skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

Online Help

Online Course Syllabus Statements and Resources

This page lists helpful syllabus statements and guidance for use as you develop your online course. These examples are for your consideration and may be edited to suit your needs.

Online Course Resource Document (Word | PDF)
Instructors must include the Online Course Resource Document or all information included within the document in their online course.

Accessible Syllabus Template

A syllabus template in an editible word document which has already been made accessible.

Accessible Syllabus Template
Opens in a new window


Online Course Ground Rules

  1. Participation is required
  2. Expected to communicate with other students in team projects
  3. Learn how to navigate in Desire2Learn
  4. Keep abreast of course announcements
  5. Use the assigned university email address as opposed to a personal email address
  6. Address technical problems immediately
  7. Observe course netiquette at all times. Instructor guidelines for communication by email, discussion groups, chat, and the use of web resources. Some examples of this include: 
    1. Email
      1. Always include a subject line.
      2. Remember that without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
      3. Use standard fonts.
      4. Do not send large attachments without permission.
      5. Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
      6. Respect the privacy of other class members.
    2. Discussion groups
      1. Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion.
      2. Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
      3. Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas
      4. Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
      5. Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
      6. Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
      7. Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Accommodations Statement

You can add the statement somewhere in the syllabus or link directly to the Disability Services page at:

It is the policy of ETSU to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal law, state law and the University's commitment to equal educational access. Any student with a disability who needs accommodations, for example arrangement for examinations or seating placement, should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. Faculty accommodation forms are provided to students through Disability Services in the D.P.Culp center, telephone 439-8346.

University Syllabus Attachment

You can add the link somewhere in the syllabus or link directly from D2L's content to the Registrar's page at:

Technical Resources

Technical information, requirements and help can be found here:

File Formats

Free Microsoft Office Compatible Readers/Programs

Some instructors may post Microsoft Word or PowerPoint documents. Students have free access to full versions of Microsoft Office, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Microsoft Office 365
Information and downloads for full versions of Microsoft Office


A note on Content File Formats

Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)

There are some big disadvantages to loading a Microsoft Word or Powerpoint file directly into D2L. First and foremost, it requires each student to have specialized software to view the file. While this software is available to students for free, students must download the file to their computer in order to view it, which takes more clicks (and thus more time) and hard drive space. With pop-up blockers, virus protection and browser security, there are often obstacles to retrieve these files.


Most Microsoft files can be saved in other formats which are easier to open and typically do not require extra software. Web native HTML formats (such as what D2L uses when you create a new file) can open in any browser or from any device. They can also be searched and bookmarked directly from D2L's content page.  It may be simpler for an instructor to upload Word or PowerPoint files to D2L but it is more difficult for students to access the files and the course content.


PDF files are also common and largely universal. They typically open in the browser itself with a free addon. PDF files are easy to create from Microsoft documents (simply go to File > Save As and choose PDF) and preserve formatting, links, images, etc.  Students will not have the ability to search for key words in PDF files but they do provide more accessibility in an online course.

Cloud Documents

Microsoft OneDrive, Google Docs and other cloud document services are becoming more popular, and there are some positive and negative aspects to look at. The final output of these cloud documents are a form of HTML so no external software or plugins are required to view these documents. However, the document exists outside of D2L so an external link would be necessary, and sometimes pop-up blockers or other security settings can block them. You as the author would also have to make sure your permissions are set correctly to allow students to see them. Because they are outside of D2L, students could share the links with others essentially making these documents public for anyone to see.

ETSU Student Services

Services available to online students can be found here:

Turnitin - Plagiarism Detection Service Statement

Faculty may enable Turnitin on dropbox assignments inside D2L. If enabled, students will submit their work to Turnitin, a plagiarism detection service, in order to help them learn to cite sources accurately and to ensure academic integrity. Students who might object to using Turnitin should consult the instructor as early as possible and definitely within the first two weeks of the course to determine suitable alternatives. The instructor will select the alternative method. Examples of alternative methods include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. For writing assignments not requiring the use of references and for take-home essay tests completing a comparable assignment or test with a proctor.
  2. For writing assignments requiring the use of references requiring the student to assemble a copy of all sources and meet with the instructor to review their use and documentation in the paper.
  3. For writing assignments requiring the use of references having a third party selected by the faculty member check the use and citation of references in the paper.
  4. For any type of written assignments, use Turnitin but set the preferences for the student's assignment to search against only the free Internet and ProQuest. The student's paper will not be added to the database.



icon for left menu icon for right menu