Information for Instructors
This page provides tips for course planning and pointers to helpful resources.
The university has established a set of academic expectations to encourage good communication between students and instructors, consistent attendance, timely completion of work, and early intervention where help is needed. These are published in the course catalog and student handbook. Please familiarize yourself with these expectations and reiterate them in your classes.
Every course should have a syllabus. A syllabus should include faculty contact information and office hours, course description and objectives, required books or materials, course requirements and grading, due dates, policies on attendance and late work, and expectations regarding academic integrity and the honor code. Clearly identify any requirements that must be met--and to what standard--to pass the course irrespective of the points earned. Direct students to the Center for Academic Success to arrange academic accommodations (see below). While you should be clear about requirements and policies, make your syllabus inviting rather than legalistic: say something positive about what you and the students will do together and what they will learn.
Lawrence email is used for all university correspondence. Encourage students to check their Lawrence email daily or forward it to a personal account. You can email your class by sending a message to SUBJnnn-termcode-CRN@lawrence.edu (as in CHEM101firstname.lastname@example.org). The exact email address is on the class list in Voyager. Messages can also be sent through the news forum on a course Moodle site.
Choose several hours a week to be accessible to students (for part-time adjuncts, by appointment), publish these on your syllabi, and post them by your door. Also let students know when to expect email replies from you—within 24 hours Monday through Friday is reasonable.
All of Lawrence's classrooms have computers and projectors with audio. See the Classroom Technology/Facilities page for a list of installed equipment in each classroom. Instructional Technology also has clickers available for classroom use.
Moodle, Share Space, or Streaming Media
Moodle works well for introductory courses where the instructor provides handouts, activities, and quizzes. A class share space works well for seminars where both the instructor and students contribute material and lead class discussion. You can also set up a streaming media folder to use videos in your course. To set up a Moodle site, class share, or streaming media folder, find your class under "Classes Taught and Scheduled (Since Fall 1986)" in the Instructor Menu in Voyager and click on the far right column called Inst Tech Tools. For help, see the Moodle page or contact Arno Damerow, Instructional Technologist.
Federal law requires us to provide textbook information to students for their financial planning. To see where we do this, go to the online class schedule, click on a course, and then click “Course materials: View book information.” Even if you don’t expect students to buy books from the online Viking Bookstore, you must e-mail your book list to email@example.com one term in advance to have the books appear in the online class information.
You must have copyright clearance for course readings you hand out in class, put in a share space, or put on Moodle. If you also put these readings on electronic reserve at Mudd Library, they will clear the copyrights for you. See the Course Reserves page on the Mudd Library website for more information.
Lawrence is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990/2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) to provide reasonable accommodations for student with disabilities who need them to access our educational programs. Students must arrange accommodations through the Accessibility Services Coordinator in the Center for Academic Success, who will provide information to instructors. Instructors may be called upon to provide materials in advance, to help identify notetakers for a class, and/or to offer exams with extended test time or in a reduced-distraction setting. See Information for Faculty on the Accessibility Services website for details, and if a student asks you for accommodations, please direct the student to the Accessibility Services website. A good way to do that is to have an inclusion statement in your syllabus like the example below (provided by Beth De Stasio in Biology):
Your Success Matters to Me!
Your success in this class is very important to me. I will introduce you to various modes of learning material, and it is up to you to find what works for you by practicing different approaches to your own learning. If there are aspects of this course that prevent you from learning or that form barriers to your inclusion, please let me know as soon as possible. Together we’ll develop strategies that can enable you to succeed in the course.
I encourage you to also visit the Center for Academic Success to learn about other resources to support your learning. These resources include 1:1 visits with student success specialists (Kate Zoromski and Melly Gledhill), taking the 3-unit UNIC 117 course, and using writing tutors, content tutors, and academic counselors. If you need official academic accommodations for a diagnosed issue, please contact Meghan Lally (x7206), the Accessibility Services Coordinator, as soon as possible to complete necessary paperwork. Meghan can also talk through any issues or barriers to learning you discover along the way.
Students who are non-native speakers of English might need access to a dictionary or additional time to write answers on an in-class assignment or exam. These students might also benefit from tutoring in writing or oral communication. If you have a student who is struggling with language issues, refer that student to the English as a Second Language support in the Center for Academic Success.
Courses may include community-based learning, excursions, or domestic or international travel. There are university policies governing authorized drivers, vehicle use, insurance, waivers, and so on. If you are planning for students to travel away from campus for your course, you should read the faculty web page on Academic Travel and follow the guidelines and requirements stated there.
Whether you count attendance or participation in your grading, you should be able to respond to requests from other offices (the Dean of Students, the Center for Academic Success, the Director of Athletics, etc.) about whether a student was in class. You can do this by circulating a roster for students to initial, by collecting in-class assignments or quick writes, by using technology (clickers or texting apps), or, for smaller classes, by simply scanning the room and making notes on an attendance log.
Plan an assessment in the first two weeks so you can identify early any student who may need tutoring, ESL assistance, or other support to succeed in the course. This can be an ungraded assignment, practice test, or pre-test for prerequisite knowledge or skills. The important thing is that it gives you information you can act on to provide supplemental help or connect a student with appropriate resources in the Center for Academic Success.
Graded student work is private under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If you want to put graded papers out for students to pick up, put them in campus mail envelopes with the students’ names on them. You are also not permitted to discuss a student's work or attendance with a parent unless the student has submitted a release to the Registrar's Office. If a release has been submitted, this will appear in the Academic Record Notes that are visible to the student's advisor. When in doubt, check with the advisor or Registrar's Office.
If you use Moodle for a course, it's helpful to keep grades in the Moodle gradebook so students can view their progress at any time. Be aware, however, that students disappear from Moodle when they leave Lawrence, so to save grades for future reference (such as when preparing letters of recommendation), you should export the Moodle gradebook to an Excel spreadsheet at the end of the term. See the Moodle Data Policy for more information.
Students are expected to reaffirm the honor code on submitted papers, projects, and exams by writing "I hereby reaffirm the Lawrence University Honor Code" or simply "IHRTLUHC" and signing their name. In Moodle, students can affirm the honor pledge by clicking a box when they upload work. At Lawrence, instructors are not required to proctor examinations, but you are expected to set clear parameters for time limits, locations, and acceptable resources. If you give an exam in Moodle, you should hide all resources in Moodle during the exam except those you want students to consult. If you suspect that a student has violated the honor code, you should refer the matter to the Honor Council, who will determine if the honor code has been violated and what sanctions will follow. Instructors are not permitted to issue sanctions of their own accord.
Students are expected to attend classes, be prepared, and submit work on time. If a student isn't meeting course requirements, send the student a class performance report (CPR) in Voyager (click CPR next to the student's name in the class list). A copy of this report will go to the student's academic advisor and the Center for Academic Success, alerting them to the problem as well as documenting the concern for academic progress reviews by the Faculty Subcommittee on Administration. Instructors are also strongly encouraged to assess students in the first two weeks of the course--with a short paper, assignment, or quiz, possibly ungraded--to identify problems with academic preparation or performance and to refer students to the Center for Academic Success for academic counseling or tutoring.
Withdrawals and Incompletes
Students may withdraw from a course through the end of week 8. The instructor will be asked to provide a date of last attendance on the withdrawal form. A student who has been affected by accident, illness, or other circumstances that necessitate additional time to meet course requirements may request an incomplete from the Dean of Academic Success. The dean will consult with the instructor to determine what work is affected and when it should be submitted. As with honor code violations, instructors are not permitted to grant incompletes on their own.
Title IX Reporting
Faculty members are considered “responsible employees” who must report sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. If a student discloses sexual harassment, exploitation, or assault to you, you should fill out a report form on the Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources & Education (SHARE) website or email the Title IX Coordinator at TitleIX@lawrence.edu.