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Starting The Year

What phone numbers should I have in my cell phone in case of an emergency?

Call the Non-Emergency number for Campus Police if you are locked out of your classroom.

Where do I get a key card to access Thornton Hall during the weekends and Evenings?

Email a request to the math office, cc: the chair, and you should receive a card within about 2 weeks. Be specific about which buildings you want access to.

What's the difference between Math 59 and 60?

The obvious differences are that 59 has an extra weekly hour and the 59 students scored lower on the ELM. Less obvious is that there is a lot of support structure for these students (see Tutoring and Other Support).

Do I need lesson plans done before the year starts?

No, but you really should plan out a good chunk of the year beforehand. You should look over the material in the official syllabus and think about what themes you want to emphasize and develop. Check out the GTA Teaching Binder, both online and in person in copy room, in the upper cabinets across from the copy machine.

How do you keep grades?

There is no standard way; you should find a way that you are comfortable with. Some people use iLearn (see the Q on iLearn); others use an Excel spreadsheet (that’s what I use); some swear by various software packages. Some people had success last year with Gradekeeper. -EH

Do I have an office? Where do I get the keys?

Yes you have an office, which you will share with a number of GTAs, and you should get the keys just after orientation at the beginning of the semester. You’ll have to clean out the office for winter break and summer break.

Do I have office hours? How long and where?

You must offer at least one office hour per 3 unit course. They should be held in your office, naturally. You should coordinate with your officemates to avoid overlapping office hours. -EH

What phone number and other contact information should I give to my students?

I would avoid giving a home number, and instead offer an e-mail address (or Skype name or AIM name, etc.) with a campus phone. Your office does have a phone number!

The SFSU phone system can be confusing. The first (white) section of the SFSU Telephone Directory contains detailed telephone instructions for D-Term phone users (i.e. voice mail user’s guide, phone functions, etc.)

If you are experiencing telecommunications difficulties or require telecommunications assistance (i.e. require a new extension, do not know your extension, need to transfer an extension from one room to another, etc.) please send the following information to statmath@math.sfsu.edu:

How many students will there be? What do I do about the wait list?

The class population is capped at 40 to ensure your effectiveness and physical comfort of the room. Since that number is already too high, you should do your best not to let more students in. The department will open enough sections for everyone to have a section.

On the first day, some official students may not be there. If they aren’t there by the end of the class, drop them and give their spot to people on the wait list. You need to give the new open spots either through some random process or in the wait list order. You are not allowed to give priority to seniors or another other criteria. -EH

If you decide to let someone in, you will need to give them a permit number--this can be found online at Faculty Login, next to your class rooster. Here is a memo that describes how to handle permit numbers electronically. However, DO NOT give permits to students who have taken that course before at SFSU! See the next question for elaboration.

(NEW) What about students who have already failed my class before?

Students are only allowed to attempt any remedial math course ONCE through the regular university. If a student does not pass, they cannot repeat the course as they would have in the past by simply re-taking it. A “one-strike” and you’re out policy have been instituted due to budget cuts. They has one of three options:

1. Enroll in remedial math through the College of Extended Learning. They will have to pay an additional fee (approx. $225) to take the course.

2. Enroll in an equivalent course at a community college and transfer over the math credit.

3. Re-take the ELM and try to place out of the remedial class they did not pass.

If a student re-takes math 60 elsewhere and passes, the student can return to regular university to take math 70.

NO instructor is allowed to issue permit numbers to students who did not pass remedial math their first try. You will certainly be approached by these students once the semester starts (we have had a flood of calls to the dept.); please convey the above three options to them, and DO NOT issue them a permit number. - Nicole Clark

What should I put in my syllabus?

There are a number of non-obvious things that people are required to put in their syllabus, so I would start from the standard syllabus we give you and work from there. -EH

As you know, the University requires you to prepare a syllabus for each of your classes. You can print the syllabus and distribute it to your students, or you can post the syllabus to a web site publicized to the class. The minimum required is an explanation of your grading system, but I ask that you include much more.

I like to include all my assignments and exam dates in my own syllabi. Students appreciate knowing what they have to do for the semester, and the syllabus keeps me on schedule.

Whatever else you include, please keep the standard text on: Incompletes, Withdrawals, Disabilities and Religious Holidays. -DM

What are the Add, Drop and Withdrawal deadlines this year?

You can find the Academic Calendar online.

What is iLearn?

This is the new replacement for Blackboard. Students are automatically signed up for an iLearn class and it can be used to distribute grades securely, assignments and more. If you are interested, log in at http://ilearn.sfsu.edu using your SFSU ID and passcode, and see which classes have been set up for you. Explore. One common issue is that you have to be sure to “make your course accessible” to students before they can see it. Go to your settings and find this important option hidden in the middle of the page. For more help, check out the iLearn help pages.