This website contains critical information to help you navigate through your course. You should also review the general Rutgers TA project website and the website for the Rutgers Center for Advancement of Teaching. Another good resource is the Rutgers TA handbook. The TA handbook covers a wide variety of issues such preparing for your first class, preparing a syllabus and so forth. Should you have questions that are not covered here or in these Rutgers websites, please contact our secretary. Please also keep in mind that fellow TAs and faculty members can answer many of the questions that you might have.
On-line Class Rosters
As a TA or instructor, you will be granted privileges to access your class roster(s) online. This website requires your RU NetID and password. It also requires you to enter the full number of your course – e.g. 01 450 330 01 (for Geography 330, Section 1). If you find that you are not able to log in to this website or gain online access to your class, please contact our secretary to make sure that you have online privileges.
Once you are logged in, the online rosters may be used to obtain electronic lists of the students in your classes and their Rutgers email addresses. You will also use the online rosters to submit final grades at the end of the semester.
One useful tip is to download from this website a spreadsheet file containing the names of your students and to use this file to create a spreadsheet to keep track of student grades during the course of the semester. As an alternative, you may also use the online FAS gradebook to keep track of grades and to make grades for assignments and exams available to your students to view online. All final grades must be submitted online via your class roster website.
NetID: Most applications are now using the Rutgers NetID for authentication. If you have a NetID and do not remember what it is you may look it up using the NetID Lookup application. If you do not yet have a NetID you may create an account and NetID.
Along with the NetID, you will receive an account with access to email, web hosting and more. It is useful to have an email address in addition to any personal email addresses to keep teaching related email separate from your personal email. An easy way to use Rutgers email is the webmail system. The webmail application provides tools to forward Rutgers mail to another email account and also set vacation messages, spam filtering, address book and more.
Paper Rosters and Special Permission Numbers
You will be given rosters for your course four times during the semester. You also will be granted permission to access to online rosters. The first paper copy of your rosters is the pre-registration line-up. It is recommended that you take attendance (perhaps just pass a piece of paper for students to sign) not only to put fear in your students, but also to get a count of who is actually showing up, and to ease the pain of adding in students by rewarding those who do attend. During this time, you still be forced to deal with students adding and dropping the course. Students can add without permission up to the number indicated as a "stop-point"on your initial roster. After this, they need your blessing. This comes in the form of Special Permission Numbers. These numbers are distributed along with the initial rosters and are used solely for the course number listed on the top of the page. If you need more numbers, or if you have any questions about these numbers, please see our secretary. Note: keep a list of the students to whom you have given special permission numbers - the number of students you add in is up to you and the room capacity. The second roster will arrive about two weeks into the semester. It is called the revised class roster. This is for your information only. The third roster will arrive during the semester and is for warning (failing) grades and other problems (e.g., students in class but not on the roster). The last roster is for your information as you assign final grades online. This roster will contain a final list of the students in the class and the due date for submission of online grades dependent on the exam date. Note: By Rutgers rules, you are to keep all students' final exams on file.
On-line Submission of Final Grades
All final grades are submitted online. As a TA or instructor, you will be granted privileges to access your class roster(s) online in order to view the roster and submit final grades. Access your class roster at https://sims.rutgers.edu/rosters/. This website requires your RCI id and password. It also requires you to enter the full number of your course – e.g. 01 450 330 01 (for Geography 330, Section 1). If you find that you are not able to log in to this website or gain online access to your class, please contact our secretary to make sure that you have online grading privileges.
More detailed instructions for how to assign grades and submit grades online are available at the following web site: http://registrar.rutgers.edu/NB/WEBGRADE.HTM. This website contains very useful information about grading systems at Rutgers and grade definitions. Note that the Rutgers grading scale does not have "minuses" or a "D+", therefore, is as follows:
Rutgers Teaching with Technology Workshops
The Department strongly suggests that instructors attend the "Core Classroom Technology" series of workshops. Workshop topics include:
Electronic Communication Tools
- Enhanced Classroom Orientation
- Creating PowerPoint Presentations
- Basic Web Design
- SAS Gradebook and Privacy Issues
- Creating Excel Spreadsheets for Grading
- Detecting Plagiarism and Cheating
You can access the Rutgers academic calendar at http://nbregistrar.rutgers.edu/undergrad/calendar.htm. Important dates to note for each semester are; the beginning of the term, dates for the add/drop period, the last day to withdraw from a course without academic penalty, any breaks, general holidays, excusable religious holidays, any official changes in designation of class day and, beginning and end of the exam period. When making up your course syllabus for Fall, please note the change in classes for November. There are no classes on Thanksgiving or the Friday following it. Class schedules for that week may be altered.
Student Questions about Rutgers Bureaucratic Procedures
There are a number of things your students will expect you to know as a teaching assistant besides the course material. During the first few weeks you will find that students assume that you, as a part of the Rutgers staff, have committed to memory the academic calendar and Rutgers bureaucratic procedures. The TA handbook contains a good overview of the bureaucratic make-up of Rutgers. It may also be helpful to browse through an undergraduate catalog prior to the onset classes to familiarize yourself with the different schools and programs just to give a sense of where some of these questions are coming from.
- For student questions about the Geography major you should ask the students to contact our secretary or undergraduate advisor.
- For student questions about other majors, colleges, and all else, you should ask the student to contact their college advisors.
The majority of course-related copying/printing needs can be taken care of in the department, and it is encouraged that the departmental copier in room B252 be used for as many of these as possible. Please try to plan larger copying jobs in advance. For instructors, TA's and faculty teaching larger courses (generally defined as in excess of 75 enrolled) requiring exam copying, please contact the Business Specialist for more information.
Instructional Computing Labs
In addition to our Teaching Lab (B266 Lucy Stone Hall), there are computing labs on each campus that are available for instructional use.
Computers for classes that are not taught in the Teaching Lab (B266)
There are "enhanced classrooms" located on all campuses. To find a description of any enhanced classroom's equipment:
"Enhanced classrooms" allow you to bring your laptop and connect it to a projector for presentations. Here are a few tips: Connect laptop before starting it up. Use the podium's touch screen to wake up the system. Do not let a laptop rely on its battery for class. Plug in its power supply! If the laptop shuts down or goes into sleep mode during your class, the smart classroom system will shut down and take quite a few minutes to get going again. If you are using your personal laptop, make sure its display is not set to go into sleep mode while running from an external source of power.
To turn off the display's sleep mode, go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panels -> Power Options.
Any trouble with enhanced classrooms should be reported to Enhanced Classroom Support. Their staff can provide immediate assistance when contacted by phone.
Our Equipment and Supplies
Laptops, digital cameras and video cameras are available for use by graduate students, faculty and staff for research or teaching. The equipment is located in the Research Lab. Equipment must be accounted for, using the Reservation/Signout forms on the cabinets. You should reserve the equipment before need it, if you want to be sure the equipment will be available when needed. When you remove equipment from the cabinet, sign it out.
Laptops, digital cameras and video cameras are available for use by graduate students, faculty and staff for research or teaching. The equipment is located in the Research Lab. Equipment must be accounted for using the Reservation/Signout forms on the cabinets. You should reserve the equipment before need it, if you want to be sure the equipment will be available when needed. When you remove equipment from the cabinet, sign it out.
Maps & Slides
Wall maps and slides are available in the John Brush Map Library. This library is located in Lucy Stone Hall Room A-118. It is recommended that you browse around the map library and its catalogue to get a good idea of what is available for you to use. If your classroom is not conducive to hanging maps you may choose to call building services to have them install map hooks, or you might consider options such as hammer and nails (the Peter Wacker method). Ask some of the old pros for their techniques in overcoming such adversity. Above all, make sure you sign out maps and slides, and make sure you return all supplies to the Map Library in a timely fashion so others can use them as well. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. If you need transparencies or powerpoint slides to go with a textbook, ask our secretary to help you. Most publishers whose books have accompanying media will provide the instructor with complimentary copies if the class is large enough, but you must request them.
You will find that perhaps the most helpful people at Rutgers are located in Media Services' main branch in the basement of Kilmer Library. Identify yourself as a Geography instructor, be nice, and they will give you lots of help. If you are teaching on another campus, you can contact Media Services on College Avenue and Douglass Campus for equipment assistance, but all films must be reserved through Kilmer Library. Media Services holds periodic orientations for TAs and others to show off their selections and services. If you can't make these sessions, go to Kilmer's basement and browse through their movie catalog. A bonus for anyone with a faculty/staff ID card is that you may bring movies home overnight to view while they baby-sit your ID. This comes in handy for your personal interests as well as for convenient previewing of movies for classes. There are even feature flicks in their collection for those on a cheap date! Anyway, you can show movies in Media Services rooms free of charge (they hold up to eighty people) or you can have them shown in your class - if you have projection equipment in your room (Media Services can give you a list of which rooms are equipped) the service is free of charge. For small classes, you might choose to use the departments TV and VCR. The best course of action is to move your student to the second floor of Lucy Stone Hall (ask our secretary to procure a room for you). For any campus, it is a good idea to submit movie and room requests early in the semester.
Exams bring a host of problems for you to confront, with attendance and cheating as perhaps the two most common headaches. If you need a larger room for your exams, provide our secretary with the dates of the exams and the number of students, and she can arrange for a larger room. It is a good idea to do this as soon as possible. You can also take advantage of your peers as they can help you proctor exams - give requests to Betty Ann for the number of people you will need to help you. Those of you who teach in the evenings or night will come across students who will have block exams. These are exams they must take at specific times, not scheduled in advance. They are excusable absences and take precedence over your class, so there is nothing you or the student can do about it except curse them and accommodate them. Students can usually tell you a week or so before hand. Medical excuses will, of course, arise. If students are ill and go to student health, thereby missing your class, a note will arrive in your mail to this effect from the Dean's office (or some such official source). You have every right to question the validity of a private medical excuse - ask for a letter on official letterhead and don't be afraid to call to verify its legitimacy. Unverified excuses of any sort are your decision. Let the students know at the beginning of the semester that verifiable excuses will be required for medical absences, and you will find this may cut down on the number of "illnesses". Sports excuses may also arise. Any official Rutgers event will be accompanied by an official notice from the Athletic Department via campus mail. These include sanctioned sporting events, not practices. Club sports (e.g. crew, skiing) are not considered sanctioned sports. Anything unofficial (club sports, practices) is your choice.
Office Space and Office Hours
You will be provided with office space in the department. Scheduled office hours are of your choosing. Requests for keys to departmental rooms need to be approved by the department Chair and should be addressed to the departmental secretary.
Seminar Room Reservations
Lucy Stone Hall B-120 is our Seminar Room. If for some reason you need to occupy this room (conferences with students, events for a small class, etc.) please see our secretary to check on its availability. If it is unavailable, again ask our secretary to help you locate a suitable space.
TA Training: Teaching Assistant Project (TAP) and Center for Advancement of Teaching
Rutgers has excellent programs for providing a variety of general information to teaching assistants, the Teaching Assistant Project and all instructors. You should spend some time reviewing the material on these websites, particularly the TA handbook. This handbook contains excellent general information that will assist you in preparing for and navigating through your class.
There are several ways to get free computer training at Rutgers.
- New Brunswick Computing Services: http://www.nbcs.rutgers.edu/education/
- TA Training: Teaching Assistant Project (TAP) http://cat.rutgers.edu/workshops/cal.html
- Library Instruction: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/lib_instruct/instruct_tutorials.shtm