What you can expect from your instructor

A clear comprehensive syllabus

On the first day of class, your instructor should provide you with a syllabus of the course, including what your instructors expects from you.  It should include all the elements in the generic syllabus.

Help when needed

You should feel comfortable asking your professor for help when something presents a problem within the classroom.  You can always drop by during your professor’s office hours or make an appointment to see him/her at a time of mutual convenience.  You should also be able to e-mail your instructor.  Most instructors set up conferences with students anywhere between once and three times a semester.

Useful comments on drafts of essays

Especially on first drafts, you can expect your instructor not just to help you write with grammatical correctness or with clear sentences and organization.  You can expect help with how to find your own perspective on a topic and how to develop an argument.  You can expect to have your ideas challenged (but not denied) and to be asked to consider the possible differences between what you meant and what a reader understood.  You can expect to learn some of the expectations for academic writing and to learn how to edit your writing for greater power and clarity.  Here are two examples of instructor’s comments on an essay.  Which kind of comments do you think would be more helpful to you?