Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Constructive Notes for Teaching

7 Constructive Notes for Teaching

7.1 Books

The Higher Education Opportunity Act provisions that went into effect on July 1, 2010 require that colleges and universities provide students, as practical, information about required textbooks (including ISBNs) on the online course listing. The goal of this requirement is to provide the students with the greatest flexibility in obtaining their textbooks. The University’s compliance with this federal requirement will be met by linking faculty orders placed with the bookstore to the course listings. After students register for classes, a “Textbook” link will appear at the bottom of the registration page. This link connects directly to the University bookstore’s website where the student will find a list of the assigned textbooks including pricing and ISBN numbers. Therefore, it is essential for faculty to reply to the bookstore’s request for book orders as early as possible. 

Required reading should be ordered through the Barnes & Nobles Bookstore, on the campus at which the course is offered, during the previous semester. If an instructor must use a book that the bookstore is unable to order, he or she should locate copies of this book and inform the students of the location. Do not require a book unless the text is used in the course. Whenever possible, the instructor should also place a copy of the text in library’s reserve room. 

Information regarding the B&N College bookstore can be found on the University’s website: To order books, click on the appropriate campus and then click FACULTY in the heading of the site. Questions concerning book orders or problems with the on-line ordering site can be directed to book store management either my phone or email: 718-817-3400 or for Rose Hill and Westchester ; 212-636-6080 or for Lincoln Center. 

In addition, Bob Steves, Assistant University Treasurer, serves as the designated University liaison between faculty and the B&N College Bookstore to assist in resolving faculty concerns regarding the Bookstore. He can be contacted at (718- 817-4945) or via email at

7.2  Class Time

7.2.1  Class Length

Classes vary in length in the University’s colleges.  The meeting times for classes are listed in the Course Offerings Booklet.  Classes last from 50 to 150 minutes. Some begin on the hour, some on the half-hour.  Moreover, courses can meet anywhere from one to five days a week.

 It is expected that faculty will arrive at their classroom 5 minutes before their course begins and end on time.  Faculty should vacate the classroom no later than 5 minutes after the course ends.

7.2.2  Writing

Time given to the analysis of student writing at any time in any course is always useful, perhaps even more useful than covering a specific topic in greater detail.  Teaching writing does not subtract from time spent on course objectives, but is in fact another way to deliver course content.  Instruction in writing about a topic is a way to cover the topic.  Teaching writing is a useful way to teach analysis and speaking as well.

The most effective way to encourage good writing is to have the student hand in the paper at each of the different stages of development; i.e., data gathering and notes, first rough draft, final draft.  A paper simply tacked on at the end of a semester invites careless work or worse. Students need not "hand in" drafts, but breaking up the writing process and somehow checking in with students to offer guidance, feedback and support during that process is instructive and effective.

7.3 Classroom Concerns

7.3.1 Grading

Be consistent and fair in grading. This does not mean that everyone must pass, but it does mean that C work for one student should measure C work for another. If participation or effort is a part of the grade, this fact must be stated clearly in the syllabus. Consistency may be improved by grading one question on all the exams before moving on the next question and by grading "blind" (not checking the identity of the student until after the paper is graded).

7.3.2 Grade Inflation

Please be vigilant about grade inflation. It is the Dean's responsibility to remind faculty, via the Department Chairperson, if and when grades are inflated. Recurrent grade inflation destroys the credibility of the College within the academic community and does a disservicetoall concerned. It should be noted that subjecting students to a very harsh academic regimen that falls outside of the norms and practices of the college is also not desirable.

7.3.3 Classroom Suggestions

Students need metacognitive structures – knowledge about their own knowledge – in order to better grasp, recall, and make use of the knowledge they glean in a course.  Here are some suggestions:

• Hit the ground running on the first day by offering grand overviews of the course.

• Devote a few minutes of each class to review what was said the last time, or to focus the direction of the lecture or course.  Help students make connections by explaining how the topics of the day fit within the unit being covered and within the larger outlines of the course. 

• Help students make connections by explaining how the topics of the day fit in the wider field and how they connect to other disciplines, and why these topics are important

• Spend the last meeting or two of a course wrapping up the various topics and returning to the big picture, as opposed to cramming in the last two chapters of the text.

• As a matter of professional courtesy, the classroom should be left in its original configuration.

• Make a point of discussing teaching strategies with other instructors.  We can all learn from each other.

7.3.4 Homework

Homework is an expected part of every student's classroom experience. It is an essential measure for the student to gauge his or her progress in the course. Hence it should be collected regularly, corrected carefully, and returned promptly.

7.3.5  Information Technology Resources for Teaching

There are numerous teaching resources at Fordham, including Smart Classrooms, Computer Classrooms, ERes, Turnitin and Blackboard. Information on these resources can be found on the university website


For Fordham’s instructional staff access to all the above resources, plus a variety of faculty services, including your own teaching schedule, your class lists and on line grading is available by clicking on the Faculty Tab associated with Fordham University’s portal


In order to access you must first claim your AccessIT ID.


How do I claim my AccessIT ID?

Your AccessIT ID is your electronic identity for logging into Fordham University online services and web applications, including the University Portal (, the wireless network, network based file storage (MyFiles), Blackboard, VPN, Fordham NAC, and FACTS (the Fordham IT Knowledge Base).

Your AccessIT ID is the part of your Fordham e-mail address preceding the “@” symbol.  For example, if your AccessIT ID is smith01, then your email address at Fordham would be:

If you don't have an AccessIT ID, go to and click the "Click Here to claim your AccessIT ID and set your password" link in the First Time Users box. After clicking, you will be asked if you have a one-time password. If you do, your password and AccessIT ID would have been e-mailed to the personal email address you have on file with the University. If not, just click No and proceed to review and agree to the posted policies.

If you need assistance with setting your AccessIT ID and password, please call IT Customer Care’s Faculty Hotline at 718.817.1111.


If you are a new faculty member or adjunct, you gain access to these resources once you are registered with Human Resources. You can call Human Resources (718) 817 4930 to be sure you are registered. Human Resources will also provide you with your Fordham Identification Number (FIDN). Your Fordham e-mail address will be your AccessIT As soon as you claim your AccessIT ID, your e-mail account is available for use. To access your Fordham e-mail, click the 'G-Mail' icon on the top right on the Portal header and it will open in a new window. We recommend that you change your password once you have successfully accessed your account to avoid any unauthorized use.


IT Customer Care

Fordham IT Customer Care is comprised of the IT Help Desk and the IT Customer Care Centers located at the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses.   Fordham IT Customer Care is available for all Fordham University students, staff and faculty. Any questions or problems with your computer’s operating system, initial computer setup, software applications, account claiming via, e-mail access, wireless and internet or network connection may be directed to IT Customer Care by phone or e-mail.


Phone for Faculty: (718) 817-1111 | E-mail:
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Online Service Request Form:

In person help is available through our IT Customer Care Centers which also provide warrantee hardware support.
Rose Hill: McGinley Center, Room 229, Monday–Friday 8am – 8pm
Lincoln Center: Room SL19A, Monday–Friday 10am – 6pm

On the Faculty Tab associated with the University portal, you will find a listing of Teaching Resources. Among them are:

o         Faculty Technology Centers which includes information on Blackboard, Turnitin, Faculty websites and ITAC blogs

o         Instructional Technology/Academic Computing which includes information on Media Services, Computer labs, Smart Classrooms and Video Conferencing;

o         Center of Teaching Excellence which includes Teacher’s Links, Quick Links to a variety of resources on one page.



A variety of material on using Blackboard is available at

You can access Blackboard itself from the portal by clicking on the Blackboard icon at the top right, or going directly to

Among the most commonly asked questions on this topic is, “How do I get a course on Blackboard?” 

All official Fordham courses should automatically appear under "My Courses" and all registered students should be enrolled by the week before classes start.  If not, send the following in an e-mail to

1)             Full course title

2)             CRN #

3)             Section # (e.g. 003, 01A, etc.)

4)             School or department for each

5)             Semester the course will be taught (fall, spring, summer).


Smart Classrooms/Media Services

If a problem occurs in a smart classroom, use the phone nearby which should connect you directly to Media Services. 

If this is unsuccessful, you can contact Media Services at:

·                      Rose Hill: (718) 817-4170

·                      Lincoln Center: (212) 636-6313

·                      Westchester: (914) 367-3349


7.3.6 Center for Teaching Excellence

The University Strategic Plan, Toward 2016, called for the creation of a Center for Teaching Excellence whose primary duty is to support all who teach at Fordham in their pursuit of excellence as teachers. The Center was inaugurated in February, 2008 to support a renewed core curriculum. Among the Center’s growing menu of services and activities:

1)         one-on-one consultations, in-person and video-recorded classroom observations, and assistance with mid-term classroom feedback

2)         interdisciplinary course development grants (up to $5000)

3)         grants to initiate pedagogy development programs (up to $5000)

4)         assistance for travel to conferences about post-secondary teaching

5)         workshops at all three Fordham campuses in best teaching practices and in course design

6)         a yearly distinguished guest lecture in Jesuit Pedagogy

7)         a website providing resources for teachers


7.4 Suggestions from the Students

The following are suggestions that our best students frequently present to us: 

•   Challenge them! The best classes are those that are the most demanding.
•   Make the most of classroom and office hours. Be on time.
•   Make a point to monitor student attendance. 
•   Teach students the meaning of deadlines. Repeated extensions are more of a disservice than a favor, and they discriminate against the punctual student. 
•   Do not mistake personality for good teaching technique. While some personality can be used to get over the dry spots, there is nothing like a well organized lecture/discussion to put life into a classroom. 
•   Proctor examinations very carefully.

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