127

In general, yes, a teacher should know how to do any assignment and, in some cases, should have actually done it. In teaching programming, for example, it is usually a mistake to assign a problem that the instructor hasn't essentially done themselves. The reason is that one of the tasks in making assignments is to estimate the effort and time required to do ...


124

You agreed to write this letter, and it is due tomorrow (!). Reneging on your promise would effectively torpedo the student's applications, as they are very unlikely to find another recommender on one day's notice. Given that you haven't even confronted them yet (much less convicted them), this would be altogether unjust. (Clearly, your dilemma would be very ...


97

Your proposed system reduces to the case where all assignments have their deadlines effectively at the end of the course. Courses with such a system do exist, but I am not aware how common this is. One reason I can think of as to why early deadlines may help is the ability to give feedback. Providing feedback for each assignment before the next allows the ...


83

I think I'm going to be fundamentally disagreeing with a lot of the answers here. Nice numbers definitely make problems easier, and I make a habit of using them when first introducing a concept; they make the students more comfortable, and let them focus on the key idea that I'm trying to teach. But I never rely on nice numbers for tests or assignments. ...


73

This is called the curse of knowledge. From Wikipedia: The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand. [...] For example, in a classroom setting, teachers have difficulty teaching novices because they cannot put themselves ...


71

Your department defers to you as the final authority on the student’s grade, and for a good reason: because you are the only person who sees the full picture of the student’s performance and the context in which it was assessed. The department can give you high-level guidance and advice, but that is never a substitute for an instructor’s reasoned judgment ...


66

It's totally appropriate especially for first year students. Learning college level study skills is one of the crucial tasks of the first year. Additionally, many students whose parents did not attend college (and even some who do have such parents) are totally unaware that they can do things such as attend office hours or email the professor if they need ...


65

When dealing with angry students, your number one priority should be to de-escalate the situation and bring it back to a more factual ground. That means you want to: Stay calm. Even if you are getting agitated yourself, you should never let it show through in your answer (easier via email than personally, but the same principle applies independently of the ...


60

Student feedback can sometime be a difficult thing for a teacher, and it is sometimes inappropriate that teaching quality is measured in terms of student feedback. Let me explain this by means of anecdotes. Imagine a colleague who is a good performer, much as a stand-up comedy act. They give good jokes, tell stories, show interesting films. How would many ...


57

Welcome to higher education! Students will use formal assesement to guide their learning, and no amount of cajoling, or appealing to their sense professional or intellectual propriety will change that. Some students will always work above and beyond what the assessment requires of them, but most won't. Assessment is how students comprehend what is the stated ...


55

The game is: you listen, but then, you decide. Just because students don't like something, you do not have to do what they ask. Check whether what they say has merit, if so, you can promise to change for next year (or for the current if there is enough flexibility). Well-designed courses often cannot be massively adapted on the fly. I always explain to ...


54

1: You can't give out model answers or detailed corrections until the deadline has passed. After all, it'd be pretty unfair if Student A submitted on time without having seen model answers, and Student B submitted late and had model answers (or a friend's work with the academic's corrections) to copy from. And if you delay giving out corrections or grades ...


52

If I understand correctly, the professor has: assigned readings facilitated online discussions given written assignments and quizzes, and graded them But: the professor does not himself participate in any activities (lectures or discussion) the online discussion format does not lead to many useful interactions with peers the professor gives only ...


50

I think the focus on ethics is a bit misguided. If your professor genuinely believes that asking ambiguous, "what's in my pocket"-type questions (a closely related concept is that of a "gotcha" question) on an exam is an appropriate testing strategy and serves a useful pedagogical purpose, then I cannot say that they are behaving ...


48

The answer depends on your goals. If you have plans to work in academia, eventually you might find yourself on a track to becoming a professor yourself. In this role, you are expected to teach. Hence, you should be able to prepare teaching materials of high quality to support your teaching and benefit students' learning. The sooner you start working on your ...


48

Have you considered offering an Incomplete instead of immediately offering a pass or fail grade? This might be a compromise you could suggest which wouldn't automatically pass the student without the work being completed, while still allowing them the opportunity to complete that work and pass the class. Having been in a similar teaching situation this ...


45

As the comments suggest, just ignore it. You will always have disgruntled students even if you do a great job. Some will blame you for their own shortcomings. But the best "defense" against such negative comments is the positive comments from those who think you served them well. If those appear also, then a reader can easily judge it for what it is. If ...


41

It would be unethical for a professor to publish something written by students under the professor’s name without express consent (which is to be given free of any coercive pressure) and coauthorship for the student. (See this recent discussion on a related type of abuse.) It would also be self defeating and something that no competent professor I’ve met ...


41

I started my academic career as a high school teacher. As part of earning the credential to teach high school, I had to go through a semester-long "internship" as a student teacher---I taught in a classroom under the close supervision of a veteran instructor. One of the first bits of feedback I got was that I had a tendency to say that a problem ...


38

Can I become a tenure-track prof in one dept (biology) and teach in a different dept (math) with only one PhD? TL;DR: no. Long answer: I was for several years the chair of a mathematics department and during that time oversaw teaching assignments for the 200-odd courses offered yearly by my department. I can recall only one case in which my department ...


36

I do provide recordings. At my former university it was a policy to do that, but I had started it already before when I didn't have to. Where I am now I can decide whether I want to do it, and I do. A major reason why I'm doing it is because students love it - at both universities, as long as it wasn't obligatory, students in the feedback always asked for ...


36

Even despite repeated reminders, exams can be a tense time. Some students may honestly forget, and it would be overly harsh to deny them their exam for this. OTOH, some students may do this deliberately as a way to game the system for a little more time, and that should be discouraged. I'm not sure you have the authority to completely address this on your ...


36

If a teacher is speaking to one student and has evidence that the student now grasps something, then is fine. Otherwise, I'd worry about such things. Every student is different and some will fail to grasp an important point for various reasons. Sometimes it is something that the teacher said that the student misinterpreted and was misled. Those of us who ...


33

In a similar situation, I have held time at the beginning of the exam to fill out the needed information. Once everyone is there, tell them to start writing their names on the test. You can see them all paging through the test quickly. Have them close their test and put their pencils down when they're done, and let everyone start the test when everyone's ...


31

I'm going to address this from a student's point of view. I was recently a mathematics student and I was involved in department meetings on this exact subject. I have little in the way of a direct answer, but there are many things that I think that I can bring up that you will not have considered. For reference, I think that I've lived through the full ...


31

You are asking the question incorrectly. The grades alone don't tell whether the course is too easy. After all, upper division students have already proven themselves in earlier courses and the ones still there should be better "on average" than those in the first courses. To improve the question, ask yourself what it is necessary for students to ...


29

Since cultural differences may be important here: I'm in germany. As you say, the teaching staff in academia learns teaching mostly in a form of training on the job. Pedagogy training for university teaching staff is a rather recent advance here, and I'm not sure how widespread that is done (read: likely still rare). Within that system, you have to ...


28

I am wondering if it would be appropriate for me to assign Youtube videos as lectures? Or would this be considered unprofessional/frowned upon/likely not allowed? My short answer: No, this is not unprofessional or inappropriate. Give your students the best materials that help them understand the content. If someone else puts something in an easy-to-follow ...


27

It may well be that some students cannot attend the “live” lectures. International students who could not travel on-site may face a significant time-zone difference. There might be bandwidth issues: some students who share internet connections with brothers or sisters might not be able to tune-in for live lectures. These are exceptional times: pre-pandemic ...


27

The fact is that institutional norms and expectations regarding teaching vs research for faculty vary widely. At my current institution, teaching is very important. At my previous institution, no one really cared. Basically, I would not voice this opinion in any strong way unless you want to make your life difficult. It would only work if the faculty member ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible