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.

7.2.3  Team Teaching

The Interdisciplinary Capstone Core seminars may be team taught by professors representing contrasting disciplines, or taught by a single individual who has expertise in both disciplines. These courses are caped at 19 students per instructor (i.e., 38 if two instructors). All other team teaching must be approved by the Dean(s) of the relevant College(s). The very nature of teach teaching demands that both instructors be present for all class meetings.

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
  •  Spendthe 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
Fordham University offers faculty a rich array of teaching resources including smart classrooms; computer labs; electronic reserves (ERes) for digitized course documents; the plagiarism software tool, Turnitin; Blackboard, our course management system; video conferencing, and Echo 360 for lecture video recordings. Fordham IT hosts many workshops, trainings, and private instruction so faculty can use these resources effectively in their research and teaching. More information and resources are found on the university website, 

Faculty Tab at 
Many of the resources listed above are also accessed on the faculty tab, located inside, the university’s portal. The faculty tab also provides personalized information, including teaching schedules, class lists, and online grading. 

Every course at Fordham University has a corresponding space on Blackboard. Faculty must activate their course on the site and populate it with course material before their students can use this online classroom space. Blackboard trainings are offered throughout semester, and online support is available at 

Blackboard is accessed from the portal by clicking on the Blackboard icon at the top right. Outside the portal, use the URL 

In Blackboard faculty can find their current and recent courses listed under “My Courses.” All registered students should appear in the course register the week before classes start. If your current course is not listed, send the following information in an email to
 • Full course title 
 • CRN # • Section # (e.g., 003, 01A, etc.) 
 • School or department 
 • Semester the course will be taught (fall, spring, summer). 

Smart Classrooms & Media Services 
Most classrooms are equipped with one computer and audio/visual equipment. If a problem occurs with any of this equipment, use the phone in the classroom to connect directly to Media Services or use your own phone to call the media team located on your campus: 
 • Rose Hill: 718-817-4170 
 • Lincoln Center: 212-636-6313 
 • Westchester: 914-367-3349 

Fordham University AccessIT ID 
Your AccessIT ID is your electronic identity for using Fordham University’s online applications. Use your AccessIT ID every time you access 
 • Fordhamwifi, the wireless network on all three campuses 
 • MyFiles, a network-based file storage system 
 • Blackboard 
 • Virtual Private Network 
 • Fordham Network Access Control 
 • Gmail and other Fordham-based Google applications 

If you do not have your AccessIT ID, you must claim it. Go to, select “Claim Account” below the Secure Access Login, and follow the prompts. Fordham University requires all employees to change their password every 180 days; reminders will be sent prior to the expiration date of your current password. 

New faculty and adjuncts can access once they are registered with Human Resources. Call them at 718-817-4930 to find out if you are registered and your Fordham Identification Number (FIDN). 

If you need assistance with obtaining your AccessIT ID and/or setting your password, please call IT Customer Care’s Faculty Hotline at 718-817-1111. 

Gmail at Fordham University 
Your Fordham Gmail address is your AccessIT For example, if your AccessIT ID is dd1234, then your Gmail address is 

Your Gmail account is immediately available for use after you claim your AccessIT ID. To access Fordham Gmail in, click the Gmail icon on the top right. Alternatively, use the URL 

IT Customer Care (ITCC) 
IT Customer Care is available for all Fordham University students, staff and faculty. They address questions and problems with initial computer setup, your computer’s operating system, software applications, claiming your AccessIT ID, Gmail, and wireless and network connections. IT Customer Care can be reached by phone or in person during regular business hours, and by email. There is also an online service request form, located here: 

Contact information and operating hours for ITCC: 
718-817-1111 (Faculty only) 
718-817-3999 (General use) or 
Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM; Saturdays, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

Walk-In Centers Regular Hours (check our website for summer hours)
Rose Hill, McGinley 229
Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM; Saturdays, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Lincoln Center, Lowenstein SL19
Monday - Friday, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM; closed on Saturdays


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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