Syllabus-Ready IT Suggestions | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

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Syllabus-Ready IT Suggestions

Putting together an exceptional course is not easy. As you put together your syllabus or Canvas site for your exceptional fall classes, remember to include information about applicable technology resources available to your students. Consider the following suggestions from Pitt Information Technology:

Software Sources

Include information about the software that will be needed to complete your course, especially if any specific apps are required. If students can download the apps before or shortly after the class begins, that will prevent a lot of headaches for you and them.

Sample Syllabus Statement:
You will need the following software for this course: (list software). Download software from the Software Download Center ( or use it from the physical or virtual Student Computing Labs.

Even if your class will only require basic productivity software, it’s a good idea to tell them where to get those apps, especially if your class has a significant number of first year students.

Sample Syllabus Statement:
You can download/access Microsoft Office from and Adobe Creative Suite from for use in class assignments and projects.

Lastly, Pitt IT recommends that students use Microsoft OneDrive for saving, sharing, and collaborating on class-related documents, which provides 5 TB of storage.

Sample Syllabus Statement:
Use Microsoft OneDrive ( for seamless integration with Excel, Word, and other Microsoft productivity tools. OneDrive gives you 5 TB of space to save files and collaborate on academic projects.

Help Services

Instructors should not be expected to provide technical support. But that doesn’t stop many students from contacting you when a technical issue interferes with their ability to complete an assignment or access course materials. Make sure they know where to go for help to help reduce frustration on everyone’s part. The Technology Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help resolve any technical issues our students, faculty, and staff experience.

Sample Syllabus Statement:
If you have any problems accessing Canvas, connecting to Wi-Fi, or using any software needed for this class, contact the Technology Help Desk ( or go to Drop-In Support ( Also, please notify the Help Desk to report any Wi-Fi or service disruption so they can promptly resolve the issue.

Device Limitations

Financial constraints can make it difficult to obtain a suitable laptop or Wi-Fi for some students. They may not have access to a personal device or use a device with minimal computing power or memory. Pitt IT has several services in place to help level the playing field when it comes to technology access.

Students can get a discounted laptop through our partnership with Dell. In addition, the Virtual Computing Lab makes software, and the computing power needed to run it, available in the cloud so it can be used from even the most minimally-configured devices, like a Chromebook or tablet. Students can also use Student Computing Lab devices and Wi-Fi available on campus.

Sample Syllabus Statement:
If you have financial limitations that impact your access to a reliable laptop or Wi-Fi service, you have several options:

Canvas Considerations

Having a well-designed Canvas site is one of the most important resources for your students. Include supplemental course materials/readings, class assignments, test and paper due dates, links to recorded classes/content, and contact information (including office hours or tutoring times) for you and TAs. If students are asked to attend any online events, be sure the registration and connection links are prominently located, including on the calendar entry. Then, describe what and where they can find these resources in your syllabus.

Sample Syllabus Statement:
The Canvas course for this class can be found at (If the class is not visible to you, be sure that you are properly registered or get help from the Technology Help Desk.) This site includes …

Help Your Students Succeed

Technical difficulties can easily derail students. It’s a mistake to assume that today’s tech-savvy students can navigate all the services they need without a little guidance. Pitt IT provides the tech they need to succeed, but we need instructors’ help in guiding them to the right place. A few technical notes in your syllabus can go a long way to helping your students have a great experience in your class.

-- By Karen Beaudway, Pitt IT Blogger