This page offers guidance on all aspects of undergraduate teaching at William & Mary, from developing a new course to grading and course evaluations.
The COLL curriculum is W&M’s General Education Curriculum, and all faculty are encouraged to consider teaching courses that fulfil COLL requirements.
Developing a New Course
If you have a great idea for a new course, there are plenty of people you can consult on campus to help you develop it:
Funding for Course Development & Teaching
A&S Faculty Grants Fund - Awards may be used to support classroom activities including performances, workshops, visiting speakers, etc.
COLL Innovation Grant - The CLA has funding available to support faculty as they design and implement courses that bring the best of the liberal arts to our students. We prioritize requests that have concrete connections to current COLL courses, particularly the Campus COLL 300 courses and pilot courses or professional development related to COLL 350.
Office of Diversity & Inclusion Innovative Diversity Efforts Awards
May Seminars - The Charles Center supports seminars that enable faculty collaborations and seminars for specific curriculum development or teaching improvement objectives.
Reves Center Funding - The Reves Center has funding opportunities for faculty to enhance engagement in the international arena.
W&M Washington Center - The Washington Center supports classes that are taught in Washington, D.C.
Learning About Teaching
The Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation (STLI) offers faculty, students, and staff from across disciplines opportunities to collaborate with one another and learn about diverse modes of teaching and learning and new technologies.
STLI offers specific programs and support for new faculty, as well as countless online resources, events, workshops, and one-one-one support on topics ranging from syllabus construction to presentation skills.
Course Management Software (Blackboard and Banner)
W&M uses Blackboard for course management, including an optional grading function, and Banner Faculty for course-related registrar functions, such as viewing your class roster, issuing registration overrides so that students can get into a closed class, and posting grades.
There are many resources for faculty seeking help with Blackboard, including instructions for creating your course Blackboard site. We recommend that you request and populate the site well in advance of the beginning of the semester.
There is also support for Banner users.
Writing a SyllabusA syllabus must be prepared and distributed (electronically and/or in hard copy) for each course. Please be as explicit as possible in your syllabus about your expectations and assignments as this will help to reduce potential issues. Please remember that you may not add or change a major course assignment later in the semester. You may make incremental adjustments to your syllabus, but please give students as much advance, written notice as possible. Changes to the syllabus may not involve a major increase in course responsibilities. At W&M, we recommend including all the following elements in your syllabi:
Ordering books for your course
Books can be ordered through the W&M Bookstore. Students can rent or buy their textbooks online and the store offers a price match program with bn.com and Amazon.com. Books are ordered through the Adoptions & Insights Portal in Blackboard.
The bookstore also buys back eligible used textbooks from students.
Please order your books as much in advance as possible, and make sure that any reading assignment you give during the first week of classes is also available in an alternative form (i.e., BlackBoard posting, copy of text in the library, web-source). Even when students order books for overnight delivery, it can take some time for them to be distributed through campus mail once they reach W&M.
Building an Inclusive Classroom Community
A&S is committed to welcoming and supporting all students in every course and every classroom.
Final Exams and Projects
A final examination is expected in all courses except seminars, colloquia, studio, or writing courses where final examinations may be unnecessary or inappropriate. The Arts & Sciences Faculty Manual states that final exams must be three hours in length, unless a shorter length is specified in the syllabus.
The day and time of final exam or project is determined by the Office of the University Registrar. Faculty may not change the time or date of the exam. If you assign a paper or take-home exam in lieu of a 3-hour in-person exam, it is due during the scheduled final exam period for your section.
Except for final laboratory examinations (including language laboratories and performance courses), senior thesis projects, on-campus COLL300 courses, independent study projects and one-credit courses, no test or final examinations may be given during the last week of classes or during the period between the end of classes and the beginning of the examination period or during any reading period.
Other assignments, such as projects, short quizzes, homework and papers may be due during the last week of classes as long as they do not total more than 25% of the final grade. There is no restriction on material due during the regularly scheduled final exam period.
Course Evaluations are conducted online using the Blue/Evaluation system by eXplorance. This system allows the university to fully automate all course evaluations and customize them to the specific needs of each department, school and course.
A&S faculty should direct questions to your department or program administrator who can assist you with navigating the evaluation site as well as provide information about department/program specific processes.
Student Privacy (FERPA), Blackboard Policy and Emails to Students
Exceptions to these rules must be specifically authorized by the Assistant Deans of Undergraduate Studies and communicated to the University Registrar. The University Registrar's Office will work with Information Technology to audit compliance with this policy. Although the above is a general policy, it should be specifically applied to the use of Blackboard.
Anyone added to your course as an Instructor, Teaching Assistant, or Grader will have access to view and edit the grades of all students in your courses. Therefore, as a general rule, teaching assistants (whether graduate or undergraduate) should not be given one of these designations if they are participating in managing your course through blackboard (or any other course management system). You should use the Bb roles “Builder” or “Student” or “Guest” for non-enrolled students who are helping you with a course.
Please remember that if you are communicating with more than one student in your class, you must place all student email addresses in the BCC line in order to provide privacy.
Communicating with a Student's Parent or Guardian.
Due to FERPA regulations, you are not permitted to discuss a student's grades, performance, or attendance with a parent or guardian or other concerned party UNLESS the student has signed a waiver. This information can be found in Banner, but if you are not completely sure that a waiver has been signed, you cannot discuss the student's record, regardless of how insistent the parent or guardian may be.