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Update your Syllabus for online

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Many departments have policy guidelines on what is  (and is not) included on a syllabus. The below includes ideas of what you can add to your course syllabus, while you are teaching online/remotely; this is not a comprehensive syllabus building guide and you should continue to include your previous elements (e.g. mental health supports, a land acknowledgment, etc.)

Suggested Sections

In addition to your "regular" sections, you might consider adding the following sections (especially for an online course):

  1. Required Technology
  2. Video Privacy considerations
  3. Inclusivity Statement
  4. Statement on Accommodations
  5. Statement on Mental Health
  6. Land acknowledgment
  7. Synchronous Session Attendance and Participation Level

1. Required technology

1.1. Plagiarism Detection Tool Syllabus Text

Instructors must include the following passage (as is) on the course outline at the start of the class. Please note that the statement cannot be altered in any way. For full details regarding use of a plagiarism detection tool in your course, please review CTSI's support guide on U of T's plagiarism detection tool.

“Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to the University’s plagiarism detection tool for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the tool’s reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University’s use of this tool are described on the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation web site (”

2. Video privacy considerations

  • Include how you will protect student privacy when recording sessions (see Privacy Considerations); be clear as to how they will be addressed in your course.
  • Students must be given notice that lectures or a lecture will be recorded, preferably well before the recorded class.  Ideally, this notification would also be offered if the recording is being made by a student for their own personal use.
  • Sample texts includes statements covering: Instructor permits audio recordings with no distribution rights, instructor forbids audio recordings, and instructor plans to videotape lectures for sharing.

2.1. Remote/Online Courses – Instructor Recording

See Sample statements for course outlines for the most up to date text for:

  • Example 1: Notice of video recording and sharing (Download and re-use prohibited)

  • Example 2: Notice of video recording and sharing (Download permissible; re-use prohibited)

2.2. In Class Student Recording of Course Content

See Sample statements for course outlines for the most up to date text for:

  • Example 1: Instructor Permits Audio Recordings (No Distribution Rights)
  • Example 2: Instructor Forbids Audio Recordings

3. Inclusivity Statement

  1. Include an Equity and Diversity statement that reflects current academic policies:

You belong here. The University of Toronto commits to all students, faculty and staff that you can learn, work and create in a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment. In this class, we embrace the broadest range of people and encourage their diverse perspectives. This team environment is how we will innovate and improve our collective academic success. You can read the evidence for this approach here.

We expect each of us to take responsibility for the impact that our language, actions and interactions have on others. Engineering denounces discrimination, harassment and unwelcoming behaviour in all its forms. You have rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code. If you experience or witness any form of harassment or discrimination, including but not limited to, acts of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and ageism, please tell someone so we can intervene. Engineering takes these reports extremely seriously. You can talk to anyone you feel comfortable approaching, including your professor or TA, an academic advisor, our Assistant Dean, Diversity, Inclusion and Professionalism, the Engineering Equity Diversity & Inclusion Action Group, any staff member or a U of T Equity Office. 

You are not alone. Here you can find a list of clubs and groups that support people who identify in many diverse ways. Working together, we can all achieve our full potential.

(See Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Creating an inclusive online environment for more guidance)

2. You might also include this graphic (either on your syllabus or elsewhere in your course):

4. Statement on Accommodations

Suggested statement on Accommodations:

The University of Toronto supports accommodations for students with diverse learning needs, which may be associated with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, autism spectrum, ADHD, mobility impairments, functional/fine motor impairments, concussion or head injury, blindness and low vision, chronic health conditions, addictions, deafness and hearing loss, communication disorders and/or temporary disabilities, such as fractures and severe sprains, or recovery from an operation.

If you have a learning need requiring an accommodation the University of Toronto recommends that students register as soon as possible with Accessibility Services.

Phone: 416-978-8060
Email: [email protected]

5. Statement on Mental Health

Suggested statement on mental health (you might also choose to include some of these resources in your email signature):

As a university student, you may experience a range of health and/or mental health challenges that could result in significant barriers to achieving your personal and academic goals. Please note, the University of Toronto and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering offer a wide range of free and confidential services that could assist you during these times. 

As a U of T Engineering student, you have an Academic Advisor (undergraduate students) or a Graduate Administrator (graduate students) who can support you by advising on personal matters that impact your academics. Other resources that you may find helpful are listed on the U of T Engineering Mental Health & Wellness webpage, and a small selection are also included here: 

If you find yourself feeling distressed and in need of more immediate support resources, consider reaching out to the counsellors at My Student Support Program (MySSP) or visiting the Feeling Distressed webpage.

6. Land acknowledgment

Acknowledging the land is an Indigenous protocol used to express gratitude to those who reside here, and to honour the Indigenous people who have lived and worked on this land historically and presently (see the Indigenous U of T website for more information).

6.1. The land acknowledgment statement reads:

I (we) wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

7. Synchronous Session Attendance and Participation level

Be clear about the expected participation level in the course - will there be required synchronous activities? If so, students should know about these in advance to ensure that they can participate (see choosing course modalities). It can be helpful to publish a list of the live activities in the class, with a link to the session, or to publish these events on the Quercus course calendar (see how do I use the Calendar as an instructor?).

Looking for more information on creating your syllabus? Visit CTSI's Syllabus Design & Course Information to learn more about elements to include and to see examples; including text to consider adding regarding accessibility support.

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