Courses - information for instructors in undergraduate Engineering

There have been a number of changes related to the requirements for courses taught at the University of Waterloo. This page is intended to summarize these changes and to provide you with pointers to other information where possible. These changes may be considered in two groups: changes mandated by Senate and changes, clarifications or reminders related to previous information.

Changes mandated by Senate

Course outline

The most significant change is that all courses are now required to have a course outline. There is no particular format specified for this outline, however the content is specified at:

I anticipate that as time proceeds, more faculty oriented information will be provided on this matter. For example, the Course objectives could be used to tie a course to the recently specified graduate attributes from the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). One way to think about the objectives is to consider what the student who passes the course will know or be able to do at the end of the course (as opposed to what they will be exposed to during the class).

Clarification or changes to information

Returning assignments

Several years ago as we (University of Waterloo) shifted a few policies to meet the (then) new requirement for universities to adhere to the constraints of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), as described with respect to student information in Policy 46. At the time there was considerable discussion around how to return assignments such that it would be acceptable under the privacy portion of FIPPA. The university now has a web site with guidelines for returning assignments and posting grades describing these requirements. 

Regrading caution

If you teach a course in which you routinely accept from students’ tests or midterms for regrading, the following will be of interest. There have been a number of recent incidents where students have claimed additional marks were warranted for answers that were wrong or incomplete at the time the test was written, but that were subsequently corrected or improved, claiming they had the right answer all along. In a recent Statistics class with 176 students from a wide range of faculties, almost 40 cases of this kind of cheating were uncovered, because the instructor had scanned each midterm after it had been initially marked, and then compared each regrade request with the original scan. While it may not be feasible or desirable for you to adopt such an approach, please be aware that this is a potential problem and if possible, design your tests and follow-up review processes accordingly.

Reminder on Policy 71 information

On our website there is a description to help faculty members deal with Policy 71 matters. Procedures Related to Academic Offences and Policy 71

Reminder on responsibilities

In the course outline information above, there are a number of required sections (Policy 71 and so on); you may also point to Course responsibilities, which discusses AccessAbility Services and Policy 71. Also there is more information that describes the Grievance and appeal process for current undergraduate students.

Associate Dean,
Engineering Undergraduate Studies