CBE Intranet

Teaching Resources

The UW has a tremendous teaching resource for faculty in the Center for Teaching and Learning, now called “Teaching @UW.” They offer a range of resources to support successful teaching and designing learning-centered courses. Their resources include:

2023-24 workshops – This page lists all the workshops scheduled for the coming year. Topics include promoting well-being in the classroom, inclusive learning strategies, open pedagogy, and alternative grading. Register now and get these great workshops on your calendar!

CTL programs – This page lists out more intensive programs where faculty can learn alongside each other around key objectives (e.g., online teaching, evidence-based teaching, etc.).

1-on-1 consultations – These consultations with Center staff help faculty address particular teaching goals or challenges.

For faculty resources related to research see the CBE Office of Research page.

Key Ingredients for an Effective Syllabus

An effective syllabus includes basic information on the course – dates and times of instruction, faculty name and contact information, office hours.  It should also list required readings and materials, identify assignments and deliverables including due dates, as well as information on grading policy and practices.

Syllabus Resources and Required Content

All faculty are required to put certain content in the syllabus for each of their courses. This includes a statement about religious accommodations and disability accommodation. We also urge faculty to put in writing in your syllabus your working policy on the use of AI tools like Chat GPT in your class.

Religious Accomodation

Religious Accommodation

It is the policy of the University of Washington to reasonably accommodate students’ religious observances in accordance with RCW 28B.137.010.

The law requires that educational institutions must develop policies to accommodate student absences to allow students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, so that students’ grades are not adversely impacted by the absences. The law also requires that UW post information about its policy on its website, and that faculty include the policy or a link to the policy in course or program syllabi (sample language below).

Faculty must reasonably accommodate students who, due to the observance of religious holidays, expect to be absent or endure a significant hardship during certain days of the course or program. “Reasonably accommodate” is defined as coordinating with the student on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for completion of the program and includes rescheduling examinations or activities or offering different times for examinations or activities.

Any student seeking reasonable accommodations must provide written notice through the Office of the University Registrar Religious Accommodations request process within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course, of the specific dates of absence due to religious accommodation.

For more resources and information – please visit the Office of the Registrar’s webpage on religious Accommodation Policy.

Syllabus Statement Language:

[DO NOT AMEND] “Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).”


Disability Accommodation

By making reasonable modifications, instructors can increase students’ access to their content and courses and meet instructors’ legal obligations. As you prepare for autumn quarter, here are four things you can do now:

  1. Review University accessibility guidance on documents and digital content.
  2. Use Canvas for student submissions, class announcements and to post assignment instructions and course content when appropriate.
  3. Post your syllabi to Canvas at least two weeks before autumn courses start so students can determine whether they will need accommodations and can contact UW Disability Resources for Students (DRS) on each campus for assistance.
  4. Review the University’s course-based accommodation policy and obligations to comply with state and federal regulations regarding access for students with disabilities.

Academic Accommodation Process for Students

Each year, Disability Resources for Students (DRS) teams on all three campuses assist more than 5,000 UW students who have disabilities in areas such as mental health, chronic health, mobility, vision, hearing, ADHD, and learning. In this work, DRS teams collaborate with over 5,800 faculty and academic personnel to ensure UW undergraduate and graduate students have equal access to academic programs and services. To begin the process:

  1. The student notifies DRS of a disability accommodation request, and DRS determines the accommodation plan.
  2. The student selects which accommodations to activate each term. DRS notifies instructors of the accommodations and timelines for implementation.
  3. Course instructors implement the accommodations in a timely manner.
  4. The student and course instructors communicate questions or concerns to DRS.

In many cases, academic accommodations are straightforward, such as providing copies of presented lecture materials or extra time on exams. Others, such as disability-related absences, may require instructors to consult with the student or DRS. DRS will reach out as early as possible when significant work is required to remove an access barrier for a student.

Resources for Students

If your students are seeking assistance, please direct them to the DRS team on your campus.

DRS on the Seattle campus also has posted some general advice for students on developing academic skills and talking with instructors about the accommodation process.

Thank you for your ongoing work in support of the academic success of our students.

Disability Accommodation

Some students engage the UW Disability Services Office (DSO) seeking resources and support to help them succeed. In addition to providing services for faculty, students and staff with disabilities, they also provide accommodation advice, assistive equipment and interpreters.

When a student in your class has engaged the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) you will receive an email from their office notifying you about this. This is called an “Activation of Accommodations Notice”.” The notice will specify which accommodations the student needs – for example, extra time to complete an assignment, or providing a reasonably quiet place to take a test.

As an instructor, you will have a DRS Access Coordinator whom you can contact for more information about the student’s need. Any accommodation plan can be negotiated between the student and instructor and must take into account the student’s needs as specified in the approved accommodations.

Faculty Responsibilities include doing the following:

  • Communicate with your student to discuss how their approved accommodations will be implemented in your class, if applicable.
  • Implement stated accommodations upon receiving a disability accommodations notice. You are not responsible for anything retroactive. While students have the right to activate accommodations during the quarter; they are responsible for submitting them in a timely manner.
  • Ensure timely implementation of accommodations for this course. Review the Faculty Response Timeline to understand required timelines in more detail.
  • Contact DRS staff listed in the notification email as soon as possible if you have any questions or concerns about the accommodations below based on the outcomes of your course.
  • Respect the student’s privacy. DRS accommodation information is protected by Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). You may only share information with individuals who are assisting in teaching the course or in providing the requested accommodations. DRS information is not to be shared with other students.

When you are notified that a student in your class has approved accommodations, the email will include next steps for you to take. This usually involves:

  • Logging in to the myDRS Faculty Portal to review and complete course accommodation agreements (i.e. Testing Agreement, Captioning of Media, etc.).
  • Contacting the DRS Access coordinating with any questions or concerns that the notice raises for you
  • Communicate with the student to review each of the accommodations listed in the notice and discuss how you will effectively implement them in your course.

AI & Chat GpT

AI – Chat GpT

There is a lot of concern currently about AI-generated content for classes, particular writing papers for seminars and even generating graphics for design and planning projects. We are at a pivotal moment in education as this technology is creating new pedagogical challenges. Each faculty member needs to decide their class policies around the use of such tool.

There are two general paths that can be taken in response to the use of programs like ChatGPT to complete assignments:  to use it as a teachable moment, or make it a concern over student conduct.  Notwithstanding real concerns about academic integrity and plagiarism, we are all better served informing ourselves of how the tool can and cannot be used and what is an acceptable use of it in your classroom.

First, a bit about Chat GPT:

Chat GPT is what is known as a “Large Language Model.” These models are trained on large data sets to generate text in response to a prompt provided by the user.

  • These tools generate text based on probabilities. They are capable of complex outputs.
  • Some of the pitfalls is that they are subject to “hallucinations”: violations of reality, untruths, potentially offensive, biased responses, repetitive text and outputting false citations.

The video below offers an excellent explanation of how AI apps (like ChatGPT) work and their limitations. UW Professor Emily Bender starts with the basics and builds to what we have today.  A key issue is the difference between form and meaning, which she explains very clearly.

To better understand how Chat GPT works, you can test drive the tool here: https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt

 A useful Introductory Video on ChatGPT:

Demystifying ChatGPT for Academics: What it is, what it isn’t and what you need to know

According to a UW Task Force on AI, students use the tools complete assignments, as a tutor, and to help with writing.   AI Detection tools abound. One key resource is Turnitin, which is available in CANVAS. A video explains their approach & philosophy.

Recommended Classroom Practices Related to Diversity

Names/Pronouns/Gender Identity

It is important to learn students’ preferred names and pronouns, particularly in smaller, more interactive classes.

Some useful start of the quarter practices – Go around the room, share preferred names, pronouns, etc.  In smaller classes and studios, consider asking students to create their own name plates to use in class. Every faculty member gets a set of headshots of students who are enrolled in each of their classes. You can find these thumbnail photos in the Teaching link in your “MyUW” homepage. Print those and keep them handy to learn students names – you can also easily add preferred names and pronouns to that printout.

Practice; use names early and often.  Prepare for mistakes; no one is perfect. Let them know you will try, if you make a mistake apologize and keep trying.

For Help in Navigating DEI Issues

Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity

The Center offers a range of programs