Instructor Resources for Live Classes

Holding adult evening classes allows Northwest University to cater to the needs and schedules of adult learners who often work full time jobs and have family obligations of their own.  Adult Evening classes are held on campus at Northwest University, once a week for five weeks, at about four hours each class session. Below are some expectations and resources for adult evening instructors.

Resources for Instructors Provided by Northwest University

Before teaching an adult evening class, instructors are provided with resources from Northwest University.  These include:

Textbooks

In order to receive textbooks for their particular classes, instructors need to select and request their texts through the publisher of the textbook.  A list of publishers’ contact information is available from CAPS. Instructors need to remember to request their texts at least a few months in advance as it takes some time for the publisher to deliver the textbook to the instructor.  Remember when requesting a copy of the textbook, ask for a “Desk Copy” of the text.

Discovery

Northwest University provides a learning management system called Discovery for their instructors and students.  In Discovery, instructors can upload files, create assignments, manage discussion boards, and post their students’ grades.  For more information on Discovery, visit the Discovery Tutorials provided by the Instructional Technology Center.

Grades

After the grades are completed, CAPS will send instructors an email, asking them to enter final letter grades into a table within the email. Instructors can also submit their grades to self-service. Please remember to send the grades to CAPS for their records and so that you can receive payment. You may also screen print your grades and post to a response to the email sent by CAPS.  Grades entered into Discovery are not official.  The gradebook feature in Discovery is for informational purposes only.  For more information about the Gradebook feature in Discovery, visit the Discovery Tutorials provided by the Instructional Technology Center.

How to post final grades to Self-Service

Faculty Guide

Faculty guides are sometimes provided by CAPS.  Faculty Guides provide a day-by-day outline of what each class needs to cover, its policies (e.g. late work), required assignments, resources the instructor and students need, the responsibilities of the students, and the responsibilities of the instructor.

Additional resources

Additional resources such as articles and lesson plans are provided to the instructor through CAPS.  Be sure to double check the faculty guide to check if additional resources are needed for the course.  In order to receive these additional resources, contact – to request a copy or URL to the particular resource.

The Instructor’s Role

As an instructor of an adult evening course, it is your role to act as the class facilitator.  Instead of only relaying information to their students the entire class time, instructors need to make their classes student-centered.  In other words, instructors should not only lecture, but set up other activities where students are at the center of the learning experience. This includes allowing students to spend a healthy amount of time with the course content, using discussion groups to explore complex issues regarding the curriculum, and planning hands-on activities to appeal to the various types of learners of the classroom.

Day in the life of an Adult Evening Instructor

In the evening, instructors arrive at their assigned classrooms and take attendance.  On the first day of class, CAPS provides a basket with name cards with their students’ names on them and an attendance sheet.  Instructors are instructed to pass out the name cards to their students and instruct the students to place the name cards in front of them for the entire class session.  The students are required to hold onto their name cards and bring the name cards with them to each class.  As for the attendance sheet, the instructor is only required to fill it out and return it to the basket for the first day of class.

For each class, instructors usually provide a “preview” of what the students need to expect for the next four hours of class.  This is usually followed up by a lecture, group discussion, and then activity.  In between these parts of the class, instructors schedule in some time for “bio-breaks” where students can stretch, use the restroom, and/or travel briefly off campus to buy food or a hot beverage.  These breaks can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the discretion of the instructor.

Best Practices

In addition to creating a student-centered classroom, instructors need to set up an effective classroom environment, provide students with clear expectations in regards to behavior and academic honesty, and implement strategies for teaching ELL students and students with disabilities.

Setting up an effective classroom environment is key to making students feel like they can learn and succeed in your class.  Two ways of creating an effective classroom environment is setting up course and classroom expectations and incorporating different instructional techniques and tools.

Course and Classroom Expectations

One of the first items instructors should cover in their class is their expectations for their students.  After informing students about how the course is structured, instructors should share with their class the rate and types of assignments expected of them, due dates for their assignments, the class’ policy on late work, and office/email hours regarding when they are available.  Instructors should also cover their expectations of intellectual property use.  Covering citation techniques as well as copyright law helps prevent plagiarism in their students’ work.

Establishing classroom culture is also important as well.  Instructors need to state what expectations they have for their students when class is in session.  Do you want your students to participate and ask questions during your lecture? Do you want them to silently sit and absorb what you are telling them?  Are they expected to participate in discussion groups?  How are they graded on this?

In addition to establishing expectations in the classroom, instructors should establish online expectations as well.  If students are participating in discussion boards, what are the rules for online netiquette?  How often are students expected to post online? To what extent are they expected to participate in the discussion?  What are you policies on social media, if any?

Instructional Techniques and Tools

In the traditional classroom, several different components make up a class. These components can include lecture, discussion, and activities.  The instructors also have several approaches they can take when instructing the class.  Feel free to view information about the various models of instruction that instructors can incorporate into their classroom instruction: Dick & Carey, ADDIE, and Gagne’s Nine Events.

Additionally, in each classroom, Northwest University provides a variety of tools that the instructor can use.  These include regular whiteboardsSmartboards, Desktop computers, document cameras, laptop connections, and DVD players.  Not every classroom has these components, so it is wise to visit the classroom first before the start of the class. For more information on these tools, feel free to visit the Technology Tools page provided by the Instructional Technology Center.

Within Discovery, instructors have the ability to create quizzes, assignments, and discussion boards for students to use.  Instructors can also keep track of attendance within Discovery, post grades, and provide feedback to students regarding their assignments.  For more information on how to utilize Discovery, feel free to visit the Discovery Tutorials provided by the Instructional Technology Center. Since students come from many different backgrounds and have differentiated learning styles, it is wise to incorporate as many of these techniques and tools into the course as possible.

Classroom Management

Not often, but sometimes students are disruptive both in the classroom environment and online.  Instructors may also encounter students engaged in academic dishonesty.  Below are a few techniques instructors may utilize to help maintain control of their class and create a healthy, safe classroom environment.

In-class Behaviors

Along with behaviors expected from Northwest University, students are required to follow expectations of instructors within their classes.  The best way to ensure that students follow engage in positive behaviors is for instructors to state their expectations for their students and the consequences for not following the expectations.  If a student becomes belligerent or violent, follow the procedures outlined in the Community Handbook.

Online Behaviors

In addition to in-class behaviors, it is wise to review with students’ online behaviors that are acceptable to the class.  Online netiquette includes not “flaming” other students, harassing or bullying other students online, and making ethnic or gender specific statements that would make others uncomfortable. It would help to remind students to respect everyone’s ideas on the discussion boards, even if they are different.  Feel free to review the Student Handbook for information about online behaviors and netiquette.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty comes in many forms.  These can include cheating on a test or quiz; stealing content from another source, including text, images, and videos, and claiming it as their own; or sabotaging another student’s work.  Students may also use homework mills in which someone else, often from another country, completes their work for them.  For more information on how to detect academic dishonesty and what actions instructors can take, refer to the document Academic Honesty Violation.

ADA Compliance and ELL Learners

If students have, or think they may have, a disability (including an “invisible disability,” such as a learning disability, a chronic health problem or a mental health condition) that interferes with their performance as a student in class, encourage them to arrange support services and/or accommodations by working with the staff in the Academic Success and Advising Center in Williams Hall.  Students can email them at advising@northwestu.edu.  Disability-based adjustments to course expectations can be arranged only through this process.

If students would like to request a classroom accommodation because of a disability, have them contact the Academic Success and Advising Office in Williams Hall, 425-889-5227 to submit their requests and the appropriate documentation.  If they have already submitted a request, they need to give the instructor their class accommodation communication form (blue sheet) no later than the second week of class so that the instructor can make arrangements.

Instructors may have students in their classes that speak English as their second language.  Some best practices that instructors can incorporate into their instruction include

  • Using images where possible within their slideshows and course handouts
  • Allowing students to record their lectures
  • Printing out handouts of their slideshows or posting their slideshows on Discovery
  • Allowing students to turn in multiple drafts of an assignments

For more information about teaching ELL learners within college classes, feel free to visit UNC-Chapel Hill’s Writing Center site.