A syllabus is a contract. 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 every class
- complete all assignments
- 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 short reflections to a researched term paper.
- 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
- I will be thorough, helpful, and fair when I evaluate your work. (If you ever want more feedback than I give, please feel free to ask.)
- I will post all assignments and due dates on the course outline, by the first day of classes. (If I need to move a deadline up for any reason at all, I will tell you about it at least two weeks in advance.)
- I will, in at least a week, mark and return to you any assignment that you submit on time. (Exception: some longer assignments, such as full drafts of papers, may take up to 10 days.)
- For all submissions that are part of multi-stage assignments, I will grade and return your work at least a week before the next stage of the assignment is due. (Again, this applies to assignments that are submitted on time.)
- I will remind you, either in person or by e-mail, of upcoming assignments at least two class periods in advance of the due date.
- While respecting the official course outline for all published due dates, I will aim to keep the course relevant to your lives by maintaining some flexibility, so that we can make use of unexpected current events. So, for instance, if Seton Hill suddenly finds itself in the national news, I might, as part of the “Participation” grade, ask you to submit a short paper on the issue, or I might ask everyone to bring an an advertisement that illustrates a point we discussed in class. Such assignments will be announced in class on the day they are given.
- I will clearly describe my expectations
- I will explain how the assignment is intended to help you meet a specific learning goal
- I won’t assign more than four or five of these current-event assignments
3.2.2) My Promises to Students about Common Courtesy
- When you speak in class or in my office, I will honor you with my full attention.
- I will not email you when I am angry, nor let any other kind of inappropriate behavior (in the classroom or outside it) interfere with our academic relationship.
- If I have to cancel a class or appointment, I will notify you as soon as possible, and propose a back-up plan.
- If you tell me you would prefer to handle a matter in person, rather than by email or phone, I will happily make an appointment.
- I expect all members of a learning community to practice ethical behavior, and to work out their 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
- 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, 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’m marking papers or doing some other time-sensitive work).
- When I get an email from you , I will respond within 24 hours (usually much faster than that).
- I will respond quickly to short, specific emails that don’t depend on attachments.
- Thus, instead of attaching a full draft and asking me what I think, I’d prefer that you paste a brief writing sample directly into the body of your email, asking a specific question such as, “Dr. Jerz, I’ve pasted below two versions of my thesis statement. I think the second version does a better job using academic language. Am I on the right track?”
- That’s the sort of message I can answer while walking in from the parking lot; in fact — and I hope this isn’t revealing too much about myself — I get a little jolt of professional joy when I get such a message from a student. It’s something like how I feel when I get a “Like” from a Facebook friend, so please don’t be shy about reaching out in this manner.
- If you email me an attachment, I am more likely to wait and read it during the next block of time I’ve set aside for marking papers. At that time, instead of writing out a full response, I might instead ask you to come to my office hours so that we can discuss it in person.
- When I send an email, I will be clear and thorough,
- Messages from me to the whole class will have a subject line that starts with a course-specific label (so you can find them easily) and the rest of the subject will clearly state what the message is about (so that you’ll know whether it’s something to act on immediately, something you will need to act on before the next class, or something that’s just FYI). I will use your SHU-registered address, which can be set to forward wherever you prefer.
- Messages from me to individual students will have a clear subject line that will help you determine the importance of the message.
- 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 use Twitter, or whatever.
3.3) What Are the Assignment Submission Policies?
Required Formats: The course syllabus clearly labels each assignment with a label such as “Upload in the requested format,” “Print and bring to class,” or “Do during class.” An assignment is not complete until it is submitted 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, you may hand me a printout of something I asked to be uploaded, or you may email something I asked to be printed), but your work remains incomplete until it arrives in the requested format.
3.4) What Is the Attendance/Absence Policy?
Note: An excused absence does not automatically grant an extension or promise make-up participation points.
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.
- Each additional unexcused absence lowers your final grade by a third of a letter grade. This absence penalty is applied after all grades are calculated — including the grade for class participation.
- When a student misses a full week of classes, I will presume the student has withdrawn from the course, and report a final grade based on work completed.
- Frequent late arrivals and/or early departures may add up to count as absences.
- If you are absent from class on a day when a major assignment is due, or you are late to class because you are working on the assignment, I reserve the right to assess, on top of an unexcused absence or class participation penalty, a late penalty of one extra letter grade. (This is my way of urging you not to sacrifice class time to complete homework.)
3.4.1) What should I do if I have to miss class?
First, recognize that the course permits you one unexcused absence without penalty. (Note that you are still responsible for the material due, covered, or assigned that day; see the “Free Pass” section for my policy on due date extensions.)
Contact me directly, after you have done the following:
- Consulted the online syllabus to find out what is scheduled on the date(s) affected by your absence.
- Consulted a classmate for notes on what happened during class.
After you have informed yourself about what you missed, I will be happy to answer any specific questions, by e-mail or in person.
Note: It may not be possible to arrange make-up assignments for some due dates or class activities.
I welcome the chance to help you get caught up. Before you contact me, make sure you know exactly what work has been affected; consult the course syllabus and a classmate’s notes. After you’ve done that, we’ll both be ready to discuss the next step.
3.4.2) How should students prepare for a planned absence?
Those who miss class due to a scheduled activity must plan to 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 record the absence as unexcused.
3.4.3) What should students do about an emergency absence?
In the event of extended absences due to prolonged illness, I am willing to be flexible. But see 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, 20 minutes before class starts, on the given due date.
Printouts, when requested, are to be brought to class, and held until I ask for them, or until the class period ends (at which time you may submit them by turning them in on your way out).
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-).
Late work submitted after that loses a letter grade per day. (Thus, a B paper submitted at 1am the next day would drop to a C.)
No late work will be accepted two weeks after the due date. (Note that an F can be as high as a 59, and earning a 59 on an assignment is much better than not turning it in at all and earning a zero.)
No late or make-up work will be accepted after the last day of classes, unless you are using a “Late Pass” (see below).
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’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can relieve the pressure a bit.
There are, however, some important limits on this policy.
- For a single assignment during the course, you may email me before the deadline to claim a no-penalty, one-day “Late Pass” for that assignment.
- For a single assignment during the course, you may email me before the deadline to claim a no-penalty, three-day “Late Pass” for that assignment.
- 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.
- Late passes are not transferrable. That is, you can’t apply a “Late Pass” on one assignment, then later say you really want to use it on a different assignment. (So think carefully before using a pass on an assignment worth just 2% or 5% of your grade.)
- Late passes are not changeable. That is, once you’ve claimed a one-day pass for an assignment, you can’t later say you really want it to be a three-day pass. Neither can you add both passes to create a four-day pass.
- The “Late Pass” system is completely separate from the absence policy.
- Late passes do not apply to exams, pop quizzes, or other in-class activities.
- You may, however, use your three-day pass (if available) to delay an oral presentation (assuming that there is room in the course to reschedule your make-up assignment).
- There will be slots in the Turnitin.com gradebook where I keep track of whether you have used your late passes. Everyone will start out the course with two bonus points (on top of the standard 1000 non-bonus points). For each pass that you use, I’ll subtract one bonus point. I deliberately chose a trivial value for the bonus points, because I don’t want anyone to worry about the late pass policy. If you want a late pass for any reason, go ahead and use it.
3.7) What is the policy for make-up work / extra credit?
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: The best way to affect your final grade in the last week of term is to bring an extra draft of your final research paper to my office hours, where we can strategize to make the best use of the time you can commit to your revision assignment. I do not create or accept extra-credit assignments in order to alter your grade.