Learning with Technology

for Teaching

Syllabus Makeover Challenge

Workshop Registration

Register for Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.


Create a syllabus and syllabus activity.


  1. Create a standard syllabus.
  2. Access KSCM to get information from your approved course outline.
  3. Use your approved course outline contents and add your additional information to create an accessible syllabus which incorporate UDL principles.
  4. Create a syllabus activity for your class.
  5. Add your syllabus to Laulima to make it accessible to students.
  6. Optional: Create a visual syllabus.
  7. Optional: Create a self-introduction video.

You can earn the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge of achievement if you successfully complete the workshop’s objectives and implement your visual syllabus in your class. Details here.


Creating a course syllabus and making it available to students is an essential responsibility as an instructor. Often the syllabus gives students a first impression about what to expect from the course.

A syllabus outlines a course’s organization, goals, requirements, policies, expectations, etc. (but is not intended to be used to outline details of the entire course). How can we add value to our syllabi and create value for students to use syllabi? One way is to create an interactive syllabus activity paired with a visual syllabus to help your students learn about the course requirements in a more meaningful way and get them excited about what they will be learning.

Your challenge is to first create or “makeover” your standard syllabus into an accessible one that incorporate UDL principles. Second, create a syllabus activity. Third (and optionally), further “makeover” your syllabus into a visual syllabus.

Why a syllabus?

Let’s discuss UDL principles as it relates to the syllabus.

  1. Emphasis on the “why” – Syllabus should have at least one statement on why the content is important to the student. Why should the student care about learning this?
  2. Engagement – provide opportunities for choice in the course when possible
  3. Representation – provide clear information how students can access the course materials, provide variety in the ways materials are provided
  4. Action and Expression – Use the syllabus to communicate regular routines to establish expectations, outline the timing and format of assessments. Provide assignments and assessments that provide choices for physical actions, expression and communication, and executive functions.

Create a “standard” syllabus

Access KSCM and create a “standard” syllabus

If you don’t already have a “standard” syllabus document, you can make a copy of this template doc that abides by the Policy L5.201: Policy on Curriculum Review and Revision (revised) approved by the Leeward CC Faculty Senate:

Course syllabi can reflect the individuality, style, and creativity of the instructor. However, each semester all disciplines will compare the core outlines for all active courses with the syllabi of all faculty members to ensure that all syllabi include standardized items. The standardized items are:

  • Course alpha and number designation, title, credits, prerequisites, most recent catalog
    course description, and student learning outcomes (as reflected in KSCM).
  • Assessment notification.
  • Instructor information: name, office location, office hours, phone number, and e-mail
  • Course information: course record number (CRN), classroom location, course meeting
    days and times, and a list of required textbooks and supplies.
  • Grading policy.
  • Academic Dishonesty policy, as shown in current catalog.

make copy of standard syllabus template (google doc)
Kuali Student Curriculum Management (KSCM) is the UH system’s new online system for curriculum management and review of course and program proposals for new and modified courses and programs. (Formerly, Curriculum Central.) Faculty submit proposals for new courses, modification of existing courses, and requests for program modification to be reviewed by the campus’ Curriculum Committee and administrators. You can use it to access your approved course information for your syllabus.

  1. Login at: https://leeward.kuali.co/cm/
  2. Use the search box to find your course.
  3. Click on your desired course to view its information.
  4. Click and drag to highlight the desired text you’d like to copy and then press Ctrl C (or Cmd C) to copy the desired text.
  5. If you’re using the Google Chrome browser, paste your copied text into your copy of the standard syllabus template by right-clicking “Paste as plain text” to strip out the formatting. If you’re not using Chrome, paste your copied text by pressing Ctrl V (or Cmd V). Then, select the text you pasted and click the “Clear Formatting” button clear-formatting in the toolbar. (It may also be hidden under the “More” button in the toolbar.) Or click on the “Format” menu and click on “Clear formatting”.

Now that you have the approved course syllabus information from KSCM in a Google Doc, add other sections and information, as needed, that fit within the parameters of the approved course syllabus. Also, consider including these other recommended statements of helpful resources/services for students to include in your syllabus.

Don’t forget to utilize headings to create sections and alt-text for images to make it accessible.

Why a “visual syllabus”?

A visual syllabus is not only more visually appealing, but it can be designed to also help students make better meaning from it (when there’s more than just text), draw connections with course concepts, be used as a resource throughout the semester, and get them excited about what they will be learning. Furthermore, a syllabus activity with your students can further engage them with the syllabus contents and help them to find value in the syllabus.

Pair-share activity

Brainstorm some possible ideas for a syllabus activity you’d like to try. Or if you have a good activity you do already, could it be further enhanced?

How could you create a visual syllabus to aid in your syllabus activity? How could you create a visual syllabus that can be more purposeful for your students? How could you create a visual syllabus that students could use throughout the semester? Any particular features you’d need to include?

Share your ideas with your group for feedback and decide on a syllabus activity. Keep this in mind as you create/design your syllabus.

Create a “visual” syllabus

Now the fun part! To make your visual syllabus, we recommend using our visual syllabus template (Google Slides) where it’s easy to move around objects and the basic parts are already laid out for you. Include the ideas you had for your syllabus activity into the design of your visual syllabus.

Make a copy of visual syllabus template (button)

Alternatively, you may also want to visit the Syllabus Artifacts page to view instructors’ syllabi as examples for ideas.

Make your syllabus available to students

Laulima has a “Syllabus” tool to make your syllabus available to students throughout the semester. Consider also emailing it (or sending as a Laulima Announcement) to your students a week before the semester starts.

Laulima Syllabus Tool

Log into Laulima and click into your desired course site. To add the Syllabus tool:

  1. Click on the Site Info tool in the left menu.
  2. Click on the Manage Tools tab.
  3. In the list of tools, checkmark “Syllabus.”
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Click Finish.
  6. Now you’ll see the Syllabus tool added to the left menu. Click on it to go into the Syllabus tool and click on the Add Item tab.

Standard Syllabus

  1. In your standard syllabus Google Doc, click the Share button.
  2. Click the Advanced link at the bottom right corner.
  3. Under “Who has access,” click Change…
  4. Select “Anyone who has the link can view” and click Save.
    Before you click the Done button, click Copy link to copy the share link of your doc.
  5. Using the copied link, hyperlink the text in the footer. (This way if students are reading your syllabus as an embedded document in Laulima or your website, they can click the link to open your document in full-screen in Google Docs to also download or print.)
  6. Using the share link, link it into the Laulima Syllabus tool using the “Add Item” option.
    1. Type a title such as, “Standard Syllabus.”
    2. In the content box, type something such as, “View/Download/Print the standard syllabus (Google Docs).”
      Highlight the text “(Google Docs)” and click the insert hyperlink button.
    3. Paste the share link of your doc you just copied in the URL box. Click the “Target” tab and choose to have the link open in a “New Window (_blank).”

Visual Syllabus

Repeat the steps above, similarly, but this time for your visual syllabus Google Slides file. You may choose to also include the PDF as an attachment (since you have an accessible version already available). To save your Google Slides as a PDF, go to the File menu > Download as… > PDF. In Laulima Syllabus, click to “Add attachments”.

Here’s a sample of what yours can look like in Laulima Syllabus:

Laulima Syllabus Example


Apply for the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge

Successful completion of this workshop for a badge of accomplishment includes accomplishing the workshop’s objectives, sharing your visual syllabus, and implementing a syllabus activity with your students. When you’re ready, apply for the “Visual Syllabus Creator” badge.



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Participant Badges

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See instructors’ artifacts, submit your own artifact to share, or apply for a badge of achievement.

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