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Creating a Syllabus and Rubrics


Every successful course begins with a clear syllabus, which contains the course description, objectives, requirements, deadlines and assessment methods. Having a clear syllabus is even more essential in an online or web-assisted course when students may be unclear about expectations. We encourage faculty to move beyond a basic outline of weekly assignments to create a comprehensive document, which will inform and guide students throughout the entire semester. The course syllabus works as a contract between you and the student; therefore it should provide more than just due dates. The student should gain a clear understanding of the course by reading the syllabus during the first week and should be encouraged to review this document frequently throughout the semester. It is customary for faculty to place the syllabus under the Course Information section of their Blackboard course shell, and students may find it helpful to have the syllabus components broken into separate folders.

Please note that this sample syllabus template for face-to-face courses (DOCX) and sample syllabus template for online courses (DOCX) and the policies listed within are only intended as recommended guidelines in helping you to develop your own syllabus. You are encouraged to edit and customize the document to your own needs and preferences.


A tool commonly used to grade, but also to provide feedback, is known as a Rubric. A rubric is a scoring scale consisting of a set of criteria that describe what expectations are being assessed and/or evaluated. They also include descriptions of levels of quality used to evaluate student’s work or to guide them to desired performance levels. Rubrics can be attached to assignments that specifically detail what is asked of them and the corresponding grades, large papers, or projects. Establishing grading standards for the Discussion Board can best be done through a rubric. Rubrics come in many shapes and sizes, and all dependent on your needs and expectations.

Blackboard has a built-in tool for creating custom rubrics. Below is a video tutorial that guides you through the process.