Set Up Your Course
Course Administration and Logistics
There are many administrative responsibilities to consider before your course begins. The very outset of the course is the ideal time 1) to identify your course administrative elements, 2) to build your teaching team, 3) to familiarize yourself with essential institutional policies, and 4) to get acquainted with academic integrity policies.
COURSE ADMINISTRATIVE ELEMENTS
Before the term begins, there are six key administrative considerations.
Important Dates and Deadlines
- Accustom yourself to important dates and deadlines for your course, the department, and the University.
- At the University of Toronto, each faculty and division has their own schedule of important dates. Links to most of them can be found on the important dates page on the Current Students website.
- Carefully read departmental memos of essential dates (such as term start and end dates, add/drop deadlines, final exam period) or access this information through your institutional website.
- Be aware that some of the elements of the course will be due far in advance. For example, final exam scripts are usually due before the last day of classes.
Course Readings and Materials
- As soon as possible before the start of the term, select your course readings and course materials.
- You can adopt books and create course packs through the University of Toronto bookstore. Although you can order books for students from outside the university, we recommend that you use the campus bookstore at least for your first class until you have ample time to investigate other options.
- As a course instructor, you can request desk copies of textbooks for yourself and your TAs. Sometimes the campus bookstore can facilitate this process. Desk copies may be in available in hard copy, digital, or both. When time is an issue, it may be worthwhile to have a digital copy as soon as possible.
- Liaison librarians can support your teaching and research; post directly to your course Portal page; support student learning in your class through library research guides, in-class instruction, and drop-in or office hours; and provide a range of services around course readings and copyright. Contact a liaison librarian as soon as possible.
- You can also put books on course reserve through the Course Reserve and Syllabus Service. Check this page for submission deadlines.
- The University of Toronto expects you to be familiar with their Copyright Fair Dealing Guidelines. You will need to be especially attentive to copyright issues when ordering course packs outside of the University.
- Here’s a brief TATP guide of Library Time-Saving Tips for Graduate Student Course Instructors.
- If possible, visit your teaching space to review lighting, acoustics, and available teaching technology.
- You can look at the individual specs of your classroom in advance, including the room capacity, type of seating, and what sort of teaching station is available.
- Keep on top of administrative paperwork. Most paperwork is due at the beginning of the term, for example: course syllabi, marking schemes, and description of duties and allocation of hours (DDAH) forms for teaching assistants. Some will also be due at the end of the term.
- Be sure to document everything related to the course. For example, save all correspondence, including email, for at least one year in case the department asks for these materials later.
- Find out how to access administrative resources before your class begins.
- Where is your office? Is there a department phone number for students to reach you? Where is the printer and/or copier? Do you need a code to use it? Do you need keys after hours? Where is the department drop box?
Course Webpage and Online Learning Portals
- Set up your Portal course shell and ideally make it available to students before the class begins.
- To set up your Portal page, visit the Academic Technology Information & Portal Information website or consult the website of Portal Help Contacts about specific issues.
- The office of Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) can help you more broadly with online tools and educational technology. If you would like to use particular educational technologies in your course, begin by consulting the Academic & Collaborative Technologies’ (ACT) EdTech Catalogue. If you still have questions, ACT offer workshops and individual consultations.