Friday, January 18, 2008


1. Attendance Policy. If you plan to cut class a lot, then you might want to consider transferring to another class. Excessive absenteeism will cost you points from your final grade, 5 points deducted for each absence, starting with absence #4. You may miss up to three classes without attendance penalties. However, if you take three unexcused absences and then must be absent for a real illness, sporting event, and/or funeral, then you're out of luck. Sorry, but that is my policy, which I had to create because of students ditching class for bogus reasons and then needing to be exempt from attendance requirements. In essence, you will be okay for the excused absences, but you will then be penalized for the preceding unexcused absences.
For example, if you miss three unexcused classes and then must take four excused days off (with proper documentation), then you will be charged with three absences, for a total of -15 points.

If you are absent, ask one of your classmates for class information and notes–I don’t go over old material for absentees. I notice chronic absenteeism. If you miss an inordinate number of classes and workshop groups, I will probably ask you to drop the course.

2. Sign-up Attendance Sheet. At the beginning of each class, I will pass around an attendance sign-up sheet. Sign ONLY your own name. Do NOT sign another student’s name, for ANY reason:


3. Late Arrival/Early Departure. Latecomers will be counted as absent. Period. Once I pass around the attendance sign-up sheet, typically at the beginning of class, the sign-up sheet will be put away, and, as far as I am concerned, late students are absent. If you have a good reason for your tardiness, then speak with me after class; I may or may not accept your reason.
I regret that it has come to this, but in the past few years or so, I have noticed a revolving door attitude toward classroom promptness, and I find this cavalier attitude distracting and rude. More important, when students are chronically late, they are disrupting the entire class, which is unfair to everyone concerned. If you anticipate having difficulties getting to this class on time, then I recommend that you drop the class and register for a time more conducive to your schedule. I will be giving out most assignments and general instructions at the beginning of class; thus, latecomers may miss important information, which I will not repeat. Latecomers will have to ask me for handouts. If you must leave class early, please let me know beforehand. However, don’t make early departure a habit.

For example, if you are an athlete or employee who anticipates having to leave this class early on a regular basis, you need to make sure to keep up with your readings and make certain that you are available for unit tests and the final exam. Otherwise, you may need to transfer to another class because I cannot, in all fairness to everyone, give special consideration to people involved in conflicting extracurricular activities, jobs, doctors' appointments, etc. You must spend at least two-thirds of the period to receive credit for attendance. Important: You may NOT make up exams or class exercises due to absences! (Please see "Policy on Due Dates," Section II.I.)

4. Class Participation. I expect you to keep up with the readings and participate in lively class discussions; from my standpoint, the class will be more interesting if you’re willing to share your views. Most importantly, your personal success and part of your grade will depend on your keeping up with assignments, readings, and participating in class exercises and discussions.

5. Pop Quizzes. If I begin hearing my own voice too much, students can expect pop quizzes from time to time. I dislike giving pop quizzes; they belong in high school and not in the college classroom. I would rather see students contributing to the success of this class rather than my spoon feeding "information."

6. Food and Drink. You may bring coffee, soda, juice, water, etc. to class. DO NOT BRING FOOD. You will be asked to leave. Eat your meals and snacks before and after class; I'm sorry if you have scheduled your classes back-to-back or that you are dashing from work to class, but our classroom is not a deli or cafeteria. If you bring a drink, you are responsible for picking up after yourself and placing your garbage into the trash can. The janitorial staff will appreciate your thoughtfulness and courtesy.

7. Classroom Decorum. In the past few years, I have noticed an alarming pattern of increasing class disruptions and rudeness: students yakking unabashedly out of turn, cell phones and other devices going off, lack of common courtesy for both me and peers, chronic lateness to class, crude language, outright rudeness–the list goes on.

Therefore, students who consistently engage in rude and disruptive behavior will lose points from their final grade, number of points to be determined at my discretion.
Discourteous people may be ordered to leave class, and, perhaps, asked to drop the course. I try to be courteous (yet firm in terms of academic expectations). I don’t derive pleasure from berating students in front of other students, and I respect student privacy (thus, I don’t post grades publicly or reveal a confidence to others). Furthermore, I write courteous e-mails and memos (and I expect the same in return).

8. Electronic Devices: Cell phones, iPhones, Alarm Watches, iPods, Blackberries, Headphones, Beepers, etc. All electronic devices must be turned off (except laptops for note taking–see #9) and put away during class time. At the very least, put your phone/beeper on vibrate and answer any messages outside the classroom and ONLY if you're an on-duty EMT, fire fighter, police officer, doctor, or other emergency worker. Otherwise, disengage from your technology. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in penalties against your final grade. Should a student’s electronic devices go off during class, I will be talking to that person privately. If the problem persists (more than three times), the offender can expect to be admonished in front of the class. Chronic offenders may be asked to drop the course!


9. Laptops. If you bring a wireless laptop to a "hot spot" classroom, you must disable your WLAN and limit your use to taking class notes. If you are caught checking your e-mail, surfing the net, and/or playing computer games during class, you will be asked to leave, and you will be marked absent for that period.

10. Submission Format. Please refer to Section III.G for literary journal format.

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