So you're teaching a course

This is a mock-up - with embedded discussion - of a web page that should include links to all the computing-related information someone may need when they teach an Informatics course. Please feel free to add/change/annotate.

Before the course starts

- There will be a call for information about required software. This is important; can't rely on getting things installed at short notice, necessarily.

- Where there's a choice of software, bear in mind that it helps if students can use software both in the DICE labs and on their own machines, so favour things that are cross-platform, or allow students to choose between various options

- Besides our own DICE labs, the university has computing laboratories, run by IS not by our computing staff, that run Windows. Particularly for large classes, it may be worth considering whether the necessary software is, or can be, available in the IS labs too. You will need to specify what is needed and be responsive when asked to check an installation (we have a sample IS labs machine in the Forum for this purpose), but our computing staff can often help to coordinate this with IS. In the first instance, talk to someone in Computing Support either in person or via the Support form.

- Honours students are generally pretty confident finding their way round new software but first years aren't, so use common sense...

- Coursework needs to be available before the start of the course, including any software etc. required to run it

- It's not uncommon for individual students to have agreed reasonable adjustments that involve lecture slides and required reading being available a set amount of time before they're used. Best to have everything ready before the course starts if possible.

Preparing materials for the course

- can use DICE or own equipment

- using software not available on DICE, e.g. Keynote on a Mac, is not prohibited, but it does have the disadvantage that the next lecturer might not be able to update your material, so please consider using something available here. For slides, Beamer under LaTeX probably the most popular. LibreOffice also has PowerPoint -lookalike.

- must check in, with sources, to some CMS at Informatics (must? what is IPR situation exactly? University owns things done in course of employment here. But some lecturers come with their own stuff, which university can't then appropriate, so need to be careful...)

- few courses use Learn but some do. More information...

- Virtual classroom is available

Giving lectures

- you'll be asked about requirements. One projector is standard, most big lecture theatres have two.

- can take own laptop (but be aware that some don't work with lecture recording facilities, so then slides may not get recorded)

- or use PCs available in many lecture rooms. Log in with EASE password (technically it's not EASE but is synchronised with it, right?). Not incredibly reliable, getting help in real time (from university IS staff, not from Informatics staff, who have no control over these PCs) can be hard.

Maintaining web page

- Can check HTML into teaching CVS...

- ...checkin mechanism does draconian validation which will, e.g., choke on many URLs that you might want to include as links. tinyurl is your friend.

- Or can use a CMS (which do we want to offer/encourage - mechanism?)

- Students will expect to find an up to date web page and will rely on what they find there

- The university provides a bulletin board you may want to try to use, but it's hard to get enough students to read things there

- Some courses have used blogs, Facebook groups, twitter etc. with varying success. Can't require students to sign up with FB, for example, only invite.

Information to include on course web pages

- We have a student portal at that lists contacts of the course team, official information on assignments and feedback deadlines, and links to the official DPRS course descriptor on the University's EUCLID database and the course web page at<course-code&gt; ; please ensure you provide information requested to build this automatically generated page to the ITO when requested to do so, and inform them of any changes (e.g. replacement of tutors, changes in deadlines etc).

- Where possible, try to avoid duplication of this information on the course web page to prevent errors that may arise from maintaining up-to-date information in more than one location. As a general rule, the course lecturer is ultimately responsible for course-related online information in these locations, and this responsibility cannot be delegated to ITO staff or other course staff.

- It is customary for course web pages to include background information about the course, guidance regarding prerequisite skills, lecture slides, reading lists, links to additional online materials, information about the nature of the assignments and feedback student may expect as well as downloadable copies of assignment handouts, tutorial sheets and lab notes. Since you may have to provide this in an online form (ahead of time) for students with specific learning needs, it is advisable to provide this information by default.

- You should bear in mind that there student may not be able to attend lectures for a variety of good reasons, or that there might be circumstances under which other teaching staff will need access to detailled information about the course, e.g. in cases of illness where a colleague has to examine your course instead of you, or student complaints/appeals require the School to verify what information was available to students during the course. It is good practice to view the course web page as an up-to-date repository of all important information about the course, that would allow anybody to understand what's been taught, what activities the course involves, and what will happen until the course comes to an end.

Responding to student email

- important, within a couple of days; use autoreply if away and redirect students if possible

- many students will email from non University addresses. If you need to find the student's UUN this is pretty easy in Euclid (there may be a better way...) which you can access from MyEd under Teaching.

- some people say shouldn't send replies containing official information to a non-university student address; most people don't worry about this, some always copy to student's SMS address (which they are technically required to read).

- BUT definitely don't send sensitive information, such as that relating to a student's health or marks, either from or to a non-university address.

Coursework submissions

- These can be done by paper to the ITO, but increasingly are done electronically via our submit system (instructions for students, instructions for lecturers to get things set up correctly, instructions for retrieving the submissions)

- Email marks to the ITO (using ito@... or the online form). They will rekey them whatever you do so format unimportant. They like marks in student uun order.

Setting exams

Current position: do not put unsat exam material where it might, if something were misconfigured, become accessible to students. This includes the DICE systems. We have had a problem where a student found an unsat paper in a staff member's world readable directory... Most people prepare exams on own machines at home and are supposed to disconnect themselves from the internet to do it, then take a USB stick to the ITO. Currently under review.

Programming exams

Programming exams require plenty of advance discussion with systems staff, and booking of labs etc. might be an issue if we were adding new ones, but having some is now routine. Lab machines are "locked down" without internet access. Students work as normal, then submit using a variant of the usual submit mechanism. You collect their submissions similarly to submitted coursework.

Information about students

The university's student information system EUCLID, available via MyEd , holds information about individual students, e.g., what courses they take and what marks they get for them. Rules for using this information are basically "be professional": you have access to far more information than you need, use it for legitimate work purposes only.

-- PerditaStevens - 24 Jun 2013

Topic revision: r5 - 04 Nov 2013 - 21:32:56 - Main.mrovatso
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