Ethics In Teaching

Have you ever considered what your view on ethics in teaching is?  As instructors at university, we speak to our students about their ethical conduct, and the need to ensure that submissions are their own work, free of academic misconduct.  But what about as teachers?  Do we have expectations to uphold on our teaching and our approach to teaching?

The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education believes that we should have an ethical standard, a code to guide us in what we do.

You can read their principles and ideas here:

Ethical Principles in University Teaching



Grade Breakdowns

Students always need to know the individual grade items for all the items of assessment in a course.  For instructors, that means that in closing out a course, be sure to let students know the final exam mark, participation grade, and group project or final assignment marks.   The final course mark will be posted for students through the university’s online system.  Marks for individual items of work come from the instructor; since there are no classes after the final exam, instructors are responsible to inform students of the final exam mark, and any other outstanding items

To do so, instructors may have to email individual students to provide those marks, or instructors can look at using the grade feature on Nexus.  The grade feature in Nexus does NOT replace the grade sheet that must be returned to PACE.  Instructions can be found in the Instructor Communication Portal (Content – Nexus – Advanced Features).

If you are thinking of doing an ‘old school’ style posting of student numbers and marks, check the UWinnipeg policy on that first to ensure that you protect student identification and grades:

Teaching a skill: the classic approach

Many of our courses are not so much about passing along knowledge, but about teaching how to use a skill.  The classic approach to doing that is the Show – Together – Practice approach.

First, Show the class.  Just the instructor, show them how to perform the task while they all watch.

Next, do the task Together.  Instructor and class at the same time do the activity.

Then, the class gets to Practice.  Students do the work on their own, the instructor moves about the room and checks on progress.

Then, move to the next item and repeat.

For complex tasks, the final piece becomes taking all the small pieces and putting them together into one ‘large’ step that students then practice everything all at once.

Nexus Tip of the Month: Troubleshooting Mail Errors

Quite often students comment that they cannot reach instructors when using Nexus email, or instructors comment that students cannot respond to emails.  If you are using the Nexus email system and this is happening, check that students are responding to your Nexus emails from Nexus, or that they are sending you emails from Nexus, and NOT from their personal accounts (like gmail, yahoo, or MTS).

Nexus uses a self contained email system; it can be forwarded out so that you receive the email, but to respond to a Nexus email, or to send a Nexus email, you must be logged in and sending from Nexus.

Most often when students comment that emails to instructors are not going through, I find that it is because they are not sending them from within Nexus.

Why use Nexus email? It provides a one stop spot for all dealings with students: from sharing slides, receiving assignments, to communication.  It allows for checking to see when students were logged in to ensure students were able to be notified of changes or messages.  It allows for record keeping of all contact and communication with students.

It’s a good tool, just takes a little education to make sure it’s being used effectively.

Nexus Tip of the Month: New marking feature

Nexus now has the ability to annotate assignment submissions directly, without having to download the submission!

This is a big change for those of us used to downloading, reading, underlinging, commenting, etc..  Now Nexus gives you the ability to add comments, highlight, circle, etc. directly on the submission.

When you are in the assignment submission folder, click on the student’s submission, it appears as a hyperlink.  This takes you to the marking screen.  Mark up the paper as you need, add your comments in the comment box on the right (and the mark), click SAVE DRAFT at the bottom right.  Then go to the next student through the navigation button at the top right.

When you are all finished, go back to the main assignment folder page, select all and publish your feedback.

Major time saver!

As an aside, don’t forget to make your feedback meaningful to the student: add remarks that let’s them know where they did a good job, where they could do better, and how.  Just saying “not enough info” doesn’t quite help, what type of information is missing?  Can you offer a suggestion on how to do better?