Course Outline

Student Needs

  • High expectations that are challenging and achievable
  • Sufficient information to anticipate demands in the course
  • Non-disclosure of a mental health disability and circumstances surrounding medical difficulties
  • Time to prepare resources and strategies for coping with the semester ahead
  • Recognition of time-of-day effects: medication, pain and/or fatigue may limit normal functioning at night or early in the morning


  • Provide entire syllabus online during course selection period.
  • Include the standard statement about accessibility supports in the course outline.
  • Build-in flexibility and choice when it comes to how students will be assessed.  Some best practices on our campus: counting only 2 of 3 midterm tests, providing multiple opportunities to successfully complete a lab, or providing a couple of options with regards to assignments.
  • Reach out to students before the start of the semester about key expectations.  Focus on essential requirements, general expectations, and elements of the course that can be challenging.  Keep the tone friendly and encouraging.
  • Change the timing of the class from semester to semester; avoid offering the course exclusively in the early morning, at night, or in three hour chunks.

More about the Mental Health by Design course.