Faculty Handbook

B. Effective Teaching

All instructors are expected to teach in an effective manner by giving clear explanation of course material, providing clear directions for assignments, and providing effective feedback to help students improve and progress in their understanding of the subject matter. Rubrics are encouraged.

Furthermore, instructors are expected to use materials and methodologies that bring freshness and variety to the classroom and/or library services in order to stimulate and enhance student learning.

Some expectations vary depending on delivery format; however, the following are expected of all instructors:

  1. Basic expectations for effective teaching include:
    1. Grading and returning on-time assignments in a timely manner, giving high quality, complete, and clear feedback. In 15-week courses, the goal is to return assignments in 1-2 weeks. In eight-week courses, the goal is to return assignments in 3-7 days. In all courses, feedback needs to be returned promptly enough for students to learn and demonstrate improvement in subsequent and related assignments.
    2. When classes are meeting, respond to student inquiries received during the work week, including e-mail, within 24 hours. If a longer response time is occasionally necessary, such as due to travel or sickness, the instructor should make students aware of this.
    3. Ensuring that course content and workload reflect the course level and number of credit hours awarded, regardless of the delivery model. Rochester University follows the Carnegie and federal definitions of a credit hour, fully outlined in the catalog.                 
      1. 15-week courses should require at least two hours of study or work for each credit hour.
      2. 8-week courses should require at least four hours of study or work for each credit hour.
    4. Using a syllabus that conforms to the university’s template.
  2. Additional expectations for instructors of ground and hybrid courses:
    1. Meet with the class for the scheduled time, minimizing late starts, early dismissals, and cancelled classes.
    2. Courses should be web-enhanced using LMS. All instructors are expected to use LMS to post syllabi and record grades, and instructors are also encouraged to use LMS for course communication and collecting assignments from students.
  3. Additional expectations for instructors of online and hybrid courses:
    1. Require students to participate in online course materials through the Learning Management System (LMS) on a weekly basis, such as discussion posts, quizzes, uploads, or other collaborative assignments.
    2. Provide clear expectations in the syllabi to students regarding participation and attendance in the course.
    3. Enter course attendance into the employee portal by the Sunday after each course week. 
    4. To maintain alignment with the Federal Government’s rules for regular and substantive interaction in distance education, utilize at least two of the following each week
      1.  Assessing or providing feedback on a student’s coursework

      2. Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or competency

      3. Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency.

      4. Providing direct, synchronous instruction
    5.   Online instructors are required to use LMS for all course functions, including communicating with the class, and collecting and responding to student work.
    6.  Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) online course shells should be published 24-48 hours prior to the start of the semester/ session. For Canvas resources, click this link.    If you need assistance using Canvas, please use the Help link on the left navigation of our Canvas site for 24/7 support. You can Search the Canvas Guides or choose from the   following: Chat with Canvas Support (Faculty ONLY) or Canvas Support Hotline, 248-805-1287.

    Online Teaching Standards




    Category 1 -- Faculty Expectations and Learner Support




    A. Course specific resources




    Instructor able to upload, and/edit activities and resources, set due dates, 
    and grade in the LMS




    Current Syllabus that follows guidelines in the Faculty Handbook




    Current contact information for the instructor




    Current related course material; libguide, publisher site, etc.




    Rubrics and/or example papers




    Resources are defined as “required” or “optional”




    Category 2 -- Online Organization and Design




    A. Course navigability and organization




    Clear instructions given for each task or assignment




    Course outline or clearly visible due dates




    Organization and sequencing of the course content is logical and clear




    Links to outside content are functional




    Design keeps course pages to a comfortable length for all browsers and mobile devices




    Weekly expectations are clearly displayed




    B. Consistency in course




    Layout and navigability is functional and consistent




    Written material is concise and free of errors




    C. Aesthetics and Accessibility




    Typeface and contrast readable, passes the LMS accessibility check




    Universal accessibility for any non-text objects (alternative text)




    Images are optimized (reduced) for quick page-load and display 




    Linked media files are in universal format, i.e. mp3, m4v




    Media files are accessible with closed captions or readable text attachment      

    Category 3 -- Instructional Design and Delivery




    A. Promotes interaction and communication




    Introductory exercise and/or ice-breaker




    Instructor models interaction and displays presence in course




    Instructor responds to student input with respect      

    Netiquette enforced




    Weekly student participation is encouraged and tracked




    Includes a variety of activities to enhance student learning (see suggestions below)*




    Includes multi-media elements (see examples below)**




    B. Adherance to Institutional Learning Goals




    Follows guidelines in Faculty Handbook for Epic Goals and Outcomes




    Category 4 -- Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning




    A. Multiple types of assessment activities, aligned with learning objectives




    Coursework and assessment follows Faculty Handbook guidelines




    Discussions, written assignments, quizzes occur at regular intervals




    Detailed instructions and tips for completing assignments




    All coursework turned in through the appropriate LMS activities




    B. Regular feedback




    Rich and rapid feedback from assignments and self-grading quizzes




    Frequent and substantial instructor feedback in discussions




    Tips for completing assignments




    Category 5 -- Faculty Use of Student Feedback




    A. Student Monitoring




    Institutional course evaluation surveys reviewed and considered for updates




    Student input encouraged




    Instructor uses SOS system for concerns about students




    Students who have difficulty using the LMS directed back to the LMS Orientation or encouraged to contact technical help at helpdesk@RochesterU.edu




    *Suggested Activities to Enhance Student Learning 

    Video clips, interviews, etc.

    Infographic, video, audio, PPT assignments

    Matching, word puzzles, trivia games

    Annotated bibliography

    Research activities
    Discussions that center on questions without a single correct answer                 
    Compare and contrast exercises, debates                 

    Case studies

    Collaborative exercises (Google doc), group activities

    **Examples of Multimedia Elements

    Tutorials with screen-captures and/or voice-over

    Graphics, diverse images

    Video or audio clips

    PowerPoint presentations

    Links to educational sites, Ted talks, MSNBC, Library of Congress, Kahn Academy, etc.

    Personal video or audio lecture recordings, etc.