Nuts and Bolts
Creating an online syllabus does not have to be time consuming. If you do a lot of online teaching, you can streamline some of the syllabus information, which will allow you to focus more time on your online teaching and less on writing a document for various online classes.
When writing a syllabus like this, it is important to advise students how to contact you. Include at least one means of emergency contact. State clearly what your policy is for emails and phone calls. Invoke a moratorium on Sunday phone calls, but state that you welcome emails at any time assuming that students understand that there may be a 24-48 hour turnaround on answers.
The online program undoubtedly already publishes the kinds of materials that are required for your class, but only you can incorporate optional materials into the online syllabus design. Offer links to websites where students may find research materials that may make their experience more productive, offer additional insights, and also provide new resources for them to digest.
The great advantage you have when preparing a syllabus is the incorporation of multimedia sources for the additional and optional resources. Give your students the full benefits of an online learning experience simply by pointing them in a direction of auditory, visual, and -- of course -- written materials. If you use teaching software such as Blackboard, post a simple tutorial as part of your syllabus.
Remember the Basics
In addition to the extra materials that make your syllabus design stand out, do not forget the basics. Remember to state your online teaching objectives for the class, the assignment schedule, due dates, information on quizzes, and also the formatting of assignments for your review.
Add your grading and participation policies, which are likely predetermined by the distance learning program. Don't forget to also include conflict resolution steps for students who may disagree with a grade they received.