Teaching FAQs

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Teaching Questions
  • I need help with assignment design. Who can help me?

OFE can help you design new assignments (and even tweak and redesign assignments that you already use.)  OFE’s Assignments and Assessments page includes a variety of questions and strategies to consider when designing assignments.  We also offer Assignment and Syllabus Review. Take advantage of a second opinion opportunity by sending in your assignment (or syllabus) for review and suggested revisions. No judgment, just help.

  • How much out-of-class time work is expected?

The University does not have any formal guidelines for students or faculty regarding “homework,” or out-of-class time. If you are looking for a very broad rule-of-thumb, however, you might try this: 2x class time for out-of-class studying and homework. So for a standard 3-credit course that meets 150 minutes, that would be 5 hours a week of out-of-class time. This 2-to-1 guideline makes full-time study (15 credits) a full-time work week (37.5 hrs/week).  The reality is that courses, professors, and students all vary tremendously.  It is helpful to guide your students, however, on what your expectations are.

  • My students tell me that they do not like to work in groups and teams. How can I create meaningful collaborative learning experiences for them?

This may be a common student comment.  But at the same time, we also know that students often look for learning experiences that both engage them and have real-world applications and this is where collaborative learning comes into play. Collaborative learning, whether peer-to-peer or in larger groups, allows students to engage actively together in the course’s work while also developing teamwork skills that have real-world applications. OFE offers questions to consider when using group assignments, types of and samples of assignments and more on its Collaborative Learning: Groups and Teams page. OFE offers Assignment and Syllabus Review. We would be happy to meet with you one-on-one and share with you strategies to consider in designing (and redesigning) your group assignments.  Take advantage of a second opinion opportunity by sending in your assignment or syllabus for review and suggested revisions.

  • What is the policy about incomplete grades?

The University’s Office of the Provost Division of Academic Affairs is responsible for the policy around incomplete student work and incomplete final grades. The grade of “Incomplete” (IN) is used when a student has not completed the required coursework. The IN grade signifies that a grade is being withheld until the required work is completed and approved. Visit Academic Affairs’ Incomplete Work page to learn about the policy and how it is used, its conditions, how it is removed once it has been used, and relevant deadlines.

  • In my classroom, my students often have a diverse range of abilities. How can I better design my course to be more supportive and inclusive so that all can be successful in their learning?

Universal Design for Learning can help you address this common challenge in teaching!  It can help you design and deliver all elements of your course for maximum accessibility to give every student equitable opportunity for success. Accessibility in a course is critical to help all students, no matter their ability.  Would you like to further explore how to apply universal design to your course?  Make a consultation appointment with a Faculty Developer from OFE.   We are here to help!

  • I am teaching an accelerated course. How should I design the course? How can I adapt an existing course for the accelerated format?

OFE offers Assignment and Syllabus Review. We would be happy to meet with you one-on-one and share with you strategies to consider in designing (and redesigning) your course. Take advantage of a second opinion opportunity by sending in your assignment or syllabus for review and suggested revisions. No judgment, just help.  We also have resources to assist with Course Design (including Plan Your Course.) 

  • What do I do if an individual student has stopped attending or engaging in class?

Despite a clear attendance policy, things happen – students get sick, struggle with transportation issues, or face family emergencies.  But what should you do when a student has stopped attending class or submitting assignments?  A good first course of action is to reach out to the student by email to check in and perhaps, offer a one-on-one meeting.  If the student is not responsive, you might use Navigate to contact the student’s advisor and the student themselves. You might also alert your point of contact – the person who hired you, program coordinator or chair of your department.  If you have cause for concern, You can contact the CARE team to submit a student of concern form regarding academic and behavioral issues. We address this issue further here under Unresolved Concerns.

  • Where can I send students if they are struggling academically in my class?

If you are concerned about a student’s progress in your course, you can talk to them directly about free tutoring opportunities at CAST on campus, or refer them via Navigate. Make sure students are aware of academic support available in the form of drop-in academic advising through each college or school, appointments and workshops at the Center for Writing Excellence, and the Disability Resource Center. More information here.  

  • I would like to have a better understanding of what my students’ experience on campus is like. Where can I learn about what opportunities are available for students outside of class?

There are many opportunities for students to be involved on campus outside of class. Red Hawk Life showcases a variety of student-development and campus-life resources. The Center For Student Involvement, for example, supports student activities and outreach for residential and commuter students alike. The Engage platform houses information about current events on campus, ranging from clubs to rec sports to performances to student government. 

  • What if I would like to invite a guest speaker to my class?

Contact your department to see if there is any internal funding available for outside speakers.

Internal Guest Speakers: Certain campus partners are available to give presentations and workshops to your class. Among these are:

Practical Questions Related to Teaching
  • Are there teaching supplies such as whiteboard markers and erasers available for adjunct faculty to use?

The University’s adjunct faculty are provided office space and access to printing and other resources through the College/School or department.  Ask the person who hired you or your department administrator about these resources, or contact the Dean’s Office directly.

  • Is there a “dress code” that I should follow when teaching in the classroom?

There is no official dress code, but business casual is typical for instructors. Also, dressing in layers is practical because temperatures in different classrooms tend to vary.

  • I need help with Canvas or other tech resources. Who can help me?

Instructional Technology and Design Services (ITDS) staff are available to assist with all aspects of educational technology, such as Canvas course design and digital pedagogical tools and strategies. Information Technology (IT) handles the University’s computing infrastructure. Contact IT for help with classroom AV issues, laptop loans, and other IT concerns.

  • How do I find out about outdoor spaces?

See Practical Details.

  • Where can I find the University’s health and safety protocols and policies?

All information and updates will be found on the COVID-19 Information website. Please note that COVID-19 procedures changed on May 11, 2023.

  • What if I, the instructor, am unable to attend a class for illness or other another reason?

You should communicate with your department chair to make arrangements for covering classes. In some cases holding the class online (if you were able to do that) may be an acceptable arrangement, though most instructors find that if they hold class online once, students will clamor for more.

Questions about Modalities
  • How can I understand the modalities offered at Montclair?

The University has created this helpful How Are Classes Being Offered document to help instructors and students understand the modality of their classes. 

  • Can I change my teaching modality?

No. Faculty are required to teach the modality that they are hired to teach.  In fact, you are discouraged from attempting to teach in multiple modalities as it will lessen the class experience provided by the original modality.

  • Are there any differences in retention between online and F2F modalities?

Yes.  Online courses and programs typically struggle with retention more so than is the case with F2F courses and programs.  Instructors teaching fully online should be watching for engagement/activity, and seek to re-engage students who drop off and report problems and concerns in Navigate, requesting tutoring, studying skills, or even help to navigate Canvas, if that’s appropriate, or simply to provide information for advisers.

  • How is Hawk2Hawk different from the traditional F2F classroom setting? 

It isn’t.

  • If students receive 3 hours of instructional time per week live, how is instructional time calculated for modalities that meet for less than 3 hours? 

Instructors in this situation need to be sure to provide at least 3 hours per week of instruction, and asynchronous work — reviewing lectures, reading, answering questions, etc. — “count” in this total.  So it’s not difficult to achieve.

  • Do instructors teaching HYBRID modalities need to schedule specific sessions ahead of time with the Registrar?

Yes. Room scheduling is handled by the Registrar’s Office through communication from the Colleges/Schools and departments.  To the extent possible, being very specific about room usage enables the optimal use of our best instructional spaces.

Questions about Mandatory Academic Engagement Assignment

Last Modified: Thursday, June 29, 2023 6:24 pm