The University Catalog, the Schedule Informational Guide, and past syllabi in the department all are useful documents to consult as you construct your class. They will help you understand how the university and department view the class and its role in the university's curriculum, as well as what basic content (and often teaching strategies) are the norm for the course.
Schedule of Classes
The Schedule of Classes and the Schedule Informational Guide provide a wealth of information. In it you will find information about class offerings, as well as meeting days and times, rooms, instructors' names, grading options, and the final examination schedule. To facilitate academic advising for registration, the Online Schedule of Classes is generally available to students three weeks prior to the Priority Registration Period. Students should always be directed to this web site for course offerings.
The Schedule Informational Guide includes registration and fee payment deadlines and procedures, contact names and numbers for each department, important dates, fees, registration information, information about remote sites, how to register on the Web, and a summary of math, English and writing proficiency requirements and options.
A syllabus is an important document that contains vital information regarding course content, student learning objectives, requirements, major assignments, forms of evaluation, expectations of student participation, and contact information. It is a powerful way to communicate with your students, to help set them at ease, and to avoid unnecessary confusion. You are encouraged to visit the Stanislaus State Develop Your Syllabus website at www.csustan.edu/office-assessment/develop-your-syllabus
Remember that your students will regard the syllabus as a contract. Be sure to include accurate and useful information.
In Spring 2014 a "Syllabus Requirements" policy-2/AS/14/UEPC- was approved. The policy indicates:
1. All courses shall have a syllabus and the syllabus shall be made available to students at or near the start date of the course.
2. The syllabus shall include, but not be limited, to the following:
a. Student learning outcomes or learning goals;
b. The instructor's grading policy;
c. Attendance information;
d. Policy on assignments, due dates, and make-up work; e. Required texts and other materials;
f. Faculty contact information
The more information you give students, the more the syllabus will help them prepare for and succeed in your class. You also might consider including:
- A course description (to concur with the description in the catalog) highlighting major themes and topics covered, course prerequisites, expectations, and objectives.
- Format of quizzes, papers, and other assignments.
- Schedule of reading assignments.
- Statement on cheating and plagiarism, including consequences.
- Emergency Information.
Ideally, students should receive the syllabus on the first day of the class. If you make changes in the course requirements, you can avoid confusion by communicating these changes to students in writing.
Department offices have previous course syllabi on file to use as a guideline. These are syllabi that were part of the course approval process and may contain useful information about textbooks, course requirements that can help you construct your own syllabus.
All classes must be held in the spaces and during the times listed in the official Schedule of Classes (please check the Web or PeopleSoft for the most current information) unless you follow procedures for changes of classroom and meeting times established by the university. If the room to which you have been assigned is too small, too large, or inappropriate for your pedagogical style, the person to contact about room availability is Noah Dunavan, Class Schedule Coordinator Ext. 3899. Be sure to alert your department chair and department secretary to any changes. If you need to reschedule, cancel, or move a class, you should talk to your department chair. Of course, you may use your judgment when scheduling special sessions such as class meetings outside, trips to the labs, the library, the art gallery, etc. If you schedule a field trip off campus, see the section on field trips in this chapter.
Scheduling Campus Facilities
A number of rooms are available on campus for university-related events such as club activities, meetings, guest lectures, or study sessions. For university groups there are no rental fees associated with room use.There may be fees for services provided by a campus department, such as Facilities Services, Public Safety, Office of Information Technology, or Campus Catering. Events are subject to review by the Campus Risk Manager and special event liability insurance may be required. Please see the Special Event Safety Plan:
Student with Disabilities
By university commitment and by law, students with disabilities are entitled to participate in academic activities and to be tested in a manner that accurately assesses their knowledge and skills. They also may qualify for particular accommodations that ensure equal access to lectures, labs, films, and other class-related activities. Contact Disability Resource Services at Ext. 3159 or information about making accommodations.
Each course at the university is approved for one of the three following grading options:
- Courses graded exclusively Credit-No Credit.
- Courses graded by the letter with the student option to receive Credit-No Credit.
- Courses graded exclusively by letter grade.
Plus-minus grading option: You have the option of awarding plus or minus letter grades, with the exceptions of A+, F+ and F-. You must state your intention to use the +/- grading system on your syllabus.
Academic Grades Letter
Student has demonstrated a high level of competence in meeting course objectives.
Student has demonstrated a more-than-satisfactory level of competence in meeting the course objectives.
Student has demonstrated a satisfactory level of competence in meeting the course objective.
Student has demonstrated only a barely passing level of competence in meeting the course objective.
Note: Students receiving a D- still will earn units for having taken the course unless stipulated by the major or by other university requirements, such as Writing Proficiency test. Students must earn a C- or better to receive credit for the WP requirement.
Student has not demonstrated a minimally passing competence in meeting the course objectives.
Student has demonstrated at least a satisfactory C- level of competence in meeting course objectives in an undergraduate course, or a B- for graduate level courses.
NC (No Credit):
Student has not demonstrated minimally satisfactory competence in meeting Undergrad course objectives in an undergraduate level course, or a B- for graduate level courses.
WU (Withdraw Unauthorized):
Student did not withdraw from the course and failed to complete course requirements. The WU is used for courses graded A-F when assignments and/or course activities are insufficient to make an evaluation of academic performance. This symbol is not for use with the courses graded exclusively Credit-No Credit. The WU is calculated as an F for the purposes of grade point average.
I (Incomplete Course):
Student has not completed the course requirements because of reasons beyond his/her control. Course must be completed within a time limit set by the instructor (no more than one calendar year following the end of the term in which the grade was assigned). Note that an incomplete grade is only appropriate when requested by the students and when the student has met course requirements to a significant extent. It is better not to assign an I if the student would have to attend many class sessions the next time offered, or if the student has completed less than half the work for the class. Incompletes will convert to an IC (equivalent to an F) or an NC if the instructor does not submit a grade for the student within one calendar year after the end of the term in which the course was taken.
RD (Report Delayed):
No grade reported by the instructor. RD grades may not be assigned by the instructor, and will convert to a NC or WU one semester after assignment.
RP (Report in Progress):
Indicates that work is in progress and has been evaluated and found to be satisfactory, but that a precise grade must await completion of additional work, which normally requires more than one term to complete (e.g. master's thesis).
The recorded grade if the students enroll as an Auditor in a class and fulfills attendance requirements but is not receiving credit. Students may only register as an auditor in an open class, with the instructor's permission, after Priority Registration.
Details about the grading system, including grade point computation, can be found in the Academic Standards section of the University Catalog.
Academic Probation, Disqualification and Reimbursement
Any undergraduate whose GPA falls below 2.00 at the end of a semester will be placed on academic probation. Occasionally, a student is admitted on academic probation. Students who complete a semester with a grade point in deficiency while they are on probation are subject to academic disqualification, which may be appealed for cause. The complete policy statement is in the Academic Standards section of the University Catalog.
Once registration begins, student enrollment in course sections may be verified online using the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center Class Rosters. Generally, department secretaries can look up any student information you may need. Contact Enrollment Services at Ext. 3264 for more information about PeopleSoft, if you have more specific needs.
Students on the wait list are NOT officially enrolled and must register by using a Permission Number given by the instructor or by submitting an Add form with the instructor's signature. Instructors do not have authority to allow a non-registered student to remain in the course, although it is understood that faculty will want students who are adding the course to attend class sessions. An instructor should assume that all non-roster and wait-listed students are not yet officially registered in the course. Please refer them to myCSUSTAN to verify their enrollment, or to submit a permission number.
Credit by Exam
Stanislaus State grants credit to those students who pass examinations that have been approved for credit system-wide. These include Advanced Placement Examination, International Baccalaureate Examinations, and College Level Examinations Program (CLEP) examinations.
A currently or formerly enrolled student who has special preparation may challenge courses only as determined and approved by the department. In some cases it may fall on the instructor of record to construct a challenge examination. For more information, see the University Catalog sections on course challenge examinations and credit by examination.
One of your primary responsibilities in preparing to teach a course is selecting textbooks, including required and recommended books for students. Check with the department chair regarding department procedures for ordering textbooks. All textbook ordering is coordinated through the campus bookstore. Faculty receives ordering information in the middle of each previous semester. If you know that you will be using the same required and recommended books the next semester please notify the bookstore prior to the end of the semester. This will assist students financially.
Custom Texts and Readers
You may wish to develop custom course readings, cassettes, videotapes, and multimedia packets. Be sure to read about copyright concerns in the "Legal and Ethical Issues" chapter of this guide before copying materials for the classroom use. Contact department chairs and secretaries to learn about department procedures.
As a faculty member, you are responsible for meeting with your assigned classes and being present for your office hours both during the semester and the final examination period. It is very important that you notify your department chair whenever you have to be absent from class. If you have to miss office hours, notify your department secretary and ask to have a notice posted on your door.
From time to time you may decide that particular classes should be adjourned to enable students to participate in appropriate guest lectures, academic convocations, or special seminars. Be certain that such activity furthers the academic goals of the students in that particular class. Check with your department chair before adjourning a class.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid programs assist students in meeting the cost of education. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships determines eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs (grants, loans, and work-study), and administers the University's scholarship programs. It also administers a short-term (sixty day) loan program for enrolled students.
Each year all financial aid applicants must submit a new application, and supporting documentation if requested, to confirm their continued eligibility for financial assistance. Since funds in some programs may be limited, it is extremely important that students submit their applications by the priority filing deadline of March 2, and that they promptly respond to communications from the Financial Aid office Ext. 3335.
Forgivable Loan Program
The Forgivable Loan Program provides financial assistance to graduate students. The purposes of the program are to increase the pool of individuals with the qualifications, motivation, and skills needed to teach a diverse student body in the California State University System, and providing financial assistance to doctoral students who show promise of becoming strong candidates for CSU instructional faculty positions. It is a competitive program directed by the California State University, but open to doctoral students across the country. Contact the Graduate School at Ext. 3129.
The following information applies to Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms. For specific information on add-drop-withdraw dates for the University please refer to the Schedule Informational Guide.
Permission Numbers are a set of codes unique to each class section which the instructor may give to individual students to allow the students to add the class via the myCSUSTAN web registration system. Permission Numbers will appear on the Class Rosters available to instructors on the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center web page. Each Permission Number can be given to students at any point in the registration period until the last day to add, and will override the following registration restrictions:
Any course that has "Instructor Consent Required" and does not require a Special Registration or Individual Study form.
Any course for which the student does not meet the major or class level prerequisite.
Any class that is full.
Course Section Adds
Students may add a course section without a signature or Permission Number through the 5th day of instruction via the web or in person at Enrollment Services or at the Stockton Campus. The 6th day through the 20th day of instruction requires a signature or Permission Number. Adding a name to your class roster does not register the student. Students still must register online with a Permission Number or turn in an Add Form to Enrollment Services
Course Section Drops
Students may drop from the course through Census Day. Census Day is the 20th day of instruction for the Fall and Spring, and for the Summer term, it varies. See the Online Schedule Informational Guide for specific dates. A student can drop a course via the Web or in-person at Enrollment Services or at the Stockton campus. Non-attendance or non-payment of fees does not automatically cancel a student's course enrollment.
Withdrawal from the University
Students choosing to withdraw entirely from all courses may do so by completing an approved Add-Drop Form or Withdrawal Form at the Enrollment Services Office or at the Stockton Campus prior to Census. Withdrawals after Census Date are permissible only for serious and compelling reasons - reasons clearly beyond the student's control. See the University Catalog or the Faculty Handbook for more specifics.
Withdraw from a Course After Census Date
After the Census Date, withdrawals from a course are only permitted for serious and compelling reasons, i.e., for reasons clearly beyond the student's control. See the University Catalog for details.
Student Study Load
Students at Stanislaus State vary in the number of units for which they register in a semester. One unit is equivalent to one hour of classroom work per week in most classes; the Stanislaus State definition of a full-time course load for undergraduates is 12 or more units. Enrollment for more than 16 units in Fall or Spring is permitted beginning the first day of classes by obtaining the Add Form approval signature of the major department chair.
Each student should spend two hours of outside preparation for every hour spent in class.
Students may waitlist a course, provided that the department has allowed that option for the course. Waitlisted students are not enrolled in the section for which they are waitlisted. The wait list information is available on the Class Rosters on the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center for faculty review. Check with the department secretary to learn how to access this information. Waitlisted students are not officially in a course until they have registered with a Permission Number or submitted an approved Add Form to Enrollment Services or the Stockton campus and have been officially added to the Class Roster. Please encourage students to do so.
With the instructor's permission, admitted students may register in courses as auditors without credit. Auditors are not authorized in a full course. Enrollment will be permitted only after Priority Registration. To add a class for audit, a registered student must file an instructor approved Add/Drop form at the Enrollment Services Office. See the University Catalog for more information.
The enrollment closure Census Day is the 20th day of instruction for the Fall and Spring semesters, and it varies for Summer Term. See the Online Schedule Informational Guide for specific dates. As noted in the "Instructor Disenrollment Responsibilities" on the next page, instructors should assign an Instructor Withdraw (IW) on a roster prior to the Census Date. Faculty must sign the roster and return this to Enrollment Services on or before the Census Date. It is important that the print and enrollment as of the Census Date be accurate because this is the information the university uses to report class enrollment to the Chancellor's office.
Canceled Course Section
Once enrollment begins, the department has the responsibility of notifying students should the section be changed or canceled. The department may contact the formerly enrolled students by emailing them from the Class Roster in the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center.
Instructor Withdrawal Responsibilities
Students who register for a class and do not attend the first class meeting should notify the instructor or the departmental office no later than 24 hours after the first class meeting of their intent to remain in the course. A student who fails to do so may then be dropped administratively from the class by the instructor. If a student misses any other class sessions within the first 7 calendar days of the start date without notifying the instructor, the instructor may IW the student. If a student who registers for an online class fails to logon to the course website within 48 hours of the start date (8am, Pacific Time), the instructor may IW the student. (Courses are assumed to begin on the start date of the semester, unless otherwise specified in the schedule of classes.) An instructor may also administratively drop a student who does not meet the catalog prerequisites for the class. These instructor withdrawals are done by the instructor, following established procedures, through the Director of Enrollment Services. These administrative drops shall be without penalty and must be filed by the instructor with the Director of Enrollment Services no later than the census date. At the end of the fourth week of instruction there shall be a campus-wide enrollment update; if the instructor fails to administratively drop a student who has not attended class, it is still the student’s responsibility to drop the class through the Enrollment Services Office.5/AS/14/UEPC – Instructor Withdrawal Policy
Open University Enrollment
Students who are not interested in seeking a degree, or who have not been admitted as regular students, may enroll on a space-available basis with the permission of the instructor in any regularly scheduled course offered by the university. This type of enrollment, through University Extended Education, is then recorded on the student's transcript. If a student later wishes to have Open University credit applied toward a degree, a maximum of 24 units is allowable for a baccalaureate degree and nine units for a graduate degree. In all cases, permission of the major department is required.
Delivery of Registration Requests by Census Date
Course enrollment and instructor disenrollment are not accepted by Enrollment Services after the Census Date. Faculty is not authorized to allow any non-registered student to continue class attendance.
Tape recording and Videotaping Classes
Audio or video recording (or any other form of recording) of classes is not permitted unless expressly allowed by the faculty member as indicated in the course syllabus or as a special accommodation for students who are currently registered with the Disability Resource Services Program and are approved for this accommodation.
Recordings allowed as special accommodations are for the personal use of the DRS-approved student, and may only be distributed to other persons who have been approved by the DRS program. Faculty may require the student sign an Audio/Video Recording Agreement, which they may keep for their records.
Field trips and other off-campus activities can provide an important dimension to a student's learning experience. These activities should be directly related to the content of the course. Before scheduling a field trip, consult with college dean and department chair for information and required forms.
You and your department chair should discuss insurance coverage, provisions for emergency health treatment for students, and where you and your students can be reached in case of emergency. Also refer to the Risk Management website for field trip guidance http://www.csustan.edu/RiskManagement/AcademicFieldTripGuidelines.html
In addition, it is important to plan for the unique needs of students with disabilities who are traveling away from campus. The Disabled Student Services office, at Ext 3159, can help in planning for the needs of such students. Also, refer to the discussion of "Field Experiences Under Condition of Risk" in the "Legal and Ethical Issues" chapter of this guide.
The principal goal of Service Learning is the promotion of student learning through active participation in meaningful service directly related to course content. The Office of Service Learning is a resource office for faculty. Staff are available to discuss any aspect of experiential education that faculty might be considering and can assist in developing community partnerships, syllabus generation, exploring funding opportunities and connecting faculty on campus that use this as a pedagogy. Staff will assist with project site coordination and student volunteer orientations. The office can also assist with building project driven collaborative and inter-disciplinary partnerships revolving around service projects that meet community needs. Currently, in the CSU system over 2500 courses are offered with a service component and more than 51,000 students have participated in service learning courses. At Stanislaus State, over 2,000 students have had the opportunity to participate in service-learning courses. Please contact Julie Fox at Ext. 3311 for assistance.
Assessment for Student Learning in the Classroom
Assessment is the continuous process faculty engage in to understand and improve student achievement. Assessment of student learning is based on clear and explicit learning outcomes reflected in the course syllabus, and the results of student assessment are used by faculty in planning and improving in their courses and programs. Assessment Mentors are available to assist programs with the development of student learning outcomes, creating or revising rubrics/assessment measures, interpreting assessment findings, and "closing the loop" for continuous program improvement. The Office of Assessment and Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning also house a variety of resources available for the implementation and evaluation of student assessment techniques. Please refer to the Principles of Assessment of Student Learning at http://www.csustan.edu/OAQA/PrinciplesofAssessment.html for specific information on assessment of student learning at Stanislaus State.
As a faculty member, you have a right to expect students to be punctual and to attend class regularly. Departments have varying policies on attendance: In some departments, for instance, students may be dropped from a class if they do not attend the first class session of the term. Students who have stopped attending a class should be IW'd by the instructor prior to the Census Date.
When students are absent from class, they are responsible for informing you of the reason of the absence and arranging to make up class work and assignments. You should include an attendance and lateness policy in your syllabus.
Smoking or Eating in Class
Smoking is prohibited in campus buildings; smoking is permitted outdoors only.
Stanislaus State has no general regulations about eating in classrooms. However, signs have been posted outside some rooms where eating and drinking are prohibited because of carpeting or equipment. For instance, eating and drinking are not permitted in any labs. Remind students that several classes meet daily in most classrooms and that trash and debris should be properly disposed.
You may also set your own policy prohibiting eating or drinking in class. If you do, note the policy in your syllabus. Smoking is permitting outside and 30 feet from the entrance of any building.
Responding to Emergencies in Class
Students look to faculty members for instructions and support during an emergency. You should familiarize yourself with your classroom, with the building and its emergency exits, and with the location of white campus phones. In case of an emergency such as fire, direct the students to remain calm, review the situation, and communicate the appropriate escape route from the classroom. Be sure that all students have evacuated before you leave the classroom.
Classroom Medical Emergencies
Whenever a medical emergency occurs, immediately contact Emergency Services by dialing 911 from any phone. Provide a description of the nature of the medical emergency and the location. Stay on the line with the police until emergency personnel arrive.
Familiarize yourself in advance with all classrooms you occupy. Make a mental note of the potential hazards, such as broken window glass. In the event of an earthquake, advise all classroom occupants to duck under their desks, grab hold of the desk legs and cover their heads. Remain in your classroom until the fire alarms sound to evacuate, you are comfortable with having the students leave the building, or you have received further instructions from a building marshal/monitor, public safety representatives, or public address announcement. Be certain all room occupants have left the room before you. Close the door, if possible, as you leave.
Classroom Visitors or Speakers
A faculty member may wish to invite guest speakers to the classroom. Guest speakers can enliven a course and provide valuable expertise and outside experience to stimulate student's learning. Invited speakers can also enhance and complement the professional expertise of the faculty. Instructors intending to invite guest speakers to campus should discuss with the department chair such details as courtesy parking permits and possible honoraria.
Individuals who are not enrolled in your class may observe or visit your class, but they should get your permission ahead of time. Visitors can include colleagues or faculty observing your review process (see RPT review in chapter X). In some departments, such visitations are part of the normal review process.
You can enhance your teaching skills by inviting colleagues, on an informal basis, to observe your class and provide feedback. Likewise, you may gain insights by observing classes of your colleagues. Arrangements must be made in advance.
The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning can provide information about peer review strategies designed to make this a worthwhile experience. Faculty Center personnel are also available to observe classes on either a formal or informal basis.
Feedback from peers and students is essential for developing teaching skills. In addition to informal feedback from other faculty members, and formal peer review, a written evaluation is usually part of the performance review process. Faculty colleagues can bring valuable insights to assist you with the teaching. You should request information from your department chair about when and how peer review of your teaching can take place.
Student evaluations provide another essential point of view. All faculty offering courses at Stanislaus State during an academic year are required to have students evaluate their teaching. Evaluation forms are distributed by each department during the final two weeks of the semester. Currently, the university requires faculty to use the Individual Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA) short form for the mandatory course evaluations. The Collective bargaining agreement includes information regarding the evaluation of courses, and local campus policy clarifies implementation of the contract requirements. Information can be found at www.csustan.edu/faculty-handbook/evaluation-faculty
When you administer the student evaluation forms in class, make sure confidentiality of students is protected and students feel free to make comments without fear of reprisal. You should leave the classroom while the evaluations are being completed. The evaluation period is the two weeks before finals, and results are available one month after the evaluation period. One copy will go into the faculty member's personnel file, one copy to the department chair, and one copy to the faculty member. Some departments administer their own evaluation forms along with the IDEA instrument. The department's evaluation form does not replace the IDEA evaluation form in the RPT file.
Because formal student evaluation feedback comes "after the fact," you will find it helpful to get informal students feedback earlier in the semester so you can make changes and improvements before the formal evaluations at the end of the semester. The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning can provide useful suggestions for gathering this kind of information.
Since 1993, the short form of IDEA has been used by all teaching faculty. In September, all faculty and administrators who teach are sent a form to identify the classes to be evaluated for that academic year. The specific courses are determined in consultation with your department chair. If you and the chair cannot agree on the classes to be evaluated, then each selects half. You may find it helpful to get feedback on your teaching on more than these required courses. Faculty may have all of their classes evaluated using the IDEA short form. You have the choice of whether or not to include these additional evaluations in your Retention, Promotion, and Tenure file. Arrangements to evaluate additional classes must be made at the same time that you and your chair determine which mandatory courses to include in your RPT file. Once the form is complete, the faculty member and department chair sign the form. The evaluation packets are prepared by the Senate Office (Ext. 3400) and sent to departments before the evaluation period.
IDEA Faculty Resources (Online/Paper)
Completing the Faculty Information Form (FIF), Selecting Objectives, Interpreting Results.
In general, courses have examinations or other graded material during the term and a final examination during finals week. At the beginning of the term, you should inform your students of your expectations for the final examination.
Final examinations are administered or due only during the final exam week and only at the time scheduled by the university. If you need to make an exception, consult your department chair. Final exam schedules are listed by normal class meeting time in the Schedule of Classes.
Illness or an accident may prevent a student from taking the final exam at the scheduled time. In such cases, you should assign a makeup exam, or, if appropriate, a grade of Incomplete. If you become ill or have an emergency during exam week, contact your department to arrange for someone to proctor your exams or collect final papers.
Faculty members are required to record grades for all students listed on the Grade Roster either by the online Grade Roster on the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center or by submitting a printed roster to Enrollment Services within three days after the last day of finals. Grade Rosters may be printed from the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center. These reported grades are normally available to students via the web within a couple of business days. For assistance with the myCSUSTAN Faculty Center contact the OIT Helpdesk.
Grade Appeal Policy
Detailed grade-appeal procedures are included in the Faculty Handbook, the Student Handbook, and the University Catalog. Appeal procedures are available only for review of alleged capricious grading and not for review of the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student's work.
Questions to Ask Yourself before the Teaching Begins
- If my class has been taught by other instructors, have I discussed the approaches they took and examined copies of their syllabi?
- Have I reviewed options for course materials? Would customized texts or reader options be more useful than standards texts? Have I checked with my department to see when textbooks orders are due?
- Have I considered ways in which audiovisual materials or computers might be usefully incorporated into my class?
- As I designed my class, did I consider a variety of teaching strategies and activities that could enhance students learning to the material?
- Have I scheduled laboratory sessions (particularly computer lab sections) with the appropriate person?
- Does my syllabus summarize course objectives, grading criteria, reading and writing assignments, and due dates for papers?
- As I designed my course, did I build in methods for students to evaluate their grades and progress throughout the semester?
- Did I provide for ways in which students can let me know what they are learning and what problems they are encountering throughout the course?
- Have I developed class assignments and activities that will truly help students explore and master material?
- Am I familiar with the department's policies on grading, add-drop, and attendance?
- Have I visited the assigned classroom to make sure it has the necessary equipment and number of seats?
- Am I familiar with emergency routes and white campus phone locations in the building where I will be teaching?
- Am I familiar with my department's policies on waiting lists?
- If I have disabled students in my class, do I know how to best accommodate their needs?
- If I have planned for a guest speaker, have I discussed the plans with the department chair?
- If an emergency occurs, do I know what to do?
Additional Suggestions on Teaching From the Counseling Services
Faculty members play a critical role in helping students who may have disabilities. Once a student's disability has been verified, faculty can work with the student and staff in Disability Resource Services to develop academic adjustments that permit the student to fully access lecture and course materials.
The following suggestions come from Counseling Services. Many of these teaching tips are valuable for all students. We include the advice here:
- Encourage students to make an appointment during office hours to facilitate self-disclosure. Ask students how you, as a faculty member, can assist in facilitating course material.
- Provide a detailed course syllabus, if possible, before class begins. Include complete bibliographic information on reading assignments to facilitate obtaining textbooks on tape. Announce additional reading or writing assignments at least four weeks in advance.
- Clearly spell out expectations before the course begins (e.g., grading, material to be covered and due dates).
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered during that class period. At the conclusion of the lecture, briefly summarize key points.
- Speak directly to students and use gestures and natural facial expressions to convey further meaning.
- Present new technical vocabulary on the blackboard, use an overhead projector, or handout. Terms should be used in context to convey greater meaning.
- Give assignments both orally and written form to avoid confusion.
- If possible, select a textbook with the accompanying study guide for optional student's use.
- Provide adequate opportunities for question and answers, including review sessions.
- Allow students to tape-record lectures to facilitate their note taking.
- Provide, in advance, study questions for exams that illustrate the format, as well as the content of the test. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
- If necessary allow students with disabilities to demonstrate mastery of course material using alternative methods (e.g., extended time on exams, exams in a separate room, providing responses by tape recording their answers).
- Permit use of computers, simple calculators, scratch paper, electronics spellers, and dictionaries during exams.
- Encourage students to use campus support services (e.g., assistance in ordering taped textbooks, alternative-testing arrangements, specialized study aids, peer support groups, study skills workshops, developmental skill courses, or academic tutorial assistance).