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1. What do I need to know about teaching at UAlbany?
Class Meetings and Office Hours
Academic Calendars for each semester are made available from the Registrar’s Office. These calendars will provide you with information about suspension of classes for holidays as well as add/drop and withdrawal dates. In the winter months, classes may occasionally be cancelled due to inclement weather. In addition to listening to local television and radio news, consult the University website or call 442-SNOW for information.
If you find yourself unable to attend a class due to unforeseen circumstances, you are responsible for either making arrangements for a substitute to cover your class or cancelling your class. You should contact your department office for procedures regarding individual class cancellations.
Many instructors find it useful to develop an attendance policy for students and include it in their syllabus. University guidelines governing these policies, including faculty obligation to provide opportunities for make-up work, are available from Undergraduate Education.
All University instructors are expected to schedule office hours during which you are regularly available to meet with students; these should be posted in your course syllabus. Contact your department office to find out if there are any additional guidelines you should be aware of regarding scheduling and holding office hours.
Teaching Support, Consultation, Feedback, and Ideas
Your department is a good place to start looking for information about teaching; many department offices keep files of past and current syllabi and other teaching resources, and individual faculty members are often willing to share tricks of the trade with others. The resource page you are currently viewing is a service of the Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership (ITLAL). ITLAL features a variety of Teaching Consultation Services, as well as an extensive collection of web-based Teaching and Learning Resources. ITLAL also maintains a print Library of teaching and professional development resources and sponsors an ongoing series of Events and Workshops for faculty and instructional staff, all of which are open to adjunct faculty.
Albany Students and Student Support Services
UAlbany has nearly 18,000 graduate and undergraduate students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Nearly three quarters of UAlbany's students receive financial aid and there are many programs to support students including Academic Support Services, The Education Opportunities Program (EOP), The Writing Center, The Disability Resource Center, Student Success, The University Counseling Center, and the library's Interactive Media Center. You will want to keep these programs in mind while designing your course and preparing your syllabus. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the Undergraduate Academic Policies of UAlbany.
Course Rosters and Recording Grades
MyUAlbany is the web-based information management system for accessing your schedule, rosters, and information about your courses and students. Here you will also submit final grades and process "permissions" (through Section Key Numbers, called SKN's—formerly called Course Permission Numbers, or CPN’s), which students may need if they face special restrictions in registering for your class or if you want to let them join your course above the enrollment cap.
Syllabus and General Education Requirements
The University does have minimum requirements for information to be included on all University syllabi. As described on this page, some additional information is required for courses that are designated and approved as General Education courses. A description of the requirements and objectives for each of the five required areas of the General Education program is available on the General Education page. A brief description and overview of the program is available from the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Books, Course Packs, and Distributed Media
The University at Albany Bookstore will help you purchase textbooks, although you should check with your department to see if their ordering procedures are centralized through their office. To create a customized course reader, you can contact Copies Plus (on campus) or Shipmates (off campus) to have copies made for students to pick up. You can also make materials available through electronic reserves (E-Res) in the library. If you want students to have access to films and videos, ITLAL offers a variety of services to allow you to digitize your existing media into formats that are exportable for a wide range of uses, such as in web pages and in visual or audio presentations. Our media services can also convert entire films from a variety of sources into streamable, password-protected files. Access to these files can be managed through your online course or through any course-related website.
UAlbany Libraries offer many useful resources to support your teaching and research, including electronic reserves (E-Res), Interlibrary Loan, Delivery Services, Technology Resources and Special Collections. Adjunct faculty have borrowing eligibility including circulation services, interlibrary loan, and remote access to online databases.
You can find the classroom assignments for your courses by logging on to MyUAlbany. If you want to change classrooms, the process begins by putting in a change request through your department office.
Many smart classrooms (i.e., rooms equipped with technology—usually a PC and projector) are available throughout the campus. If you need media support but are not assigned to a smart classroom, Audio/Visual Services (442-3647) can, with advance notice, provide you with portable equipment (i.e., TVs, slide projectors and portable computer projection systems). A/V services is also your first contact if you run into problems with the technology in your classroom. For training on using the technology in your classroom, contact ITS.
Automated Test Scoring
ITS provides free, blank ScanTron forms for short-answer tests, and processes the completed forms. The Test Scoring Customer Service Center is located in the Lecture Center complex between the Arts and Sciences and Fine Arts buildings. ITLAL works with faculty on testing strategies, test item development, and distracter refinement. ITLAL can also provide examples and models of effective short-answer testing to measure higher levels of student thinking.
Blended and Online Learning
UAlbany uses Blackboard Learning System CE 6. The Faculty Technology Resources unit of ITS offers online and face to face training in this Learning Management System technology. For more information about the Blackboard upgrade and training, visit the Blackboard website. ITLAL consultants are also available to explore with you potential uses of these systems in your own teaching through workshops and private consultations.
Technology Training and Help
The Library's Interactive Media Center offers a walk-in service, tutorials, and classes to faculty who want to learn applications such as Web editors, audio and video editors, DVD burning tools, and much more. Information Technology Services also provides training sessions for applications such as Excel, Access, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. ITLAL currently provides one-on-one help to faculty who want to learn media conversion and editing.
For A/V (e.g., DVD/VCR) help in the classroom, contact Audio/Visual Services at 442-3647. For other technology issues, the ITS Help Desk, located in LC 27 (442-3700), is your first stop for help. You can submit a request electronically, call, or stop by for help.
Student Information and Communication
Your class roster (available at MyUAlbany) gives you access to students’ names, ID numbers, class level, intended major and/or degree program, and their grading option for your course (e.g., graded or S/U). Other student information (previous course grades, transcripts, etc.) is generally available to student advisors only.
You may contact students at their official UAlbany-registered email addresses by using the “notify students” option, available from the course roster in MyUAlbany. However, you may find that you will also want to collect students’ email addresses during the first days of class so that you can create a distribution list or create a class listserv for easy communication with students. If you are using Blackboard Learning System, the internal email function can be another convenient way of contacting students.
Keep in mind that students’ personal information, including information about grades, is confidential and can be shared with others only with the student’s consent. (This includes parents!) Be careful, also, about using identifying information to post student grades. For more information about confidentiality of student data, consult the University’s Rules Governing Access to and Release of Student Data.
The University does not require instructors to give final exams in any courses. If you do choose to give a final exam, you should familiarize yourself with the University’s policies regarding examinations. You should also consult your department for information about any practices or procedures regarding exams.
Teaching Graduate Courses
While the basic policies that govern your interactions with graduate students will be much the same as those regarding undergraduate students, if you teach graduate students you may want to familiarize yourself with the Graduate Regulations and Degree Requirements, found in the Graduate Bulletin.