Writing a Heritage Syllabus

The Big Picture

The mission of Heritage Baptist College is to provide an evangelical, faith-based, university-level education to equip students for life and service in the church, community, and the world.

Every certificate and degree we teach at Heritage seeks to fulfill that mission. Further, each certificate and degree we teach has its own mission: to prepare students for pastoral ministry, or youth ministry, or intercultural ministry, for example. Each course has been created to fit into that bigger picture.

So, the course you are teaching already has a course description, which gives a broad-strokes explanation of what that course is about. This ensures that the course will fit into the bigger picture as it should. What exactly is taught, how it is taught, and how it is evaluated is entirely up to you as the course’s professor. Those are the elements you will be creating in the syllabus.

The syllabus is a legal document between the professor and the students. Once it has been submitted and posted, it cannot be changed without the consent of the students in the class. Further, it is the professor’s obligation to follow the syllabus to the very best of his or her ability.

This document will help you to craft a helpful syllabus.

Elements of the Syllabus

This section will walk you through the syllabus elements and how best to complete them.

  1. Instructor: Fill in your name (and possibly how you wish to be addressed), and when and how you are available for consultation. We do not recommend giving students your private email or cell phone number. Please use a Heritage email, and if you wish for students to be able to text you, sign up for text notifications on myHeritage and tell them they can text you via myHeritage. This provides privacy protection for both you and the students.
  2. Course description: Copy the course description as it is found on myHeritage. Please do not alter it without first contacting the Dean. This ensures that the course will appropriately fit into the bigger picture of Heritage’s academics.
  3. Course objectives: The objectives will list the specific learning outcomes you wish students to achieve by the end of the course. To ensure a holistic education, objectives should cover cognitive aspects of the material (knowledge-based outcomes), affective aspects (character and attitude-based outcomes), and psychomotor aspects (skills-based outcomes). Objectives should be specific and directly measurable through the assessment measures. That is, if you indicate you want students to know something, you need to clarify how you will know that they know.
  4. Course texts: The books you choose as course texts are up to you. Remember that Heritage is providing a university-level education, so texts should be sufficiently advanced, but books written at the lay level are also appropriate. Texts should be readily available, and we do try to to keep textbook costs somewhat reasonable. One very expensive text is fine, but three for one course are probably not. A textbook does not need to cover the entirety of the material of the course, but should contribute in some way to fulfilling the objectives. Readings other than textbooks are permitted, but would not be listed under textbooks unless they are resources that students are expected to procure on their own.
  5. Writing Style and Syntax: This section is standard for all syllabi.
  6. Confidentiality and Records: This section is standard for all syllabi.
  7. Course Requirements: 
    • Requirements regarding attendance, course evaluations, and library resources are standard for all syllabi. Other course requirements can be changed. If you wish to allow or disallow cell phones, tablets, laptops, eating or drinking, etc, or you have other requirements not listed, you can add them to this section of the syllabus.
    • Readings: Specify here when you expect reading to be done by (before class begins or after class), and whether or not there will be additional reading beyond that of the listed class texts. If you have additional reading, indicate approximately how many pages of additional reading students can expect.
    • Assignment submissions: Indicate here what your policy is regarding how assignments are submitted, when they are due, and any extension policy you set.  Please note that assignments submitted late without any prior extension agreements must be penalised with at least 10% reduction in the final grade per 24-hour period, but can be penalised with a reduction of up to 100% in the final grade (essentially a grade of 0 for any late assignment). In addition, you are not expected to grant extensions except in extenuating circumstances, nor do we encourage a lax policy for extensions and late submissions. Please make and follow through with the policies you set here. Assignments can be submitted by hard copy, by emailing files to the professor, or by uploading them to myHeritage. Clarify in the syllabus which you would prefer.
    • Course assignments: Here, you will outline your assessment methods. For each assessment method, you will want to specify the kind of assignment/title, its due date, its percentage of the overall mark, and a description which will help students to see how this assignment is evaluating the objectives listed earlier. A few pointers below will help in creating course assignments:
      • First-year courses (100 course codes) should rely more heavily on quizzes, tests, and exams than on research and writing. Upper classes should rely more heavily on research and writing, and may not include exams at all, unless that is deemed the most effective way of measuring the objectives.
      • No single assignment should be worth more than 40% of the final grade.
      • Assignments should be spread somewhat evenly throughout the semester so that students are able to evaluate their progress by mid-term.
      • Assignments should be weighted according to the time taken to complete them.
      • The more clarity you can provide students regarding expectations of assignments, the better students will do and the fewer questions they will ask. At minimum, specify word count and a description of the topic.
  8. Anticipated workload: This allows students to see how they should be managing their time in the course, and ensures that the course is rigourous enough without being too rigourous for a university level. Add up all the numbers. To be a suitable workload for a university-level course, you should have approximately 80 hours of work in total for the semester.
    • In the chart, under the readings, list all the reading (including texts and articles) that students will be doing, including the number of pages in each. Count on one minute per page, and figure out how many hours each reading will take.
    • Under quizzes and exams, list all quizzes and exams students will be taking, and estimate how long it will take for students to prepare for each.
    • Under assignments, list all assignments the students will be writing and provide a number of hours each will take. For writing that does not require any research, figure on approximately 30 minutes per page. For writing that does require research, figure on approximately 1-1.5 hours per page, depending on the level of research required.
  9. Level of achievement: This is standard to all syllabi.
  10. Course schedule: Students rely heavily on this section of the syllabus to keep track of what they have to do and what to expect for the class. When a topic is listed in the syllabus and that is then not covered, they struggle to follow. Remember, the syllabus is a contract between professor and student. This schedule helps students to see the coherence of the course and to be assured that objectives are being covered appropriately.
    • In the Date column, list the dates for the semester. Include dates for special events on which you may not have class, such as stat holidays, Missions’ Conference or Reading Weeks. You will find these dates on myHeritage and in the email that the administrative assistant sent to you.
    • In the Topic column, list a brief description of what will be covered in the week’s lecture. If there is no class due to a special event, write, No Class. If you have a special speaker coming in, include that.
    • In the Reading column, list what reading is due for that class. Include book title and chapter, or the title of any articles.
    • In the Assignments column, list whatever assignments are due that week. If you have an assignment that is due each week (such as a summary of reading), then list it every week.

When You’re Done

Congratulations! You wrote a syllabus! Now what?

You received an email from the administrative assistant which contained a link to a Sharepoint folder. Upload your new or revised syllabus to that Sharepoint folder on or before the date syllabi are due.

From here, your syllabus will be checked to ensure that it is complete and correct.  When it is so, the updated copy will be uploaded to your course page on myHeritage. This version will become the official and binding copy of the syllabus. Your students will be able to download it and print it from there.

At the beginning of the first class, you should go over the syllabus with your class to ensure that they are familiar with it, and to give opportunity for any questions they may have.

MyHeritage Part 5: Setting Up Assignments and the Grade Book

Setting Up Assignments

NB: If you are teaching Section 1 and Section 23 courses, ensure your two sections are synched before you set up your grade book. Instructions for how to do so can be found by scrolling down here, under Settings.

It is through the Assignments tab that you will generate your grade book, and through the Gradebook tab that you will enter the grades. The grades entered here are automatically made available to the students, so they can easily follow their academic progress in your course. Further, students who are struggling academically will be flagged for faculty advisors to follow up, ensuring that students don’t slip between the cracks. 

Grade book setup begins in the Assignments tab. This is approximately what it looks like when you first open it:

First, you will need to add assignment groups, and then assignments into those groups.

Let’s say on your syllabus, you have the following assignments listed, which make up your final grade:

  • Reading and Participation: 15% of the grade. Each class, you do a reading check out of 10, for a total of 12 reading checks/participation grades.
  • Quizzes: 15% of the grade. Every other week, there is a quiz out of 10 marks, for a total of 6 quizzes.
  • A research essay: 25% of the grade.
  • A mid-term exam: 20% of the grade.
  • A final exam: 25% of the grade.

Assignment groups establish the overall weight of the type of assignment toward the final grade. So, each of the bullet points above will need its own assignment group (even if there is only one assignment in the group, like the essay, mid-term, and final term). Click on the “Add Assignment Group” button, and you will get a little pop-up, like this:

Type in the name of your assignment group (Reading, Quizzes, Essay, Mid-term, and Final, for example), indicate how much of the final grade it is worth, and, if you want to drop the lowest couple of grades of a large category (say the lowest result of the 12 grades for reading), add that, as well. Then click “save”. You will do the same for each of the groups you need.

Once you have all your assignment groups listed, with their weight, you need to add assignments into those groups. Click the “Add assignment” button, and you will get this pop-up box:

  1. Name the assignment. If there is only one assignment in the group (such as the research essay) the assignment can have the same name as the group. If there are multiple assignments within that group (such as 6 quizzes), each assignment needs a unique name (Quiz #1, for example).
  2. Select the assignment type. The major types are as follows.
    • A grade-only assignment means that students will submit an assignment to you outside of myHeritage (such as a paper copy of an essay or a paper quiz written in class), which you will grade and enter only the grade. If you are not confident using myHeritage and rely on paper submissions (which is perfectly ok!) this is the type of assignment you will want to use.
    • A file assignment means that students will submit the paper electronically on myHeritage.
    • An essay assignment means that the students will write the essay on myHeritage. This assignment type is best suited to short essays that do not require footnotes. You can create rubrics to use to grade the assignment on myHeritage.
    • A test assignment will generate an automatic online test which will then need to be populated with questions. If you use a lot of quizzes or you have multiple-choice type exams, myHeritage can do a lot of the grading for you if you use this type of assignment. If you would like further instruction in setting up and using the Tests feature of myHeritage, please see here.
  3. Set the points for which the assignment is worth. This is not the weight of the assignment, but what you will grade the assignment out of. Be aware that if you have multiple assignments within a group (like 6 quizzes worth a total of 15% of the overall mark), you need to set the points equal for each of those types, otherwise the assignment with the higher number of points will have more weight toward the final grade. Also be aware that if your assignment type is “test”, the points for which you set this assignment will be the number of points which you need to assign in the online quiz. For grade-only assignments, files, and essays, it is fine to set all points to 100 and then enter the grade as the percentage rather than whatever raw score you give.
  4. Select the group in which the assignment will be found. Remember, some groups may have only one assignment.
  5. Set the date when the assignment is due. This will automatically generate reminders to place in your and your students’ calendars.

All done! Hit “save” and repeat for every assignment students will complete. You will notice that the website automatically adjusts the relative value of each assignment, based on what groups you have set up, and how many assignments are in each of those groups.

Entering Grades in the Grade Book

If you click on the Grade Book tab, you will now find a spreadsheet with each assignment and each student in your class listed. It will look like this:

To enter grades, simply click the “Edit grades button”. The grade book will go live:

You can now enter the grades, and myHeritage will calculate the percentages and apply the grades toward the final grade for the course. If you have entered grade-only assignments with each out of 100, you will enter grades here as a percentage rather than as a raw score. If a student has failed to complete the assignment, enter a grade of 0. You must not leave spaces blank or the final grade will not be accurate. Click “Save Grades” when you are finished. Students can now view their grades.

If you have Section 1 and Section 23 students, use the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the page to select the next section, and repeat.

If, at the end of the semester, you wish to override a final grade, you are able to do so. For example, if a student has received a grade of 48%, but you wish to allow that student to pass, you can override the 48% and give the student 50% by clicking “Edit grades” and simply overwriting the final grade.

Further, at the end of the semester, when all your grades are in and attendance records are accurate, use the “Finalise course” button to submit your grades to the registrar’s office.

Next: Part 6: Using the Tests Feature

MyHeritage Part 4: Taking Attendance

Heritage requires all professors to take weekly attendance for their classes. In the past, this was done by filling out weekly attendance sheets and submitting them to the office. Now, attendance will be taken through myHeritage, enabling students to keep careful track of their own attendance, and making the information instantly available to all who require it. Heritage is required by law to keep accurate and up-to-date attendance records so that we can provide OSAP funding, so we appreciate your diligence in this matter.

Click on the “Attendance” tab. A calendar like this one will open up.

You will notice that your class times are all listed. When you click on the class for that day, you will get an attendance list for your class roster.

MyHeritage automatically sets attendance to “Present”. If your whole class was present, click “Save Attendance”, and you’re done. Otherwise, find those students who were not present and select “Absent”.  Be sure to take attendance for both Section 1 and 23 students by toggling the section drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the page.

If you have a student who is normally in class, but was present online instead (or vice versa) you can mark that student as present and make note of the online status in the notes box beside the student’s name. Please note that although there is a category for Tardy, Heritage does not collect that information. Students must be marked as either present or absent. If students are substantially late, or if they are present for only part of the class, you can make note of that in the “notes” section of the attendance page.

When you have saved attendance for that class, you will notice on the calendar that the class changes colour. You can see at a glance which classes you have taken attendance for.

Attendance records for each student are instantly updated, and students can quickly check their attendance records for each class. In addition, frequent or repeated absences will be quickly flagged and faculty advisors will be notified for early intervention.

Next: Part 5: Setting Up Assignments and Gradebook

MyHeritage Part 3: Academics

This page introduces you to the course page. If you are looking for information on taking attendance or setting up assignments and grade book, please visit those pages directly. Otherwise, keep reading.

For faculty members, the course page is the heart and soul of myHeritage. You are expected to use the academics section at least to maintain an online grade book for each of your classes, and to take weekly attendance for each of your classes, but the learning platform will also allow you to upload notes, create lessons, post discussions, communicate updates, and even administer automatically-graded tests.  This section will introduce the course page of myHeritage, and explain to you how to set up a grade book and take attendance. 

Courses are accessed on your home page (see Introducing the Home Page #9). The automatic view is for the current semester, but you can click on the drop-down menu under Courses to select an alternate semester.

  1. Set a profile picture for your course by clicking on the photo and choosing “Click to Edit”. You can upload a photo of one of your course textbooks or another suitable image.
  2. These two drop-down menus tell you which course you’re looking at. They are automatically set to the most recent iteration of the course and Section 1 (on-campus). If you are teaching an on-campus class, you will probably also have online students (Section 23). You can use this drop-down menu at any point to toggle between the two sections of the same class.
  3. The tabs across the top allow you to generate group emails or texts.
  4. The tabs down the left side of the screen bring you to the various sections of your course.


When you click the course link, you visit the course dashboard. It contains the Bulletin Board for this course, which is visible only to the faculty and students enrolled in this course. The Bulletin Board is an effective way to make class announcements or send out reminders to your students, or for your students to ask you questions or make comments. Bulletin board posts are visible only here on the course dashboard.

The Dashboard also lists any upcoming events and due dates (if you use the calendar).


This page is automatically generated and should be edited only in limited fashion.

  1. Course Info and Faculty includes course code, term, and credit hours. This is automatically generated and cannot be edited. Phone numbers beside the faculty name are not visible to students.
  2. The description is entered by the registrar’s office and cannot be edited. The course description on your syllabus must match the description listed here. This is the broad description of the course as it needs to be taught to help meet the program objectives and the mission of the school.
  3. Assignment Groups is automatically generated as you enter assignments in the Assignments tab.
  4. Syllabus. Your syllabus will be uploaded by the registrar’s office once it has been submitted, checked, and approved. Please DO NOT upload your own version of the syllabus unless it has been checked and approved. Syllabi cannot be changed after the beginning of the term.
  5. Links are added by the registrar’s office. You may add links to this section, but do not delete or change any that are already there.
  6. Reading List is automatically generated by the bookstore. Check that the books listed are correct, and if they are not, please report the error to the registrar’s office. Please do not make any changes to the books listed.
  7. Files are added by the registrar’s office. They include course change forms, proctor forms, and a copy of the Heritage Manual of Style. You may add files to this section, but do not change or delete anything already there.


The lessons section of myHeritage allows you to organise your assignments and the content of your class into weekly sections. Simply use the “Add a Lesson” button on the right to create a lesson. You can then name it and set availability and click save. From there, you can add headings and text, upload files such as class notes for that lesson, include links, create discussions, and include assignments and tests. (Note: you must create assignments and tests first under the Assignments tab.) Using the Lessons feature is a fantastic way to help students stay organised or, for on-campus and live-streaming students, to upload video lectures in case of snow days or other missed days.

Files, Discussions, and Calendar

Files is a centralised list of all the files that are uploaded to your course, including the syllabus, course change forms, and the Heritage Manual of Style. If you do not set up lessons and assign files to individual lessons, you can still upload class notes here, to allow your students access to the notes.

Discussions are a great way to get students to interact with each other and the material you are teaching. You will pose a question to which students respond. They can then also respond to each other. The Discussions tab is a centralised list of all the discussions that are generated in your course. If you do not set up lessons and assign discussions to specific lessons, you can still generate discussions here.

The Calendar will show at a glance when you have classes and what assignments are due on which days.


Most of the items under the settings tab are automatically generated and cannot be changed. However, if you are teaching on-campus (Section 1) and live-streamed (Section 23) students, before you set up a new course, you should scroll to the bottom of the settings page and click the “sync” setting to “yes” for both sections of your class. This will mean that any changes you make to one section (such as setting up assignments, lessons, and discussions, or adding files and links) will automatically be made to the second section. Sync will not affect the entering of attendance or grades or posts to the discussion board. Those areas will still operate independently.

Next: Part 4: Taking Attendance

MyHeritage Part 2: My Profile

Your profile can be accessed by clicking on the “My Profile” tab or by clicking on your profile picture in the upper right corner and selecting “Profile” from the drop-down menu.

  1. Your profile picture. Please take or upload a clear head photo of yourself. You can do this by clicking on the photo and selecting the “click to edit” button at the bottom of the box. Then choose “change” and drag and drop or select a photo of your choosing. If you need help doing this, please email a suitable photo to the registrar so that the photo can be uploaded for you.
  2. Tabs. Depending on your role at Heritage, you will see some of these tabs. Further explanation of some of the tabs will be given below.
  3. Contact information. You can use these links to email any myHeritage user.

Activity Feed

Your profile opens automatically to the Activity Feed, which is an automatically generated list of all notes, emails sent to you or sent by you via myHeritage, text messages sent to you or by you via myHeritage, letters, files, forms, and to-do items created by you or assigned to you via myHeritage. You can use the drop-down filters to find items in that list. The activity feed is helpful when trying to find correspondence with a student, for example, but otherwise won’t be something you use frequently.

Bulletin Board

This is the social media section of myHeritage, but it is rarely (if ever) used. It is an internal social media site, so anything you post here will be visible only to other myHeritage users.


The info tab contains information such as your address and email address, spouse’s name (if applicable), and home church. By going to a student’s profile page, you will be able to see those details about a student. This information is entered by school administrators and you are not able to edit it. If you see any errors in your own information, please contact the Heritage front office to have the corrections made.

Please note that the information visible to you is not visible to students. Students can only contact you through myHeritage, and we request that you do not give out any email other than your Heritage email or any personal phone number.

Go to “Part 3 – Academics”.

MyHeritage Part 1: Introducing the Home Page

When you log on to myHeritage, you are on the “Home” page. It looks something like this, although your page may show a more updated version of myHeritage and fewer tabs. The photos will still help you to navigate the site.

  1. Main Menu: These tabs bring you to the main areas of myHeritage. Home is where you will be spending most of your time. Files will give you access to things like minutes and handbooks, depending on privacy settings. You can check the Institutional Calendar by clicking on the Calendar tab, and you can order textbooks and buy Heritage swag from the bookstore.
  2. Your profile picture: If you click on the down arrow, you will find a drop-down menu that allows you to edit your profile, change your settings, or log out. The settings tab gives you control over things such as your email signature, your privacy settings, and whether your birthday is publicly announced (the default is that it will be announced).
  3. You can enter your phone number here if you wish to receive text notifications. You can also enter your phone number under the settings tab found by your name. If you have already entered a phone number for text notifications, this banner will not appear. This phone number will not appear publicly. Texts will come from Populi, not directly from whoever is texting you.
  4. Navigational Tabs: The number and type of tabs you have here will differ depending on your role at Heritage and on what section of the main menu you are in.  The Home tab will always bring you back to this startup page.
  5. Search: By using this feature, you can search for any myHeritage user, including faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and students. You will be able to access all public information about that user. The search feature has been moved to beside your profile picture in recent updates of myHeritage.
  6. The Feed: This is an automatically-generated internal (as in, available only to myHeritage users) social media feed that allows students and profs to communicate in an informal way. You can follow people and be followed, and when the people you follow post updates, their stories will appear here in your Feed.
  7. Events: This is an automatically-generated list of events from your calendar. More details on how to use this feature can be found under the “Academics” section.
  8. To-Do: Your to-do list will contain items that you have set for yourself to do, and items that others have assigned for you to do. To add your own items, click on “Add items” and fill in the pop-up box. You can add items for other people to do by switching the “assigned to” from “me” to “someone else” and then typing in that person’s name.
  9. Courses: This is an automatically-generated list of the courses you are teaching for each semester. You can change the semester by clicking on the “show” tab, and selecting the semester you wish to see. Each course listed is a live link which will bring you to that course’s page.

Go to “Part 2: My Profile”.