First-Day Guidelines

To Get Ready

  • Check out location and appropriateness of assigned room
  • Arrange well in advance any audiovisual, multimedia, or experimental equipment required
  • Order and verify arrival of textbooks at bookstore/reference materials in library; make arrangements for any other reading, photocopying
  • Meet with teaching assistants, if applicable
  • Prepare a syllabus, including all or most of the following:
    • Your name, office location, office hours, phone number, and email address
    • The same information on your TA(s)
    • Course description/course objectives
    • Lecture-by-lecture or weekly topics
    • Readings and their location
    • Course requirements/prerequisites
    • Scheduling of exams, papers, or other assignments
    • Grading policy, including any penalties for late or missed work
    • Discussion of academic honesty/dishonesty and such issues as what constitutes plagiarism
    • Sources of assistance with course material such as tutoring resources, manuals for equipment, etc.

On the First Day: Basics and Beyond

  • Introduce yourself/have the students introduce themselves or each other
  • Discuss syllabus and/or course goals
  • Explain choice of textbook/readings, relationship of readings to lectures and/or reviews
  • Ask the students questions, get them to ask questions—establish a give-and-take atmosphere
  • Introduce material that gives the flavor of the class and connect it with courses or experiences that students have already had