Poorvu Center Syllabus Writing Guide, including a Yale Syllabus template to act as a starting point, and in the Posting Your Syllabus in Canvas support article.

Use As Needed

If you have the Expanded Course Description in your Canvas course site Syllabus page and do not wish to use it, you can select all of the content and delete it. 

The template is meant to serve as a guide, and is not a fixed or permanent part of your course.

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