This page provides tips for course planning and 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 learning goals/outcomes, 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. The syllabus should clearly identify any requirements that must be met--and to what standard--to pass the course irrespective of the points earned. The syllabus can direct students to the Center for Academic Success to arrange academic accommodations (see below). While you should be clear about requirements and policies, it's important to make your syllabus inviting rather than legalistic: say something positive about what you and the students will do together and what they will learn. (Accreditors look to see whether our course syllabi reflect our mission, have clearly stated learning goals or outcomes, and emphasize academic integrity.)
Lawrence email is used for all university correspondence. Encourage students to check their Lawrence email daily or forward it to a personal account. You might also encourage them to use good email etiquette (including a subject in the subject line, using a proper salutation and tone, etc.) as this will help them develop skills they'll need after college.
You can email your whole 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 your course Moodle site if you have one.
Choose several hours a week (preferably more than one day at different times) to be accessible to students; for part-time faculty, this may be 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 one business day is reasonable.
Textbooks & Copyrights
Federal law requires us to provide textbook information to students for their financial planning. You should enter your book information into the Lawrence Online Bookstore no later than week 4 of the preceding term. This makes the information available to students during the pre-registration period in weeks 5 to 10.
You must have copyright clearance for course readings you make available to students. You can use the course pack tool in the Lawrence Online Bookstore to compile a set of readings and have our bookstore partner, Akademos, clear copyrights, assign an ISBN and price, and make the pack available for students to purchase. Or you can put the readings on electronic reserve at Mudd Library, and they will clear the copyrights for you. See the Course Reserves page on the Mudd Library website for more information.
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.
Courses may include community-based learning, day trips, 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 web pages on Academic Travel and follow the guidelines and requirements stated there.
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 Director of Accessibility 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. The Center for Academic Success also recommends that you include the following statement in your syllabus:
Lawrence University is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its
programs. If you have a documented disability (or think you may have a disability), please
contact the Center for Academic Success (CAS) as soon as possible (you may
email email@example.com). The Director of Accessibility works with students to arrange academic accommodations and academic support services.
If there are circumstances that may affect your performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible. Together we can develop strategies that can enable you to succeed in the course. All students are encouraged to utilize the available resources on campus, including writing tutors, content tutors, and academic counselors.
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.
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 has been attending class or submitting work. Many professors like to track attendance by circulating a sign-in sheet or roster for students to initial, collecting in-class assignments or quick writes, using clickers or texting apps, or, for smaller classes, simply scanning the room and noting who is present or absent.
Because our terms are short, you are encouraged to conduct an assessment during the first two weeks to identify 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 give you information you can act on to provide supplemental help or to 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 return graded papers to students outside of class, put them in campus mail envelopes. 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. You can find more information on the Honor System website.
Class Performance Reports & Sunstone
Students are expected to attend classes, be prepared, and submit work on time. If a student isn't meeting course requirements or is earning a grade less than C-, 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 issue for academic progress reviews by the Faculty Subcommittee on Administration. If you wish to send a referral directly to support staff, use the Sunstone system so that documentation of the concern and follow-up is available to those concerned.
Final Exams and Assignments
All final exams must be taken during the examination period, and no exams or tests may be given during the last week of classes (although weekly quizzes and lab practicals are allowed). A take-home exam may be distributed at the conclusion of the last class and due at the scheduled final exam time. The time of an exam may be changed within the exam period only with unanimous consent of the students and approval from the provost. Students may petition to change an exam time if they have three exams on one day, health issues, religious observances, or summer academic programs; exam times will not be changed for travel purposes. All final assignments or other work for credit must be submitted no later than the university-assigned final exam time; a student who needs additional time must request an incomplete from the Dean of Academic Success (see below).
Withdrawals and Incompletes
Students may withdraw from a course by the second Friday after midterm reading period and receive a 'W' on the transcript. The student must check the consequences of a reduced class load (for a student visa, athletic eligibility, financial aid, insurance, etc.) before withdrawing. A student who has been impacted by accident, illness, or other circumstances beyond their control may need additional time to complete course requirements and 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, which is generally within four weeks of the end of term. 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.