Things To Do Before Classes Begin: Checklist

Resource Title:
Things To Do Before Classes Begin: Checklist

Portions adapted from Amy Kao (2008) and edited by Jon Lillemoen, Manager, Research Health & Safety (2013)

Use this checklist before classes begin to help you determine the logistics for running your laboratory section. If the following information has not been made available to you, contact the instructor or supervisor to find out about each item or to determine if this information pertains to your class:

Administrative Details

  • What is the drop/add policy and class size limit?
  • When and where do the labs meet?
  • What help is provided? (graders, lab technicians, etc.)
  • Where is all of the necessary equipment stored?
  • How do you obtain:
  • Supplies for each experiment?
  • Supplies for general needs (pens, paper, etc.)?
  • Photocopies and who pays for them?


  • Who is responsible for:
    • ensuring that equipment is operating correctly?
    • repairing and/or replacing damaged equipment?
    • ordering lab supplies?
    • paying for repairs or replacements?
  • What are the responsibilities of the laboratory technician?

Information Needed

  • How do you get your class list (via Canvas or other means)?
  • How will you keep a grade book (via Canvas or other means)?
  • What will you use for a course syllabus?
  • Where can you get a copy of the student lab book (should be free) and experiments?
  • Where can you get a complete list of experiments, the instructions for each and the lab schedule?
  • Where can you get keys for the room and outside doors?
  • Where is the laboratory technician located before, during, and after the lab?

Expectations and Class Policies

  • What is expected of you by the instructor?
  • What are the goals of the laboratory class and the instructional expectations?
  • How much interaction between you and the students does your supervisor want?
  • Should you ask probing questions while the students are collecting data?
  • When should you answer students' questions and when should you encourage them to think through the answers themselves?
  • What are the class attendance and make-up policies?
  • What are the policies for breakage and replacement of lab equipment and supplies?

Grading Labs/Assignments

  • What is expected in lab report and/or assignments?
  • How are grades determined? Are there rubrics or metrics for grading reports?
  • What are the late policies for student work?
  • What are the plagiarism policies and how are they explained to students?



  • Emergency procedures should be conspicuously posted in the laboratory. You should know where to find the following, before you need to use them:
    • emergency equipment (eye wash stations, showers, fire extinguisher, spill kits, first aid supplies)
    • telephone (in an emergency dial 911)
    • fire alarm
    • nearest exit from building (posted on the Emergency Exit Route Map)
    • where to meet emergency vehicles and personnel (referred to as a “Muster Point” outside the building where you are expected to account for the students you are responsible for as an instructor).