Teaching Reminders

Teaching Related Policies and Suggestions for CIS Faculty

1 Conducting your class

  • Thoroughly prepare for each and every class.
  • Be sure to read and follow the University policy on the handling of academic dishonesty. Talk with your class about this policy.
    You should particularly note your policy in regard to working together (or not) on assignments, and plagiarism: including plagiarism of material found on the internet. This policy should be included in the class information sheet that you hand out on day 1 of your class.
  • Be aware that students can be quite sensitive to what you say and how you say it. It is wise to avoid any comments involving ethnic background, sex, etc. Avoid even the most mild profanity.
  • If you have to miss a class, you should line up a substitute lecturer. If you have to miss a class at the last minute (this should be a very rare occurrence), then please call the Department and ask that a sign to that effect be placed on the classroom door. In addition, it is a good idea to send an email message to that effect to the students in the class. Information about class mailing lists can be found on the Web at http://www.udel.edu/it/help/mailing-lists/pobox/ .
  • You should start on time for each and every class. Students become (quite understandably) irritated by chronic lateness, even if it is just a minute or so. Likewise, your class should normally run for the full class period. Again, students do not appreciate chronic early or late dismissal.
  • If problems arise and you are unsure how to handle things, or if the problems become serious, please come talk with the Chair or the Associate Chair.
  • Please consult the calendar of religious holidays. It is best to plan your schedule so that you avoid having these days coincide with exams or project due dates; however, when this is not possible, students who are absent due to a religious holiday must be provided with a reasonable alternative. A calendar of religious holidays my be found at http://www.interfaith-calendar.org/. Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday and Passover are common holidays that you might want to make allowance for.

2 Start of semester things

  • It is very important that students have a reasonable idea of what the course will be about and what will be expected of them. On the first day of class, the University requires that you hand out an information sheet/syllabus. This should be more than just a brief description of the course. Typically the syllabus should detail such things as: course content; the number of exams; the type of homeworks and programs; as much as possible, the number of assignments; your grading policy; your attendance policy; your cheating policy; and, your lateness policy. Once you establish these policies, stick with them (of course, exceptions do sometimes arise — in all cases, the best thing is to do what is reasonable).
  • If you are teaching a class with freshmen, you will receive a mid–term grade sheet to complete on those freshmen. Please determine and report an appropriate grade by the required deadline. This requires that exams and assignments be scheduled early enough so that a realistic grade can be computed by the deadline for reporting midterm grades.
  • In the case that the number of students registered for your class equals the registration limit, students may ask if you can let them into the course anyway. Please refer such students to the Associate Chair — if you feel strongly that a student should be added to the course, please send an email note to chester@udel.edu. Students may submit a Course Permit Form after the add/drop period. If you receive one of these in your email, please give your approval or disapproval promptly; make clear whether you are giving your approval or not in a comment.
  • Please read the University Seat Claim Policy. It specifies that students be dropped from courses if they do not attend the first few classes and that other students be allowed the opportunity to enroll in the course. The Policy details the number of classes that the student can miss before he/she should be dropped.
  • Be sure to update your office hours on whatever page you have it.
  • You must add your TA to your class’s POBox mailing list yourself. Login to POBox, select the class list you want to add to and click on “List Membership”. At the bottom of the page, type the TA’s udel.edu network username into the “Identities” box. Change the membership type from “Read-only” to “Contributer”. Then click on “Add Member”.
  • Note that if there are any athletes or band members in your class, they are required to present you with a written copy of the dates on which they will miss class due to an athletic or University event. Note that these are excused absences; you may want to schedule your exams to avoid conflicts.

3 End of semester things

  • Projects should be due prior to the start of final exams so that students can devote the final exam period to studying for exams.
  • University regulations prohibit giving a test or quiz during the last five class days of any regular semester if the test or quiz counts 25% or more of the semester’s grade.
  • Final exams must be given in the final exam period. There are only rarely exceptions to this, and they should be cleared with the Chair beforehand. Students should not be exempted from taking the final exam. The date and time for the final exam for each course can be found at https://udapps.nss.udel.edu/finalexams/.
  • Grade rosters should normally be completed within 72 hours after the final exam, and should absolutely be completed prior to the final deadline (detailed instructions will be given toward the end of the semester).
  • We advise against giving incompletes. They create more problems than they solve in most circumstances. Incompletes should only be given when exceptional unforeseen circumstances arise that prevent a student from completing the course work during the semester.
  • Posting of grades by Social Security Number or student number is not allowed (even if it is just the last
    4 digits). Please inform your TA of this.
    It is suggested that you assign students randomly generated numbers at the beginning of the semester, and post grades using these random numbers. However, you should not post the list in alphabetical order by student name, since the identity of the student may be easy to determine. Please see the link below on privacy regulations for more information.

4 Confidentiality and Responding to students and parents

  • A student’s performance on exams, projects, assignments, etc. must be treated as confidential. Please avoid random remarks about a student’s performance, even if you don’t mention the student’s name, since the context may make it possible to identify the student.
  • Each instructor is required to hold at least two hours per week of office hours, preferably spread over multiple days and at different times. Please make sure that you are present for your posted office hours. In addition, it should be possible for students to meet with you at mutually agreeable times outside of your office hours.
  • It is important to respond to student email in a timely fashion: while a student cannot expect to have instantaneous responses to their email, they should, normally, hear back from you within a day, unless you are out of town, ill, it is the weekend, etc.
  • Although parents often call to inquire about their child’s academic progress, providing any information to parents is not allowed. Please see the link below on privacy issues for more information.

5 Assorted items, including supplies

    • Supplies for teaching your courses, a copy machine and a laser printer are available in 101 Smith.
    • Note that department resources are to support research, teaching and other related activities. They are not for personal use unless the Department is reimbursed.
    • Please do not ask your students to turn assignments in to secretaries — the heavy office workload does not allow us this luxury. In most cases, assignments should be collected in class. If you ask students to place things in your mailbox in 101 Smith, tell them precisely where your mailbox is located, and when the office will be open (normally 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

6 Evaluations

  • The Department employs student evaluations of all courses. These evaluations are mandatory. Students go to http://www.udel.edu/course–evals/ and login to fill out the survey forms. The survey forms will be accessible for about a week usually ending with the reading day before final exams. You can go to http://www.udel.edu/courseevaladmin/ to add your own questions to the survey form, find out who has participated (in case you want to base the course grade in part on participation in the course evaluation), and to get the final results of the course evaluation (usually several weeks after course grades have been turned in). All evaluations are read by the Chair and the Associate Chair.
  • The Department very much values excellence in teaching and we are ready to assist you in any feasible fashion.

7 Attachments

Follow these links to important web pages about University services and policies.

These links are to pages of the Faculty Handbook, Section 3, Conduct of Academic Programs.

People Faculty and Staff Resources Teaching Reminders