Checklist: Questions to ask the instructor up front:
- Goals. What are the main goals of the course? Are some of these goals more important than others?
- Graduate Student Teacher Responsibilities. What are my responsibilities in this course?
____ attending lectures
____ attending weekly meetings with faculty and/or other Graduate Student Teachers
____ drafting or revising grading keys
____ providing feedback (individual comments, solution sets)
____ reviewing drafts of written work
____ preparing quizzes, handouts, assignments, exam questions
____ holding regular office hours
____ conducting review sessions before exams
____ giving guest lectures
____ maintaining grade records
____ giving a participation grade based on class performance
____ recording attendance
____ proctoring exams
____ maintaining online resources for students
____ placing library materials on reserve
____ ordering audio-visual equipment
____ keeping track of relevant events outside the university that may be of interest to students (e.g., plays, lectures)
- Expectations of students. What do you expect the students to know or be able to do from prior courses? If you expect a wide variation in students’ backgrounds, is there anything specific I should do in response (e.g., suggest tutors, conduct review sessions, find extra challenge problems, have the student seek assistance through NYU resources)?
- Course materials. Can all materials be found at the bookstore? Are there additional readings at the library? Is there a course pack that students will have to purchase?
- Workload. How many hours, on average, should I expect to dedicate to specific responsibilities in this course (office hours, grading)? How much will it fluctuate over the semester? Do you have any suggestions as to how I can be most efficient?
- Grading. What are the criteria for grading in this course? How can I be sure my grading is calibrated properly to your standards? Should partial credit ever be awarded? To what extent is collaboration among students accepted and/or encouraged? How will final grades be determined? What are the specific parameters of academic integrity for this course?
- Flexibility. How much flexibility will I have in how I fulfill my responsibilities? Do youhave any preferences for how I organize or conduct recitations or labs? Or will you give me topics and issues to cover and allow me to develop my own class activities? What aspects of my teaching are most important to maintain consistency across sessions or fulfill specific course objectives?
- Meetings. How often will the professor and Graduate Student Teachers meet to discuss the course? If there are multiple graduate students teaching in the course, how and when will we meet to discuss and coordinate our responsibilities?
- Student interaction. How much will I interact with students? Are students required to attend sessions, participate actively in recitation/discussion, seek help with assignments out of class, come for individual appointments, or attend help sessions?
- Clarification of policies. What are the explicit policies for the course? About what policies, if any, do I have authority to make decisions and for what issues do you want me to refer questions to you?
____ allowing extra students into a closed class/section
____ changing recitation times/locations
____ requests for re-grading by me
____ requests for re-grading by another graduate student
____ calculating final course grades
____ granting an extension for illness
____ granting an extension for reasons other than illness
____ scheduling a make-up quiz
____ approving collaborative work between students
____ approving extra-credit assignments
____ address instances of suspected cheating or plagiarism
____ helping a student find additional assistance for personal or academic problems
- Evaluation. In what ways will the course be evaluated? Will I receive feedback from you and/or students about my performance?
____ faculty review of exams or papers
____ classroom visits and feedback
____ videotaping and review
____ early or midterm course student evaluations
____ end-of-course student evaluations