Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Ability to Link to Syllabus in Modules

Ability to Link to Syllabus in Modules

Canvas provides a great feature to create a syllabus in a course. We generally encourage our instructors to create their content in the RCE (HTML) so that it is more accessible and usable than a PDF file or other document that have historically been used. 

Today I helped an instructor make that conversion. He had previously add a link to his syllabus PDF file from the modules and I was surprised that I was unable to add a direct link to the Syllabus page.  

A couple of posts from the community where others have inquired about the same thing: 

  1. Syllabus linking? suggests the workaround of linking to a file or adding it to a page and linking to it there. 
  2. Why does Canvas not allow you to add the built-in syllabus to a module?‌ offers some good theories on why it doesn't currently work and the workaround of adding it to a page. 

Going from the insightful comment from James that the current behavior is because the syllabus is in the same category of course navigation items (links to list of assignments, list of quizzes, list of files, list of pages, or list of discussions). It makes sense to me that the those menu items that link to lists of content cannot be added, but I would argue that the Syllabus page is a different type of content more similar to an individual page or assignment that can be added to modules. 

Although the Syllabus can be added to a prominent location in the course navigation (which is great), it would be fantastic if it could also be added as a module item directly to help instructors get that essential content in front of students.  


Those Joneses keep on popping up a lot of places. We normally don't coordinate our answers, though, we come up with the same thing on our own.

Based off this statement

We generally encourage our instructors to create their content in the RCE (HTML) so that it is more accessible and usable than a PDF file or other document that have historically been used.

I would recommend creating a separate page to hold the syllabus content and then linking to it as Kona recommended.

Students do not go to the syllabus on a regular basis to read the syllabus. At least mine don't. Even when I have the syllabus on a separate page or pull out certain parts to highlight as separate pages, most still don't read it.

Students who go to the syllabus page at all go to the syllabus page for the other things on the page, like the list of all of the assignments. It's the place place in Canvas that is easy for them to see what is coming up so they can plan out their next few weeks. The calendar is crammed with all of their classes. The To Do list is a short-term list.

My syllabi are 19-24 pages long in printed form. I am not putting that on the Syllabus page and forcing students to load and get past that every time they load the page. They will stop loading the page and perhaps not even discover the useful stuff at the bottom. The "Jump to Today" helps, but is easy to miss.

I do have one line at the top before the list of assignments.

The course syllabus is available as a PDF document. This page lists the assignments with due dates in chronological order.

I link to the actual syllabus as a PDF. Since it's a file, they can preview it right there. Now I've taken that PDF and made it accessible by creating tagged content, properly marking up the content with styles, running it through the accessibility checker, etc. A long time ago, when my syllabi were only 3 pages, I used to recreate it all as HTML and duplicate changes in multiple locations.

How the syllabus page is used varies by instructor. For me, it is exactly like a list of things and very much like pages, files, discussions, quizzes, or other navigation items.. It is an index page containing all of the graded assignments that is dynamically generated. My problem is that I do not call that my "Syllabus." My syllabus does not contain a list of every assignment that we're going to have with their due dates. I have lots of low stakes assignments, sometimes multiple ones per book section, so I typically have well over 100 assignments in a course. However, I am forced to use Canvas' terminology. Much like some people would like to rename "Quizzes" as "Homework" or "Exams," I would not call that list Syllabus (not sure what I would call it, but not Syllabus.) However, when students hear "Syllabus" they are thinking of the document that explains everything going on in the class and how the class will be run. To not have that there when students click Syllabus would be confusing. Hence the separation into two documents.

Learner II

Thanks James - as always, I appreciate your thoughtful replies. We are in the same boat where students don't frequently visit the syllabus. It is great to hear all of the work you have done to make sure your PDF syllabus is accessible - for those who have those skills that is a great option. We generally find that it is easier for many of our instructions to create accessible content using the RCE versus going through the process of making a PDF accessible. It is a nice bonus that content in Canvas HTML is also mobile friendly! 

In addition,‌ has built out some great tools that allow students to quickly jump to the relevant section of the syllabus they are interested in and some content that automatically updates the syllabus with the latest version of the University policies. 


We also insert most of the official syllabus as a file on the syllabus page, however requiring students to visit the syllabus page during a start here module disrupts progress that otherwise proceeds logically with a next/previous button.  It would be nice to be able to make visiting the syllabus tab a required step in the start here module, without entirely replacing it by a page that does not appear in the navigation pane. 

The syllabus tab is also a useful spot to insert instructor and textbook info in the only place students who skip instructions about where to start will look.  Again, students who do not click to open the syllabus file before sending an urgent email about not knowing what textbook they need, will see the information on the first page they look for it on.

The frequency with which students return to the syllabus tab, is not as important as making it useful to them (and making sure that they see it) at the beginning of the course.