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Course Logistics

Syllabi

The syllabus is an important communication tool that shares information about course content, goals, and required elements, and is a guide for students about the type of learning they can expect. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to state course policy (e.g., deadlines, absences, grading, accommodations, etc.). Check out the exemplary online syllabus for Stats 191!

Courses with variable units should adhere to the University's policy regarding the amount of work required of the student. Stanford's long-standing policy, which is in compliance with the federal definition, is published in the Stanford Bulletin, and states that every unit for which credit is given is understood to represent approximately three hours of actual work per week for the average student. This policy is in compliance with federal regulations. Therefore, a student taking a course for 3 units, for example, should be required to complete less work than a student taking the same course for 5 units. This differential should be clearly detailed on the syllabus indicating specifically what the difference in workload will be.

The University does not require that instructors identify grading metrics and weighting of assignments on syllabi nor does the School maintain such a policy. It is important, however, that syllabi include grading information to (1) be transparent about how the work will be graded, (2) provide students with the information that they need to select an appropriate grade basis for the course, and (3) to ensure consistency in assessment across students.

Syllabi should also include course learning goals. For additional information see the link below in the Course Evaluations section.

Note: Each year, students file academic grievances claiming that (1) the instructor failed to provide adequate information about grading which resulted in the student electing an inappropriate grade basis for the course, (2) the instructor graded students in a differential manner, or (3) grading was not consistent with the syllabus. When reviewing a grievance, the instructor is asked to provide the syllabus and detail how the grading was consistent with the published information.

See Creating a Syllabus and the OAE Syllabus Statement for more information.

Canvas

Canvas is the cloud-based learning management system offered by Stanford to support current and evolving teaching and learning needs.

You can use Canvas to:

  • organize your course using an integrated calendaring and syllabus system, content modules, and communication stream
  • stimulate active learning, critical thinking and reflection with discussion forums
  • leverage built-in faculty and student audio and video recording functionality (in assignments, quizzes, discussions, web conferencing) to maximize interaction outside the classroom
  • save time grading using SpeedGrader
  • access your course using a mobile app (iPhone, iPad and Android devices)
  • easily set up assessment tools that track, grade, and communicate student outcomes

Learn the basics about Canvas.

Other useful teaching tools: Gradescope and Piazza.

Course Evaluations

The new end-term course evaluations, introduced in Autumn Quarter 2015-16, are designed to:

  • Focus on learning
  • Increase student self-reflection
  • Provide instructors and departments with useful data
  • Be customized and relevant to each course
  • Support broad Stanford priorities: using feedback to improve student learning, courses, and programs, and using analytics to address critical questions

The new forms are shorter and easier to fill out. Answers to one question, "What would you like to say about this course to a student who is considering taking it in the future?”, are released to Stanford students to enable them to share their experiences.

When customizing your course evaluation text, you’ll be asked to describe the learning goals of your course. Visit Writing Learning Goals to learn how to articulate those goals and to see good examples of learning goals in various disciplines.

TAs

TA appointments are typically for 10 hours per week. Duties include holding office hours, grading (homework, tests, exams), preparing solutions and teaching sections. They do not prepare for or teach lectures. TAs not holding sections should schedule office hours for at least two hours per week, either two hours together or one hour twice a week. Office hours should not be held in the student offices. If the demand for grading is such that it exceeds the hourly availability of the TAs, the department may provide paid graders. Contact the Student Services Manager to inquire about the latter.