Course Policies

Participation:  Participation is more than showing up. It’s being prepared for class and ready to work.  And then actually doing the assigned work.  So come to class prepared to discuss various aspects of reading and writing in the natural sciences. I will keep track of your participation and likely “cold call” on you silent, moody, or “multitasking” types.  Please resist the urge to facebook or twitter or tumblr or text your friends or do whatever it is you do when you’re bored with what you’re *supposed* to be doing. I reserve the right to count you absent if you are not actively participating in class work.

Attendance: The Writing Program’s policy that students must attend at least 75% of their classes to receive credit for the course.  Consequently, accumulating more than 7 absences is grounds for failing this course (i.e., upon the 8th absent, you will FAIL the course). If you arrive unprepared, it is the same as not coming to class and I will count you absent. Arriving late is DIS-RUPT-IVE, but I understand that sometimes, it just happens. But if it becomes a problem, I’ll start counting you absent.

Missing Class:  Missing class does not preclude you from being responsible for completing any and all work for that day in class.  If you miss class 1) check with a group mate to see what you missed 2) contact me to see what arrangements can be made up (not all assignments can be made up—in some cases missing class will mean missing points for quizzes, daily work, etc.) unless you have a valid excuse.  In most cases, I will work with you to make up missed work.  If you are missing class for a religious holiday or for a sanctioned University event, contact me IN ADVANCE and I will work with you to ensure you have equal opportunity to receive full credit for missed in-class work.

Due Dates: All assignments are due at the beginning of class. For drafting workshops and other assignments, you will be directed to submit an ELECTRONIC copy to Sakai BEFORE the beginning of class on its due date. For all feeders and final unit projects, submit an electronic copy to dropbox on Sakai at the beginning of class unless otherwise directed to post final response to our class blog (see Blogging below).  All late work will receive a FAILING GRADE.  That said, I will almost always work with you if you need to arrange an alternate due date so long as you contact me in advance (at least 24 hours).  Generally, there is no good excuse for not contacting me in advance about a due date. Computer malfunctions are not valid excuses for submitting late assignments. Always make sure you have plenty of time to upload your documents before class and make sure that you back up your work frequently.  Other invalid excuses I’ve heard:  I overslept; I forgot; I didn’t do it; My laptop broke and I couldn’t do it; I was in jail for arson.

Grading: As a class, we’ll create special rubrics for each Unit Assignment based on what we have been studying in class.  These rubrics will clearly illustrate the criteria being used to grade a particular assignment. You may refer to pages 8-9 of your Student Guide for the General Rubric, but these will be adapted for our class. Your final grade will be based on the following breakdown:

  • Feeders: 20% (5 feeders total, equally weighted)
  • Unit Projects: 60% (3 final projects total, equally weighted)
  • Class Participation: 20% (homework, general and group participation, draft workshop participation, etc.)

I will calculate your final grade according to the following scale:

93.0-100%      A          78.0-79.9%    C+
90.0-92.9%    A-         73.0-77.9%     C
87.9-89.9%     B+        70.0-72.9%     C-
83.0-87.9%     B          63.0-69.9%    D
80.0-82.9%     B-         0.00-62.9%   F

Computers: This is the new age and computers are just part of it. We’ll be using laptops pretty much everyday in class unless otherwise specified.  Students should allow time and seek assistance for any technical issues that arise when completing computer-based activities (information and technical assistance are available at http://help.unc.edu or by phone at 962-HELP). Students should also be aware that electronic class activities can be public in nature. The work that you conduct resides on the University computer network and may be viewed by an unknown audience. I will also be using DOCX files. If you do not already have the newest Microsoft Word, call 962-HELP for help downloading the DOCX patch.

Sakai: Sakai is a web-based instructional environment that will be our digital home for this semester. Here, you will find the syllabus, the assignments, and important announcements/reminders. We will use Blackboard mainly for the Discussion Board, but we may also use it for group and class communication outside of class and for sharing drafts and submitting assignments. To sign into Blackboard, go to:  https://www.unc.edu/sakai/

Your username and password for Sakai are your university ONYEN and password

Blogging: Some of our assignments will be submitted online rather than in paper. For these assignments you will be posting your projects to https://notexactlyrocketscience.web.unc.edu

I will be giving permission to everyone in class to post to this blog.  At that point in time, you’ll need to create a profile (upload a picture, create a user name, etc.) and familiarize yourself with the features of wordpress so that you can submit posts in a timely manner.

Conferences: You are welcome and encouraged to come and see me any time during my office hours, or by appointment, but you are required to meet with me for conferences TWICE during the semester. You may visit me during office hours or by a special appointment.  If you schedule an appointment, please contact me if you will be late or must miss the appointment. Missing a scheduled appointment will count as a class absence. If you fail to conference at least twice during the semester, it will negatively impact your participation grade and you will receive an absence for each missed meeting (up to two absences).

Plagiarism: The Instrument of Student Judicial Governance defines plagiarism as “the intentional representation of another’s words, thoughts, or ideas as one’s own” (4). I support the University policy on plagiarism. Because we will be working in groups, spending a lot of time drafting and revising papers, it is practically impossible for you to plagiarize and get away with it, so please don’t try it.  I will not hesitate to report plagiarism to the Honor Court; if you are found guilty, you will face one semester suspension and will fail the course. See me if you have questions or doubts about what constitutes plagiarism.  Remember that all drafts and non-graded work are also subject to this policy (in addition to all graded materials).

Academic Etiquette: In addition to participating in all class activities (which include class discussions, group activities, impromptu presentations, drafting, responding, and researching), I expect all students to refrain from non-productive activities during class time, such as IM-ing or emailing, carrying on extraneous conversations, or doing work for other classes.  Further, students will show respect for the course, the instructor, themselves, their classmates, and opinions that may differ from their own in deference to the educational atmosphere. If you fail to maintain appropriate academic etiquette relations with your class-mates or instructors, I will ask you to leave the class, you will be counted absent for that day, and you will not be able to make up any work you missed for that day.  If your behavior is in violation of the school Honor Code, I will contact the Dean of Students regarding the incident and you may be subject to further reprimand.

Honor Code: The students of The University of North Carolina have a long, proud tradition of honorable conduct, and I expect all students in this class to continue that tradition. Cheating, plagiarism, or other acts of academic misconduct will result in prosecution from the UNC Student Court, who may censure, suspend, or expel a guilty student. Because this course chiefly involves composition, be especially aware of the definition of plagiarism as explained in The Student Guide to English 100, 101 & 102. For more information, see the UNC Honor Code: http://honor.unc.edu/

Email:  You must use and check your UNC email—all other email addresses may have problems. Check your email early and often. It may have important announcements concerning assignments or class location changes. Failing to check your email is not an excuse for missing class announcements or assignments. If you think you are not getting emails, please contact ITS immediately to fix the problem.

Writing Groups: Students will work in a writing groups assigned by the instructor.  Students should make an effort to share the burden of group work equally and take seriously the mission of teaching and learning cooperatively.

Draft Workshops: This class relies on a draft workshop format, meaning that your peers will help you with your papers.  Ultimately, it is your decision to accept or refuse the input of any other person on your own writing, but everyone has a response for a reason and if the input is not accepted you should still ponder why it was offered in the first place and consider how to revise accordingly.  In order to encourage productive revision, my comments (like those of your peers) will not be comprehensive. I will focus on the most pressing areas of need (e.g. quality of thesis, organization, argument, logic, incorporation of evidence, transitions, etc.) and encourage you to address those first. Subsequent drafts will then provide opportunities to concentrate on other weaknesses.  If either your writing group members or I choose not to address a particular aspect of your writing, this should not imply that you do not need any improvement in that area.

Students with Disabilities: Any student in this course who has a disability that prevents the fullest expression of his or her abilities should contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss class requirements and recommendations necessary to ensure full participation. Please see UNC’s Disability Services for more information: http://disabilityservices.unc.edu/

The Writing Center: The UNC Writing Center offers free tutoring services for students. You may visit the writing center to ask for help with a specific paper, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues. For more information visit http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/