Effective Practices for Course Administration: A Checklist for Academic Units

This checklist is intended as a resource to highlight effective practices for course preparation and delivery, communication, and document management within your unit.

The Dean and Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning ask that you identify the appropriate individual(s) in your unit to take on the following tasks each year.

Course Preparation and Delivery

  • Collect and review all course syllabi and marking schemes.
    • Ensure alignment with required syllabus and marking scheme elements as listed in the UTM Academic Handbook (see Section 1)
    • Ensure alignment with the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy
    • Maintain copies of all course syllabi within the unit (print or electronic versions)
  • Collect and maintain copies of course tests and exams within the unit, as much as possible.
    • This may be particularly useful when, and if, emergency copies of tests/exams are needed.
  • Distribute links to the UTM Academic Handbook and the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy to all instructors (including Sessionals, CLTAs, Graduate Student Course Instructors, Post-doc Course Instructors).
    • Ensure instructors, particularly new instructors, are aware that marking schemes may not be changed without the consent of a simple majority of students attending a class (see Section B, 1.3 of the Grading Practices Policy).
  • Distribute a copy of the UTM Continuity Planning Tip Sheet for Instructors.
  • Remind instructors and teaching assistants that original copies of student scantrons should not be removed from campus.  All physical copies of assignments/tests/exams should remain on campus when possible OR be carefully counted and signed in & out when removed from campus.  In all instances, assignments/tests/exams should be kept in a secure location until they are returned to students.
    • Support faculty, where possible, who wish to arrange group grading sessions with their TA teams.
  • A member of the undergraduate support staff should be given unit-level access for the Blackboard pages of all courses that use Blackboard (i.e. Tier 2 access).
  • Provide all instructors with the link to key academic dates from the UTM Academic Calendar, along with any important unit dates or deadlines.
  • Regularly update and maintain information on teaching assignments.
    • Collect and maintain contracts for TAs, Graduate Student Course Instructors, Sessionals, CLTAs, etc
    • Collect initial DDAH forms and check in with instructors at mid-term to see whether adjustments to designated duties have been made as a result of mid-term meetings with TAs.
    • Ensure letters of offer for TAs clearly identify the supervisor (e.g. Instructor; Course/TA Coordinator; Associate Chair, Undergraduate) for TA assignments.

Communication Mechanisms

  • Establish, regularly update and archive unit-level list servs or email lists, for Instructors, TAs and staff.

Maintaining Key Documents

  • Keep a record of who in the unit is collecting the materials/data listed above and where it is being stored.
  • Establish a secure mechanism for maintaining and archiving key documents, including:
    • Course materials
    • Unit level list servs/email lists
    • Employment records

Relevant Documents/Resources:

  • Academic Handbook, University of Toronto Mississauga
  • University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy, University of Toronto (2012)
  • UTM Continuity Planning Tip Sheet for Instructors
  • University of Toronto Mississauga – Important Dates

For more information on policy as it relates to teaching, please contact:

Sara da Silva
Senior Project Specialist: Academic Policy and Planning
Office of the Dean | University of Toronto Mississauga
Phone: 905-828-5224