Guidelines for Math Instructors

LSC-CyFair Math Department

Note: While Lone Star College remains on modified online formats during the Covid pandemic, additional guidelines may apply.  Please see FAQs for Math Faculty During Covid Conversion on the Resources for Instructors Page under Conversion to Online.

Guiding Principles

1. The Math Department is committed to the vision of Lone Star College-CyFair, that we are a "responsive, innovative and collaborative learning community that thrives on preparing students for a lifetime of learning and change."

2. The Math Department is committed to the principle of academic freedom, that instructors are best able to gauge the needs of their students and should be free to conduct  their classes in the way that they feel would most effectively meet those needs through the strengths of their own personal teaching philosophies and styles.  In accordance with this principle, we keep our policies and guidelines to the minimum necessary to assure that our common mission is achieved.

3. The Math Department is committed to interactive and collaborative learning.  Therefore, instructors should strive to engage students actively through such activities as class discussions and individual and group problem solving activities. 

4. The Math Department promotes the creative use of technology to enhance the learning process.  Technology should illuminate mathematical concepts and simplify calculations without replacing important mathematical techniques.  Examples of relevant technology include, but are not limited to, graphing calculators, online course management systems (such as MyMathLab) and computer algebraic systems (such as Maple).

5. The Math Department believes that all members of the campus community, including both students and faculty, should be treated respectfully and professionally.  Among other things, this means that we expect punctuality, civility and academic integrity on the part of both students and faculty.  The department and the college as a whole will support both the right and the responsibility of instructors to promote and enforce this atmosphere in their classrooms.

Procedures at the Beginning of the Semester

1. Instructors should prepare a syllabus for each course they teach using the official Lone Star College-CyFair syllabus template and incorporating the necessary information from the departmental course description.  This template and these course descriptions are linked from the Resources for Instructors page.

2. In planning their courses, instructors should plan to cover all sections of the text listed in the course descriptions but they may rearrange those sections if a different order fits better with their philosophies and styles.

3. Instructors should include in the syllabi their policy on excessive absences.  An instructor has the option of dropping a student after five hours of absence but is not obligated to do so.  How the instructor plans to address this question should be included in the syllabus.

4. Once the syllabi are written, instructors should
a. Post their syllabi, as well as their vita, to the LSCS online system. Instructions on how to do so are provided on the Resources for Instructors page.
b. Email copies of those syllabi to the department email address, CF-Math@lonestar.edu BEFORE the semester or session begins.
c. Instructors should not photocopy syllabi for your students.  Since they can be accessed online, students may print their own copies from the web.  Instructors may want to photocopy a summary of key policies and deadlines.

5.  In addition to syllabi, instructors should also post a simplified vita.  This need only be done the first semester they teach but can be updated as needed.  Instructions on how to do so are provided on the Resources for Instructors page.

6.  At the beginning of each semester, all adjunct instructors will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines their duties as college teachers.  Please visit the Division I Office in CASE 215 to sign the MOU.

Procedures During the Semester

1. Whether or not the instructor plans to drop students for excessive absences, attendance records should be kept.  They have to be turned in at the end of the semester.

2. Early in the semester, instructors will receive an email from the division office asking them to verify Official Day Rolls in MyLoneStar. Specific instructions will be included in this email.  These rolls are very important and must reflect an accurate record of the students who are in actual attendance.  The state funds the college based on the number of students listed on the Official Day Rolls.  Errors can result in penalties to the school. The dates for this Official Day are posted on the Resources for Instructor page under Important Dates for Semester Planning.

3. Instructors will be contacted at the Midpoint of their class to verify their rolls again.  Midpoint dates are also posted at the Important Dates link.

4. Although technology is a valuable asset in teaching, there are pitfalls to avoid.  Overuse of PowerPoint can create a passive atmosphere that doesn't engage students.  MyMathLab is a valuable supplement but students should not be just sent to the lab to work MyMathLab homework. Graphing calculators and computer algebraic systems provide opportunities for exploration and speed up routine calculations but can be abused to just get answers without understanding underlying concepts and processes.

5. Instructors should not dismiss classes early.  If the planned lesson is finished early, instructors should use the remaining time answering questions or with students working problems alone or in groups.

6. LSC-CyFair provides free tutoring in the Learning Commons Building. Instructors should encourage students to make use of this service.  A link to the tutoring center is located on the Resources for Instructors page.

7. Computers for student use are provided in the Learning Commons and in the Open Labs in the TECH and CASA buildings. MyMathLab and Maple are accessible from all of these computers.

8. Instructors may make photocopies in any of the Faculty Suites.  Employee ID numbers serve as access codes.

9. If an instructor is going to be absent he or she should contact the division office at 832-482-1051 or CyFairDiv1@lonestar.edu at the earliest possible convenience.  We will make due diligence to find a substitute for the class.  Therefore, please leave the name and section number of the class, the room number it is taught in and instructions for what the substitute should do with the class.  If a substitute cannot be found a note will be left on the door dismissing the class.

10. Please respond to all email communication within 48 hours.

Testing Policies

1. Instructors should give a minimum of three tests plus a final exam.  All tests in both face to face classes and online classes MUST be proctored.  Face to face classes should have their tests in their classrooms or in computer labs that have been reserved.  Online students should take their tests in proctored testing centers. This requirement is waived while Lone Star College is on modified online schedules for the Covid Pandemic.

2. All students must take the final exam and it must be given at the time and date specified in the Lone Star College System course schedule which is linked from the Resources for Instructors page.  In most courses, final exams should be comprehensive and should count for between 20% and 30% of the final grade.  Exceptions to this last sentence can be allowed for certain courses with unique purposes, namely Math 1324 (Math for Business), Math 1332 (Math for Liberal Arts), Math 1350 (Math for Teachers I), Math 1351 (Math for Teachers II).

3. Multiple choice and True/False tests are NOT appropriate for college level math courses and are not permitted.  It is critical that students learn to communicate their work thoroughly and clearly with appropriate notation. There may, however, be specific questions on some exams, especially those that explore fundamental definitions or compare and contrast concepts, that can be well posed in a multiple choice or true/false format.  Examples: "Which of the following is NOT a condition of the Mean Value Theorem?"  "Is the following statistical scenario a random sample, a stratified sample or a convenience sample?"  In addition, questions that call upon students to write about mathematics may be appropriate.  Example: "In your own words, describe how you would choose a factoring technique for a given polynomial."  

4. Instructors are strongly discouraged from granting "retests" to students who want to repeat tests for higher grades. Instructors are also strongly encouraged to avoid excessive bonus points.

5. Please announce all tests at least a week in advance.  Exams should be graded and returned to students within a week.       

6. IF you decide to give your students a review sheet for a test, it should NOT be the test itself with different numbers.

7. In addition to tests, please include in your grading plan some mechanism for feedback to the students on a frequent basis between tests. This could include homework assigned online or on paper, quizzes, in-class work, notebooks, projects or some combination of the above.

8. Instructors are strongly discouraged from offering excessive assignments for extra credit.

9. Beginning at approximately midterm and available through the week before final exams, students have the option to complete course evaluations through MyLoneStar.  The results of these evaluations will be made available to instructors after the semester is over.  Please make sure your students know about these evaluations and encourage them to fill them out.  Students can print out an acknowledgment sheet to show that they have completed an evaluation for your course. Offering a few bonus points for completing evaluations is not inappropriate.

Procedures at the End of the Semester

1. A grade of Incomplete (I) should only be given to students who:
a. Have missed only the final exam and perhaps a few other assignments.
b. Have a reasonable chance of passing the course.
The instructor and the student must fill out an I contract, available from the division office or the Resources for Instructors page, and must agree on a deadline for completion. That deadline can be no later than the end of the next long semester.  An incomplete only extends deadline time; it does not permit the student to sit in on another class the following semester.  If the student does not complete the requirements of the I contract by the deadline, the grade automatically reverts to F.

2. Once instructors have calculated final grades for their courses, those grades are entered online in MyLoneStar.  Instructions will be sent by email from the division office near the end of the semester.

3. The following documentation needs to be turned in electronically to the division office at the end of the semester by the date announced by the division coordinators. Instructions will be forwarded by email near the end of the semester.
a. A signed copy of printouts of the online grades from MyLoneStar.
b. A copy of the gradebook and attendance records for the semester
c. A thorough written description of how the letter grade has been determined from the grades on the grade sheet.
d. Any I contracts

4. Instructors should keep a copy of all grade and attendance records, final exams and any other work not collected by the students for at least one calendar year after the last day of the semester.

Procedures for Developmental Corequisite Classes (Math 0232, 0242, 0314, 0324)

1. All developmental corequisite courses (Math 0232, 0242, 0314 and 0324) linked to credit level courses (Math 1332, 1342, 1314 and 1324 respectively) should include a final exam that is worth a minimum of 15% of the course grade.  Try to avoid having any assessment that is weighted too heavily.  The final exam will be developed by the instructor and it should cover a broad range of topics from the course. The goal of this final exam is to determine whether a student is ready to be enrolled in a stand-alone section of the credit level course.

2. All corequisite courses (Math 0232, 0242, 0314 and 0324) should have at least 50% of the course grade coming from proctored assignments.  This refers to completion of instructor monitored assessments (quizzes, chapter exams, final exams, etc.) where the student does not have access to assistance from a source outside of themselves.

3. Instructors who are teaching both sections of a linked corequisite pair have the ability to vary the order that they choose to cover the topics and learning outcomes of both the corequisite course and the college level course.  When planning the order of any curriculum, please keep in mind that students in corequisite courses will need a thoughtful introduction and progression throughout the material.

4. Since we need to administer just-in-time support in corequisite courses, instructors who are teaching only one section of a linked corequisite pair will need to adhere as closely as possible to the proposed schedule for that particular course.  To locate these schedules, return to the Resources for Instructors page and choose the Course Information page for either the corequisite support course or the credit level course in the pair.  (Math 0232 is paired with Math 1332.  Math 0242 is paired with Math 1342.  Math 0314 is paired with Math 1314.  Math 0324 is paired with Math 1324.)

5. We also strongly encourage instructors of a linked pair to reach out to each other and communicate any information, questions, or changes that they feel might contribute to the success of the students.  Balancing the need for coordination, we want instructors to have as much academic freedom as possible within these guidelines.  Instructors in linked courses are encouraged to collaborate but each maintains his or her autonomy.



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