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Post Your Syllabus in the HU Database

This page consists of five sections:

Syllabus Database FAQs

How to Add a Syllabus to the Database

How to Edit a Syllabus in the Database

How to Search the Syllabus Database

ID01 Syllabus Tutorial (optional, for workshop credit)

Syllabus Database FAQs


Q  1.  Why should I post my syllabus in the database?

At the start of each term, you can post all of your syllabi in the database instead of submitting hard copies to your chairperson.  Even if you post your syllabi on a departmental website, you should still post in the database because a website doesn’t allow faculty, students, and staff to search for syllabi using criteria such as instructional methods and competencies.  Moreover, only the HU Syllabus Database brings together syllabi across the whole university so that faculty, students, and staff can easily access syllabi outside their departments.  As explained below, posting your syllabus will help the entire HU community:

     During General Registration, students can review previous syllabi before selecting courses.  With such knowledge, they should be better prepared to handle their course load. Better preparation, in turn, could reduce the number of Add/Drops.  Better preparation could also reduce the number of withdrawals and failures.

     Because the database facilitates the exchange of teaching ideas, it can help faculty who are (1) planning to teach an existing course for the first time, (2) teaching multiple sections of the same course, (3) employing the same technologies or similar strategies, and (4) exploring new teaching methods.

      Chairs, program directors, and APT committees can see at a glance what their faculty are doing in the classroom without having to store and search through voluminous files of hard-copy syllabi.  Using the database’s search engine, they can quickly identify and quantify the use of certain topics, texts, or teaching methods throughout the department for administrative review and annual reports.  They can also reduce course content duplication within and across departments.

      Because the database is online, chairs will no longer have to discard old syllabi to make room for new ones in their filing cabinets. As a result, archivists and researchers should be able to trace the pedagogical evolution of academic departments and programs.

     The syllabus database can simplify the work of the University’s self-study committee as it seeks to assess teaching at Howard.  The Provost and other senior administrators should also find it easier to fulfill the requests of accrediting teams for documentation of teaching excellence.

Q  2.  Do I still have to give my students the syllabus?
You may ask students to access the course syllabus via the HU Syllabus Database instead of distributing copies in the classroom or posting files on the Web.  However, if you teach via Blackboard, we strongly recommend that you post your syllabus inside Blackboard as well so that students can easily refer to it off and on throughout the course.
Q  3.  Who can post a syllabus?

Only faculty who are currently assigned courses within Bison Web can post syllabi and only their OWN syllabi.  For security reasons, faculty members must log into Bison Web to post a syllabus.  If you are team-teaching, ask the course coordinator to post the syllabus.  Otherwise, if your teaching assignment does not appear in Bison Web, consult with your department chair.

Q  4.  Where can I post my syllabus?

You can post your syllabus while on or off campus, as long as you can log into Bison Web.

Q  5.  What do I need to know to post a syllabus?

You need to know your Bison Web ID and password so that you can log into Bison Web.  If you don’t know your Bison Web ID, ask your department chair.  (If you don’t have a Bison Web ID, your department chair can submit a Bison Web ID Request Form to Enrollment Management.)  On the other hand, if you have forgotten your password, contact ETS’s Help Desk at 202-806-2020 or helpdesk@howard.edu.  As for computer skills, you do NOT need special training to post in the database.  The procedure is user-friendly:  Bison Web will automatically fill in most of the fields in the syllabus entry form; you merely have to upload your syllabus and—if you wish—check boxes or type in optional fields.

Q  6.  How can I post my syllabus?

It’s easy!  Just follow the instructions posted under “How to Add a Syllabus to the Database” at http://www.cetla.howard.edu/announcements/tutorials/syllabus/post_ur_syllabus.html#instructions.

Q  7.  What will the syllabus look like when it has been posted?

Since you are uploading a PDF file, the syllabus will retain its original formatting (e.g., boldface, italics, exponents, or hyperlinks)—and even graphics.  It should look exactly like the PDF you uploaded.

Q  8.  When should I post my syllabus?

We urge you to post before or soon after classes begin.  One reason we integrated the database into Bison Web was to make posting convenient:  You will see COURSE SYLLABUS ADD/EDIT in Bison Web when you log in to view your class rosters for the new semester. 

Q  9.  What if my syllabus is already posted in Blackboard or on the Web?
If you have posted your syllabus in Blackboard, it is still important to post in the HU Syllabus Database because only your class can easily access your syllabus inside Blackboard.   Moreover, whether you are using Blackboard or not, only the HU Syllabus Database brings together syllabi across the whole university and allows faculty, students, and staff to search for syllabi according to specific criteria.
Q  10.  Can I edit my syllabus?

Yes, but you must edit the text in your word-processing program and then replace the file that you posted in the database.  Please note that you can replace files only during the current semester.  Also, remember that a syllabus is a contract between you and your students, so you should not change course requirements, grading policies, and other major components of a syllabus after the ADD/DROP deadline.

Q  11.  Can I post syllabi for previous semesters?

No.  Bison Web will not permit access to previous terms.

Q  12. What should I do if I have trouble posting?

Contact CETLA (cetla@howard.edu or 202-806-0870) or, for hands-on assistance, drop by during the Open Lab hours posted on our calendar (see OUR CALENDARS on our homepage, http://www.cetla.howard.edu ).  Do not waste time struggling on your own; please contact us at the first sign of trouble.

Q  13.  How can I search the database?

It’s easy!  If you are a faculty or staff member, follow the instructions posted at http://www.cetla.howard.edu/announcements/tutorials/syllabus/post_ur_syllabus.html#search1.  However, if you are a student, you may access the database via Bison Web when you are getting ready to register for classes.

Q  14.  What should I do if I have trouble searching?

Contact CETLA (cetla@howard.edu or 202-806-0870) or, for hands-on assistance, drop by during the Open Lab hours posted on our calendar (see OUR CALENDARS on our homepage, http://www.cetla.howard.edu ).  Do not waste time struggling on your own; please contact us at the first sign of trouble.

Q  15.  Who can access my syllabus?

Only Howard University faculty, staff, and students can log into the database. 

Q  16.  Could someone print, copy, download, or edit my syllabus?

To protect your intellectual property, the database requires a Howard University login and, since 2014, PDF files only.  Although HU users can print and download the PDF files, they cannot modify the PDFs without special software.  However, whether your syllabus is paper or digital, inside Blackboard or inside the database, it is virtually impossible to stop a highly skilled thief from stealing or disseminating your intellectual property.  Our best protection is cultivating a culture of academic integrity within the Howard community.


How to Add a Syllabus to the  Database

NEW! You can now upload your syllabus as a PDF file instead of copying and pasting it. Not only is this process easier, but it will preserve the original formatting. Click here to download the new instructions.


How to Edit a Syllabus in the  Database

Note: Bison Web will not allow you to edit syllabi from previous semesters. Click here to download the instructions.


How to Search the Syllabus Database

Note: The system uses pop-ups to display the results of your search, so you may have to disable your pop-up blockers to view the results. Click here to download the new instructions.

ID01 Syllabus Tutorial

Below are resources that can help you design a syllabus that conforms to Howard University guidelines (Office of the Provost, 1997) and promotes effective teaching, learning, and assessment.  If you successfully complete the following sequence, you can also earn professional development credit.

1. View a Sample Syllabus and Award-Winning Syllabi across the Disciplines. Also, search the Syllabus Database.

2. Check Your Current Syllabus or Build a New Syllabus (Note: For help writing learning objectives, see the ID02 tutorial.)

3. How to Access the Syllabus Database

4. Email CETLA to Request Credit


Additional Resources:

Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross.  “Teaching Goals Inventory.”  <http://www.uiowa.edu/~centeach/tgi/background.html>.  An interactive module that will help you identify your course goals.

Howard University Assessment.  2003 March.  2 August 2004 <http://www2.howard.edu/assessment>.  A template that helps you specify your goals, objectives, and performance criteria to prepare you for assessing an academic unit or course.

Howard University Special Student Services.  2002.  8 August 2004  <http://www2.howard.edu/administration/studentspecialservices/disabledstudents.htm>.  A site that lists ways that you can accommodate students who have disabilities (see "Accommodations").

 “Syllabus.”  Online College Teaching.  San Francisco State University  2004.  2 August 2004 <http://oct.sfusu.edu/design/syllabus/index.html>.  A comprehensive module on constructing syllabi.

World Lecture Hall. 2 August 2004 <http://www.utexas.edu/world/lecture/>.  An easy-to-search database of syllabi from around the world.







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