Best Practices

The foundation of each course is its syllabus. This is the guide for students on what will be covered, what the learning outcomes are, how and when these will be measured and, in some cases, guidance on how to engage with the material. Linda Nilson in Teaching at its Best: A research-based resource for college instructors (2010) lists many of these elements of well constructed syllabus:

  1. Complete course information: instructor(s) contact information, location, times, prerequisities, Blackboard instructions
  2. Information about the instructors: how and when to contact them, what to do when issues, such as illness, emerge
  3. Reading and other educational materials with annotations
  4. Student learning outcomes: what you expect students to have mastered during the semester
  5. Elements that will be graded and point values for each assignment, test or other work product
  6. Criteria used for grading written assignments
  7. Policies including statements on the Honor Code, Conduct Code and Disability statement.
  8. Safety policies and practices
  9. Attendance, make up exam and other extenuating circumstance policies
  10. Support resources for course components (Writing Center, tutors, TAs, research librarians)

Provide a framework for each class section by recalling where you left off the previous class, what you will cover, and what you intend to accomplish with the class during the session. Sum up at the end of each class.

In working with students with disabilities, the application of accommodations in the classroom should be discussed as soon as the Access, Disabiities Services and Resources information has been brought to your attention. If you have any questions about how the accommodation should be implemented or the appropriateness of the accommodation (for example, does "extended time for tests" include take home tests) should be discussed with the disability office.