Canvas @ Yale

FAS Expanded Course Description

Updated on

The Expanded Course Description template was created for FAS courses (Yale College and GSAS courses in Canvas) and was first implemented in fall 2020. This template was designed in partnership with the FAS Steering Committee and the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning.

Refer to the Registration website for current information, deadlines, FAQs, and a growing library of registration system tutorials and instructional documentation.

How do I find the Expanded Course Description?

For  an editable word version of the Expanded Course Description updated for Spring 2024, please see the following word document.

The expanded course description is built into the Syllabus tool in Canvas and is part of the course creation process. Only FAS courses will have this template in their course. 

More information on the Canvas Syllabus tool can be found here.

Below is a screenshot of what the template will look like.

By default, the Canvas Syllabus tool is set to be the default Home page in your course. You can modify your course to set a different page / tool as your course home page if desired.

Restoring a copy of the original template

If you accidentally deleted / overwrote the FAS Syllabus template or would just like to restore the original version of the template in your course site's Syllabus tool, please reach out to [email protected] for assistance.

Why is the Expanded Course Description in my syllabus?

The expanded course description was added to the syllabus tool in Canvas to facilitate student access to consistent information necessary during  early registration. Unlike other parts of a course, the Canvas Syllabus is linked to its course listing on Yale Course Search once a faculty member publishes (or makes available) their official course site in Canvas.

Yale Course Search page with the Syllabus button highlighted under the Course Resources heading

Understanding the Expanded Course Description Sections

The FAS Expanded Course Description is comprised of multiple sections. Instructors can use these sections as a jumping off point for students to see details about the course prior to enrolling during the registration periods. To learn more about each syllabus section and what you may want to include in it, please review the toggle-sections below:

If you have the template in your course and do not wish to use it, you can select all of the content and delete it. The template is meant to serve as a guide, and is not a fixed or permanent part of your course.

Course Description

Provide a brief overview (limit to 250 words) of the course and the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities you intend for students to learn or develop. You might also use this space to welcome your students or share your interest in the discipline.

Course Format

Share the primary form of instruction (lecture, seminar or other small-group format, lab, studio, or tutorial), as well as any additional required participation (e.g. discussion sections, field trips, film screenings, etc.).

Specify the delineation of synchronous versus asynchronous course components, as applicable.

Enrollment Cap, Selection Process, & Notification (if applicable)

If admittance to your course is by preference selection, or if you intend to limit enrollment, provide students with instructions on how to apply or obtain instructor permission. Also include any relevant deadlines and how students will be notified of admission.

Students may find it helpful to refer to the registration website.


Share course prerequisites or related requirements, if any.

Required Course Materials

Describe / identify the required readings, computer software, and course materials and their cost estimates (if applicable).

Consider providing advice on cost-effective means of obtaining course materials, such as through the Yale Library or other open-source materials.

Assessments and Grading

Describe the principal formative and summative course assignments (e.g., homework exercises, problem sets, exams, papers).

Please indicate the end-of-term assessment, and include a provisional breakdown of how each assessment will factor into the overall grade.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Instructors are encouraged to share their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their teaching and facilitation of the classroom community.

Check out the Poorvu Center's resources on writing Diversity Statements for a syllabus.


Instructors are encouraged to share how they provide equitable academic experiences for all students—including students with disabilities—through their course materials, technology selections, and teaching approaches.

Check out the Poorvu Center's resources on writing Accessibility Statements for a syllabus.

Academic Integrity

Instructors are encouraged to share how they define academic integrity for their course—tailored to their course assignments and what constitutes appropriate collaboration outside of class.

Check out the Poorvu Center's resources on writing Academic Integrity Statements for a syllabus.

Course Introduction Video

Instructors are encouraged to include a brief welcome video to introduce students to their course. 

Check out the Poorvu Center's resources on creating your own Course Introduction video. A more detailed resource on creating Course Introduction videos can also be found here.


If available, provide a link to your full syllabus document here.

Instructors may find helpful guidance on writing a syllabus in the Poorvu Center Syllabus Writing Guide, including a Yale Syllabus template to act as a starting point, and in the Posting Your Syllabus in Canvas support article.

If you believe you should see the expanded course description in your official course site, and do not, please email [email protected].

Previous Article Course Welcome Videos
Next Article FAS Preregistration Applications
Email: [email protected] Email Us