Policies & Procedures

Review the following policies and procedures carefully, as they not only explain how this class will be run, but also articulate my expectations for you this year.



(1) Classroom Environment.   

When you cross the threshold of my classroom door, you enter into a special community. In order to prevent disruptions I keep the door locked, so make sure you arrive on time. Consistent lateness will lower your class participation grade. I am fine with you eating and drinking in my classroom so long as it does not distract you or your classmates, and so long as you tidy up when you are done.  But please note: this privilege will be revoked in all of my classes the minute any student leaves trash in my room or fails to clean up their mess.  Don’t let this be you!


(2) Cell Phones and Technology.

This class moves quickly, so it is important that you keep up with the conversation and are free from distractions. No cell phones, iPods, iPads, or personal computers may be used during class. Exceptions will be made at the teacher’s discretion.



(3) Turnitin.com.

You will submit take-home writing assignments using Turnitin.com. Please log on to the site as soon as possible and add your class.


(4) Absences and Late Work. 

You are responsible for completing all of the assigned work for this course. If you are absent, consult the course’s online calendar and get in touch with a friend to see what you must make-up. All work must be submitted within three (3) days of returning to class for it to earn credit. Please submit your work in the black-wire bin by the classroom door.

If there is an exam on the day of your absence, and you were notified about it beforehand, then you must email me as soon as you know you’re going to be absent in order to schedule a make-up. The first time I hear from you should not be the day you return from school. Please note that make-ups are only granted for excused absences. In addition, if you fail to show up for the make-up exam, you will not be able to re-schedule and you will not receive credit.



(5) Feedback.

Success in this class will depend on your ability to receive and act upon feedback from your classmates and from me.  Independent and critical thinkers must also be able to reflect and give themselves feedback. I will provide numerous opportunities for you to receive feedback over the course of the semester. Due to time constraints, however, I will not give substantial feedback on late work. You are welcome to see me during office hours to discuss your performance on these assessments.

(6) Cheating and Plagiarism. 

Learning is a shared activity, and during class discussions I encourage you to record each other’s ideas and use them in your writing. That said, I do not tolerate academic dishonesty. Any student caught cheating or found guilty of plagiarism will receive a fail for the assignment with no possibility for make-up, as well as a drop in their final grade. Bottom line: don’t do it.



(7) Work Habits and Cooperation.

Work habits grades are based on consistently coming to class prepared and on time, as well as consistently turning in assignments and essays by the due date. Cooperation grades are based on your conduct in class. Violations of the policies and procedures outlined in this syllabus, as will any display of extremely rude or disrespectful behavior, will result in lowered work habits and corporation grades. Please note: I will not write letters of recommendation for any senior who has earned a U in cooperation in my classes.



(8) Grades.

For this class, assignments are approximately weighted according to the following categories:


  •             Essays and other writing assignments = 35%

  •             Group projects = 30%

  •             Online discussion board = 15%

  •             Participation = 20%


Grades for individual assignments are weighted such that assignments given towards the end of a unit count more than assignments given at the beginning. This is because I do not expect you to master the skills and content at the beginning of the year, or even at the beginning of a new unit. However, I do expect that you continuously push yourself. Slacking off will only lower your grade.


Minor assignments are graded using a check system that is then converted into points. The specific number of points depends on the assignment, but the grade breakdown is roughly as follows:


                 √+ = 100%             √+/√ = 90%            √ = 80%             √/√- = 70%         √- = 60%


Major assignments (e.g., essays, projects, and exams) are given letter grades, which are then converted into points depending on the assignment.  Letter grades adhere to the following scale:


                 A+  98-100%              B+  88-89%                C+  78-79%                D+  68-69%

                 A    93-97%                B    83-87%                 C    73-77%                D    63-67%

                 A-   90-92%                B-   80-82%                C-   70-72%                D-   60-62%

                                                               F        59% and below



(9) Communication.

Please note that while I always respond to emails, I rarely check them after 7pm, so please allow for up to 36 hours for a response.  Emails inquiring about specific grades are never answered; schedule a meeting or see me during office hours to discuss your performance on a specific assignment.