Timeline of the Semester: Deadlines, Due Dates, and Preparing for the First Day of Class

As soon as you get hired:

  • Print out the list of Questions to Ask Your Department Chair and ask these at the department as soon as you can. These questions are important to ask because departments differ greatly in their requirements and expectations of instructors.
  • Sign paperwork in your department (usually there is a hire letter).
  • Once paperwork is processed through PeopleSoft (you may have to wait until your department finishes this paperwork), look up your NID (network ID) at the "portal" called myUCF: http://my.ucf.edu
  • Sign paperwork in Human Resources, bringing along your Social Security card and driver's license (or passport).
  • Check with your department if there is a central coordinator who orders textbooks. If not, do it yourself now: https://www.facultyenlight.com/
  • Request a "coursepack" of photocopied material that you want students to buy with their books, if desired.
  • Request a webcourses account, if desired. Webcourses@UCF is a "course management software"; in essence, a way for every instructor to have a webpage without needing to learn HTML (you may hear other faculty refer to this system by its older name, WebCT). Some instructors use it only to host the syllabus online, while others integrate website activities (online quizzes, message boards, learning modules, grade reporting to students) more deeply into their course. Go to http://cdl.ucf.edu/teach-online/ to get started (select "Where Do I Begin").
  • Reverse-engineer any syllabi you inherited from previous instructors, trying to ensure you understand the course objectives and the internal structure/logic of the course. Also, start crafting your own syllabi as needed. Important: consult the syllabus-building tool (which also lists the components required on all UCF syllabi) on our website: http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/syllabus/
  • Order a parking permit online: http://parking.ucf.edu (it can be mailed or picked up in person at the South Parking Garage, but it must be ordered online).
  • Peruse the Faculty Handbook on the Provost's website for further info on the UCF organizational structure, employment information, and pedagogical resources: http://facultyexcellence.ucf.edu/files/2016/10/Faculty-Handbook_9-111.pdf
  • Place materials on Course Reserve at the Library, if desired.

Two weeks before the start of classes:

  • Confirm that the books you ordered are in the UCF Bookstore for students to buy. The Bookstore is located in the John T. Washington Center; click here for the campus map: http://map.ucf.edu/
  • Obtain your faculty ID (this is purely optional for adjuncts) at the UCF Card Office, also in the John T. Washington Center.
  • Bring your faculty ID to the Library and activate it as your library card at the checkout desk, if desired (this is not required).
  • Look for training and orientation opportunities at the Faculty Center: Professors, Visiting Professors, and Instructors are invited to attend the New Faculty Orientation at the start of the Fall Semester; also, adjunct workshops and adjunct retreats occur just prior to every term.

One week before the start of classes:

  • Download your class roster from myUCF: log in to the portal, click on "Faculty/Advisor Self Service" near the top left, and click on "Instructors." Next, select "View Your Class Schedule." The three-person icon can be clicked to view the roster, and if you wish to download to Excel, that link is near the top-right of the roster. If a course is listed with "STAFF" as the instructor rather than your name, you may have to ask someone in your department to print the roster for you. Note: some instructors set up electronic gradebooks in Excel as soon as they have their rosters. For complicated reasons, it's better to wait until the second week of class to create an electronic gradebook.
  • Take note of your class meeting location: if you exported the roster to Excel, you will only find the student info, and it doesn't include the class meeting time, day(s) of the week, or room-you must view these while still online using the Class Roster tool on the portal, or ask the person printing your roster from the department to make sure that information is included.
  • Look up the location of your classroom on the campus map.
  • Preview your classroom(s). How will you use the classroom space? Will you need to bring equipment, like a laptop projector, or lapel microphone? Will you need dry erase markers, or chalk? What about evacuation procedures?

First day of class:

See our section on ideas for the first day of class.

First two weeks of class:

  • Students may freely add and drop classes during the first week. Adds and Drops are not processed after the start of the second week, so your roster will be stabilized at that time. For more information about the academic calendar in any given semester, visit http://calendar.ucf.edu/
  • Start holding office hours as specified on your syllabus. Students tend to worry they are disturbing you, so make an effort to put them at ease when they arrive. To avoid misunderstandings, it's best not to hold office hours in a closed room; at least leave the door partly open.

Throughout the semester:

  • The deadline for students to withdraw from the course occurs several weeks after the add/drop week. This process does not need to involve you. Any students still on the roster who have not withdrawn can simply be given failing grades.
  • It's good practice to create your own course evaluations and distribute these to students part way through the semester. Though they are often called "mid-semester evaluations," they are arguably most effective when given three to five weeks into the term, leaving you enough time to implement any worthwhile ideas.
  • You may also choose to calculate mid-semester grades for each student (this can be done fairly easily in Excel), and provide them to your students using "myUCF grades."

Ending the semester: final exams, reporting grades:

  • Students are given the chance to evaluate the instructor with the "Student Perception of Instruction" form, which will arrive in your inbox from your college or department. These are to administered at some point in the final two weeks of class. There will be directions attached, but three important points to remember are that students must have the chance to fill these out (you don't have the option of not giving these to students), you'll need to be out of the room when they are filled out (you elect a proctor from the students), and these should be administered in the first fifteen minutes of a given class.
  • Look up the date and time for the final exam: http://www.registrar.ucf.edu/calendar/exam and communicate it to your students.
  • Do not give the "final exam" during the last class session (although a chapter test is fine). UCF requires that all classes do meet during final exam week, even if you don't take a final test during that session.
  • To submit grades to the Registrar, you will fill out a "Final Grade Roster" (a bubble form) that is delivered to your department and comes with detailed instructions. Note that in some departments, there will be specialized instructions in addition to the university ones.
  • Students with an "F" grade receive special scrutiny from the Registrar, so you will be asked to indicate the last date the student attended your class. If you do not know, write your best guess.
  • Some courses and departments allow you to report "NC" (no credit) in place of a "D". Higher than an "F" and lower than a "C", this grade is only for courses that have met certain requirements and must be pre-approved. Check with your department chair if in doubt.
  • The "I" (incomplete) grade is usually used in the event of a last-second emergency, such as unexpected hospitalization so that a student had to miss the final exam. If no such unexpected event occurs, the "F" grade is more appropriate. Withdrawals are preprinted as W on the grade sheet and cannot be hand-written on.
  • If you are using Webcourses or "myUCF Grades," be sure to download a final backup of the records before the system is reset between semesters.
  • Keep your grade records a minimum of three years, though it would be wise to keep them in perpetuity.
 

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