Best Practices for Students

Undergraduate Education Committee

Students must take responsibility for their own learning. Students also share with the instructor the responsibility for providing an environment conducive to learning. Students should personally:

Be Responsible for Learning

  1. build your own knowledge and skills (faculty guide students to materials and methods, but the learning is up to the student).
  2. be actively engaged with the material and with the process of education.
  3. recognize that grading reflects performance. Success in a class requires a combination of effort, learning, and performance. Simply attending all classes and completing all assignments are not all that is necessary for a high course grade. Excellent performance is required in the form of high quality exam answers, written assignments, and/or presentations. In most cases, outstanding performance is the end result of actively learning the course material. Outstanding students are intrinsically motivated and set self-imposed high standards. Students who excel generally do the following:

    1. Are more interested in the process of learning than in the end result.
    2. Get excitement and pleasure from intellectual challenge.
    3. Show persistent, intellectual curiosity, e.g., asking questions about content, theories, and ideas rather than requirements and grading, reading and completing optional assignments, and independently searching for additional information.
    4. Demonstrate initiative and originality in intellectual work.
    5. Apply material to real-world situations and new contexts.
    6. Make connections and integrate information across multiple courses and disciplines, e.g., application of research methods to an upper division psychology course.
    7. Show flexibility in thinking and considering problems from a number of viewpoints.
    8. Gain a level of understanding beyond rote memorization that results in the ability to explain concepts to others.

Be Prepared

  1. attend all classes, both lecture and discussion sessions, and participate in discussions.
  2. prepare for classes in accordance with the class syllabus; this includes reading all course documents (including the syllabus). When contacting the instructor outside of class or office hours, be certain the information sought is not provided in course documents.
  3. be punctual in completing assignments. It is your responsibility to keep track of published due dates.
  4. understand that over the course of a term, 30 hours of work are expected for each credit hour (i.e., registering for a 4 credit course entails 120 hours of in and out of class work).

Know the Policies

  1. recognize that by remaining registered in a course, you have agreed to adhere to course policies and teaching approaches identified by their instructor, e.g., grading criteria, attendance, use of technology, and required assignments.
  2. be familiar with and adhere to matters of academic integrity.

Engage in Respectful Communication

  1. behave in the classroom in a manner that demonstrates respect for other students.
  2. understand that instructors are human and may make mistakes. Mistakes are easily remedied. Alert the instructor to mistakes in a mature and respectful manner.
  3. share responsibility for the flow of communication concerning a course (this may involve regularly checking the course webpage for changing assignments and relevant information and responding to email from instructors; the easiest way to ensure that instructors can reach all students in the class is to use the email address assigned by the University. If you choose to use a different e-mail address it is your responsibility to make the change to personal information through DuckWeb).
  4. understand and comply with each instructor's policy for contact outside of office hours.
  5. appreciate that instructors bring unique approaches to the classroom experience. For example, instructors are free to and do differ in their use of technology (e.g., powerpoint), out-of-classroom contact, grading and tardiness policies.
  6. take the teaching evaluation process seriously by participating in objective, constructive, and specific evaluations of the instructor's teaching and of the course (this helps to clarify problems and strengths that will help the instructor to improve the course in subsequent semesters).

Guideline Sections:

  1. Introduction and Guidelines Home Page
  2. Mission of the Undergraduate Program
  3. Best Practices for Students
  4. Best Practices for Instructors
  5. Special Student Concerns
  6. Where to Get Help and Additional Information