1.1) What is “Media Lab” about?
Course through which students may earn credit on The Setonian (student newspaper) and its online counterpart. Meets for one hour per week, with an additional production lab for each issue (4 or 5 times per semester). Repeatable for credit.
For Spring 2013, our theme will be ethics, our skill focus will be AP style copyediting, and our term project will be producing the Setonian Graduation Magazine.
1.2) Where and when does it meet?
- Location: Admin 405
- Class: Tu 12:45pm-2:00pm
- Lab: (as required)
1.3) How do I contact Dr. Jerz?
2.1) What are the learning objectives?
The course is designed to provide professional skills and leadership training to students working for The Setonian. This class will give you practical experience that will help you develop your resume (so you will be more competitive when applying for internships, grad school, jobs, etc.).
2.2) How does this course contribute my knowledge of journalism?
As humans, we learn by doing. This course offers a framework where we can discuss and reflect on the individual skill-building appropriate for your level of experience as a journalist, and your role as a member of the Setonian staff.
For journalism majors, the course has additional significance, as it is intended to help you meet New Media Journalism learning objectives 4, 5, 7, and 8.
- Examine a wide range of genres, styles and cultural literatures.
- Examine the traditional canon and innovative nontraditional writers and writing.
- Demonstrate analytical skills of reading literature.
- Demonstrate a high level of research and writing skills.
- Write and speak in a wide range of formats appropriate to major emphasis…
- Speak and write about issues in the discipline and how they interact with the culture at large.
- Articulate the ongoing relation between personal habits of reading and writing and the evolving study of English.
- Produce a professional portfolio that demonstrates an awareness of and engagement with vital issues in an appropriate professional field relating to new media journalism.
The components of a Seton Hill University liberal arts education are carefully chosen in order to, in the words of Elizabeth Ann Seton, “fit you for that world in which you are destined to live.”
According to a survey published in 2009 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), here are the skills employers say they want in their new hires:
- Communication skills (verbal and written)
- Strong work ethic
- Teamwork skills (works well with others)
- Analytical skills
(See also this brief NACE video, Job Outlook 2010)
Developing leadership skills in a student publication offers solid experience in each of the areas NACE highlights.
Help Produce The Setonian (Why?)
- Service to the Seton Hill Community: Of course a student publication needs writers, but articles submitted to The Setonian also need to be edited, fact-checked, proofread for Associated Press Style, laid out on the page, posted online, and delivered around campus. EL200 is your opportunity to serve The Setonian in these important ways.
- Resume Experience: The course asks you to develop your own skills by participating in the group effort to publish the voice of the student body.
- Work-Study Employment: Students holding positions of responsibility on The Setonian (or Setonian Online) may be eligible for work-study funding. If the work you get paid to do also helps meet your EL 200 requirements, that’s fine with me.
English majors: Save assignments from this class for your senior graduation portfolio. They will be particularly helpful when you search for evidence that you have met educational outcome goals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
2.3) What kinds of assignments are involved?
I will calculate your grade on a basis of 400 points.
Production Lab Reports
(4 Print, 2 Online)
150 Quizzes 50 Reading Responses 50 Magazine Contributions
(2 Articles, 1 self-assessment)
150 TOTAL 400
See syllabus section 3.4 for details on how the course attendance policy can affect your final grade.
- Meet deadlines. In order to help you stay on track, the smaller exercises are designed to help you develop skills you will need for the larger assignments.
- Keep up with the online activities (graded and ungraded).
- In-person attendance and online activities are both required components of the class. Each is meant to amplify the other.
- Have a backup plan. You won’t receive an automatic extension just because you haven’t heard back from your sources.
2.4) What are the assigned texts and required materials?
- The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. 2012. (ISBN 0738207403) (You may instead use an older edition, but as a journalism student you are still responsible for knowing the latest AP style guidelines.)
- You may instead purchase the The Associated Press Stylebook iPhone App ($24.99. I liked the 2011 version, but the most recent version has received very weak reviews. Buyer beware.)
- Haiman, Robert J. Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists. (Free PDF.)
- A free account on turnitin.com (class ID 6016675, password “min3sources”)
- Various activities on moodle.setonhill.edu.
- I will occasionally assign news stories or other texts, to serve as models or occasions for discussion.
- Bring your iPad or your MacBook (whichever you prefer) for every class.
- Some in-class activities involve using one or the other machine. (I’ll let you know about those classes in advance.)
2.5) Where do I find the course outline?
You will find all deadlines and assignment descriptions on the course website, which includes the official course outline and syllabus. Point your web browser to:
That page has a list of current and upcoming assignments and activities.
A full course outline is available at
A syllabus is our shared road map. By enrolling in this course, you agree to read this syllabus so that you will know what I expect of you, and what you can expect of me.
3.1) What Are Students Expected to Do?
- attend each class
- complete all assignments (no student will pass the course with 10% or more of the work unattempted)
- consult first with peers about material missed during absences (excused or unexcused), and then following up with specific questions for me
- show good manners and common courtesy in interactions with peers and with me
- contribute actively to a positive learning environment, by
- giving full attention to whoever has the floor in our classroom
- preparing adequately for and participating respectfully in class activities
- seeking out help when necessary (this means consulting any of the many resources available to help you succeed, such as this syllabus, the textbooks, my office hours, the writing center, the librarians, and counseling & tutoring services)
- building confidence by working carefully through each stage of a sequence of assignments, from brainstorming reflections to a polished final submission.
- read and comply with this syllabus
3.2) What does Dr. Jerz Promise in Return?
I promise my students that, as their instructor, I, too, will stick to the policies described in this syllabus. See below for details.
3.2.1) My Promises to Students about Assignments
- On the first day of classes, all assignment due dates will be posted on the course website. (Final details such as exactly how to submit the assignment, or advice and clarifications responding to student questions may trickle in later, but details will usually be in place at least a week before the due date.)
- I will be thorough, helpful, and fair when I evaluate your work. (That requires time.)
- Balancing thoroughness with timeliness, I aim to return all submissions in about a week.
- Longer assignments may require about 10 days. (I’ll let you know when to expect feedback.)
- You are always welcome to make an appointment if you’d like faster feedback, or more thorough feedback.
- Late submissions go to the bottom of my grading stack. (If it’s only a day or two late, I can probably return your paper along with everyone else’s; however, keeping you on track for the next stage in a multi-stage assignment may require you to schedule some one-on-one time with me.)
- While respecting the official course outline for all published due dates, I reserve the right to make small changes. For instance, if Seton Hill suddenly finds itself in the national news, or a high-profile speaker comes to campus, I might adjust the syllabus to make use of the opportunity. (I’ll warn you in advance, and carefully explain my reasons.)
3.2.2) My Promises to Students about Common Courtesy
- When you speak in my office or in my classroom,
- I will honor you with my full attention.
- I will expect your peers to honor you with their full attention
- I will not allow serial interruptions (the state of constant distraction often mislabeled as “multitasking”) to compete for my attention when I should be focusing on a learning activity.
- I will not email you when I am angry; nor will I let any other kind of inappropriate behavior (in the classroom or outside it) prevent the development of a positive academic relationship.
- If I have to cancel a class or appointment, I will notify you as soon as possible, and I will take the initiative in proposing an alternate arrangement.
- I will expect all members of a learning community to practice ethical behavior, and to work out any differences respectfully (following policies stated in this syllabus, as well as behavior determined by good manners and common sense).
3.2.3) My Promises to Students about Communication and Availabliity
- I will make myself available for appointments during my posted office hours; if those times fill up, or the slots are not convenient for you, or I have to cancel, I will set up an appointment for another time.
- I will generally keep my office door open for walk-in visits, except when I am unavailable (which typically means I’ve already committed my time to somebody else, or I’m working on a deadline; when I’m busy, my door will be closed)
- In general I aim to respond to email by the end of the next working day. If you haven’t heard from me by then, please resend your message.
- Like most people, I will respond most quickly to short, specific emails that don’t depend on attachments.
- I am not likely to respond quickly or in detail to a general message like this: “Dr. Jerz, I’ve attached my draft. What do I need to fix?” (In fact, I would probably just ask you to come to my office for a consultation.)
- I am likely to respond quickly to a well-formed, specific question, something that shows you have already put effort into the question: “Dr. Jerz, I’ve pasted below two versions of my research question for EL150. I think the second version does a better job narrowing the topic. Am I on the right track?” (Please don’t be shy about contacting me with questions like that — I enjoy being helpful.)
- If you ask a particularly good question, I may take your name off of the question and send both your question and my answer to the whole class; or, I may devote class time to answering the question.
- Messages that I initiate will have a meaningful subject line that helps you to determine the importance of the message.
- I will aim to be clear and thorough. (A message from “firstname.lastname@example.org” that asks me about “class” is unhelpful.”)
- I will use your SHU-registered address, which can be set to forward wherever you prefer.
- If reading and writing email is not your thing, I would be happy to have a telephone conference, or email you a voice memo from my iPad, or whatever.
3.3) What Are the Assignment Submission Policies?
- Required Formats: The course syllabus clearly marks each assignment with labels such as “Upload in the required format,” “Moodle,” or “Do during class.” An assignment is not complete until it is received in the requested format.
- Alternate Formats: If you have problems submitting it in the requested format, you may “stop the late clock” by submitting it to me in an alternate form (that is, a student might email me something that I asked you to upload to Turnitin.com), but your work remains incomplete until it arrives in the requested format.
- Incomplete Submissions: Submitting an incomplete paper (or uploading “the wrong file”) before the deadline, and then waiting until after the deadline to submit an update, means the whole assignment is marked late. (If you submit “the wrong file” more than once, I reserve the right to stick with your original submission.)
- Missing Work: No student who leaves 10% or more of the course work unattempted will pass the course, regardless of points earned on other assignments.
3.4) What Is the Attendance/Absence Policy?
Seton Hill University recognizes that extra-curricular activities of all sorts are important components of a liberal arts education. At the same time, your instructors expect you to take an active role in reducing the impact of unavoidable absences.
- Students are expected to attend every class. (See SHU Catalog.)
- Students are responsible for all material collected, covered, and/or assigned during an absence — whether excused or unexcused.
- Students are permitted one unexcused absence for “free,” with no grade penalty.
- After the “free” absence, each additional unexcused absence lowers your final grade by up to 5 points. This absence penalty is applied after all other grades are calculated.
- When a student misses more than one week’s worth of consecutive classes, for any reason, I will presume the student has withdrawn from the course, and report a final grade based on work completed. (You may submit a written request for reinstatement, along with a detailed plan for making up every missed assignment and staying on track for the rest of term.)
- Late arrivals, early departures, inattentiveness, unpreparedness, or disruptive behavior may count as absences. (I will warn you when your behavior is about to accrue to an absence.)
3.4.1) What should I do if I have to miss class?
- First, recognize that the course permits you one unexcused absence, no questions asked. I don’t need to see a note from your doctor or a court summons.
- If you ask for a second absence to be excused, I will need to see sufficient, convincing documentation for both absences, in order for me to waive the penalty for the second absence. (See 3.4.3 below for extended absences and emergencies.)
- Note that if you miss a class for any reason, you are still responsible for material due, discussed, or assigned on that day; see the “Free Pass” section for my policy on due date extensions.
- I welcome the chance to help you get caught up. Before you contact me,
- Consult the syllabus to find out what is scheduled on the date(s) affected by your absence.
- Consult a classmate for notes on what happened during class.
- After you have informed yourself about what you missed, we will be ready to discuss any specific questions, by e-mail or in person. Of course, it may not be possible to arrange make-up alternatives for some assignments or class activities (such as listening to peer presentations, or participating in draft workshops).
3.4.2) How should students prepare for a planned absence?
- Those who plan to miss class for any reason must complete all make-up assignments before the missed class. The planning process begins when you submit (by email) a completed “Absence Form” (available at http://jerz.setonhill.edu/teaching/Absence.doc“), a week before the missed class.
- If there is insufficient time for us to agree upon an acceptable suggestion for making up missed work, or if an approved make-up assignment is late or unsatisfactory, then I may treat the absence as unexcused.
3.4.3) How should students recover from an emergency absence?
In the event of extended absences due to prolonged illness or other unavoidable hardships, I am willing to be flexible. Submit a written explanation, with any documentation that you feel will help me decide in your favor. But see 3.6 below: “Late Pass” Stress-relief Policy.
3.5) What is the policy for making up missed work?
- Online assignments are due in the requested format, before class starts, on the given due date. (Assignments in Turnitin.com will be due about 30 minutes before class — the actual times will be given in Turnitin.com.)
- Printouts, when requested, are to be brought to class, and held until the end of class, at which time you are to submit them by placing them on the table in the front of the room as you leave. (I may instead ask for them at some point during class.)
- Late work submitted before midnight on the due date receives a 1/3 letter grade penalty. (Thus, a B paper submitted at 10pm would drop to a B-. I will usually factor this grade into the score I assign — you won’t see a special note that says “late penalty added.”)
- Late work submitted after that loses up to a letter grade per day. (Thus, a B paper submitted at 1am the next day may drop to a C.)
- No points will be awarded for work submitted more than a week after the due date. (Note that students may still have to complete an assignment for no credit in order to meet a course requirement.)
- No late work will be accepted after the last day of classes, unless you are using a “Late Pass” (see below).
- No student will pass the course if 10% or more of the work has been unattempted.
3.6) What is the “Late Pass” Extension Policy?
- For any reason, you may take a brief extension on any two assignments.
- I’m offering “Late Passes” so that, if you fall ill or get swamped during a crunch time, you won’t have to jump through any hoops to get a doctor’s note, but you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can relieve the pressure a bit.
- If you want to take a late pass for any reason at all, go ahead and use it. There are, however, some important limits on this policy.
- For a single assignment you may click the following link before the deadline in order to claim a no-penalty, One-Day “Late Pass” for that assignment. (Clicking the link will generate an email. If the link does not work for you, you may also make the request via telephone call or via paper.)
- For a single assignment you may click the following link before the deadline in order to claim a no-penalty, Three-Day “Late Pass” for that assignment. (Clicking the link will generate an email. If the link does not work for you, you may also make the request via telephone call or via paper.)
- If you miss a deadline without requesting a late pass, or if you use up both of your passes, the regular late penalties will apply. (So think carefully before using a pass on an assignment worth just 2% or 5% of your grade.)
- You cannot change a one-day pass to a three-day pass, or combine them both to create a four-day pass.
- The “Late Pass” system is completely separate from the absence policy. I’ll still expect you in class on the day the assignment is due, even if you’ve given yourself a “Late Pass” extension.
- Late passes are for homework; they do not apply to in-class work of any kind (including oral presentations).
3.7) What is the policy for make-up work / extra credit?
The best way to boost your grade is to complete a draft of a major paper a few days before the deadline, and schedule an office visit so that I can give you detailed, penalty-free feedback that will help you improve your assignment before I report a grade for it.
- Make-up Work: For some time-sensitive assignments, such as responding to readings before a class discussion, participating in peer-review workshops, or attending peer presentations, there are no possible replacement assignments. Otherwise, make-up assignments should be part of our discussion of your Absence Form (see above).
- Extra Credit: I do not create or accept extra-credit assignments.
4.1) What is Seton Hill University’s Academic Integrity Policy?
Seton Hill University expects that all its students will practice academic honesty and ethical conduct. The University regards plagiarism, cheating on examinations, falsification of papers, non-sanctioned collaboration, and misuse of library material, computer material, or any other material, published or unpublished, as violations of academic honesty. Violators of the code may expect disciplinary sanctions, which are discussed in the Seton Hill University Catalog.
Any unreferenced use of the written or spoken material of another, or of previously submitted work of the student’s own, constitutes plagiarism. Paraphrasing the thoughts or written work of another without reference is also plagiarism. For additional information see “Academic Integrity Materials” in Griffin Gate and your textbook’s section on plagiarism. Any plagiarism on a draft will result in a zero as the final grade on that assignment. Any plagiarism on an informal essay will also result in a zero.
4.2) What is Seton Hill University’s Disability Services Policy?
If you have a disability that requires instructor consideration, please contact the Director of Disability Services at 724-838-4295. It is recommended that this be accomplished by the second week of class. If you need accommodations for successful participation in class activities prior to your appointment at the Disability Services Office, you should offer information in writing that includes suggestions for assistance in participating in and completing class assignments. It is not necessary to disclose the nature of your disability.
4.3) What is Seton Hill University’s Information Literacy Policy?
Seton Hill University defines information literate students as those who make intelligent choices when gathering information in support of a chosen topic. Students who develop information literacy skills will successfully:
- Select an appropriate topic
- Determine the parameters of the topic
- Locate and access relevant information
- Critically evaluate information
- Synthesize diverse types of information into a comprehensive and coherent work
- Understand economic, legal, and social issues related to the information
- Interact with faculty and staff in a manner conducive to developing acceptable research skills