Category Archives: Section Syllabus


Since we will all be members of a learning community this semester, enthusiastic and dedicated class participation is essential.  We will discuss what makes a positive learning environment for you during the first week of class.

Daily assignments should be completed before class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus.

My own expectations for seminar are:

  • Informed, thoughtful, and respectful engagement in discussions, group activities, and in-class writing activities on a regular basis
  • Preparation of assignments before class (including bringing issues and questions for discussion)
  • Listening and responding to the professor and the other students on a daily basis (not just talking to talk, or talking in isolation from the larger conversation)
  • Leading class discussion once during the semester
  • Attendance and participation.  More than three absences will severely affect your grade.  See the main syllabus (5.1) about unexcused absences.  See the MAKEUP section below about excused absences.
  • Responding to your fellow students Blog Posts.  These responses will count toward your Attendance and Participation grade for the course.

Some classroom conduct is disrespectful to your fellow students, because it distracts everyone in the class from the learning process.  Please turn off cellphones and other digital communications devices.  Please arrive to class on time; late arrivals are disruptive.  Students who  read the newspaper, do the crossword puzzle, Facebook or browse the web, or engage in some other such activity during class time can expect a public request in class to cease the activity, a prohibition from the use of a laptop, and/or a lower Participation and Attendance grade in the course.

I take academic integrity very seriously. Integrity means more than “not cheating.” We are a learning community, and our collective journey this semester depends upon mutual trust.  As your professor, I pledge to be honest with you, and to do everything in my power to create an environment that enables learning.  I hope that you will do the same for me as well as your peers.

Discussion Facilitation

In pairs, each student will lead class discussion once during the semester.  The goals for the discussion will be to facilitate a deeper understanding of the readings and to enable participation by all students in the class.  More instructions will be provided during the first few weeks of class.

The Discussion Facilitation will be graded and will count toward your Attendance and Participation grade for the course

Digital Literacies

This section also has a component on “digital literacies.”  We will use online and digital tools to improve our writing and communication skills.  We will have a course blog, use an online citation management system for our papers, and possibly more.  You will see Digital Literacies (DL) listed on the section schedule the first few weeks.  We may add to it as the class progresses.

Essay Deadline System

For two of the essays in this course, we will use a three-tiered deadline system.  You will see on the course schedule a Deadline A, Deadline B, and Deadline C listed for many papers.  For any given paper assignment, this is how the system works.

Deadline A:  Papers submitted by this date will receive a grade and comments. I will return the graded paper to you by Deadline B.  You may choose to revise and rewrite the paper for grade replacement.  You have until Deadline C to revise and rewrite the paper and resubmit it.  (Note: you do not have to revise and rewrite; if you choose not to revise and rewrite, the grade on the Deadline A version will be the final grade for the paper.)

Deadline B:  Papers submitted by this date will receive a grade and comments, but cannot be revised for this paper cycle.  Comments will probably be useful for your next paper, though.

Deadline C:  Papers submitted by this date will receive ONLY a grade (no comments), whether or not they are revisions of a Deadline A draft.

Credit:  David Brakke, the Ohio State University.

Policy on Make-ups, Extensions, and Late Assignments

Papers submitted late will be penalized one letter grade per 24-hour period late.  The clock starts ticking when the assignment is due.  Late penalties are calculated based on the time the paper is submitted to Sakai.  (E.g., an “A” quality paper that was due Wednesday in class but was submitted on Thursday at 9 am will receive a B; if submitted at 5 pm Thursday, it will receive a C.)  For papers, anything turned in past deadline C will be considered late.  Deadlines A & B are fixed.

Students who miss a graded in-class assignment (such as a presentation or discussion facilitation) will receive a zero for that assignment.

Extensions on assignments and rescheduling in-class presentations/discussion facilitations will be provided only in emergencies (e.g., death in the immediate family, severe illness, etc.) or unavoidable conflicts with another required university commitment (such as an athletic competition) with advance notice.  Students with an emergency should contact the professor to make alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

This course has an Absence Policy (see section 5.1 of the main syllabus): “After three unexcused absences, your final grade for the course will be lowered by one-third of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a “B”) for each day that you are absent from class without a valid excuse. This means that if you miss five days of class without a valid excuse, your final grade for the course will be lowered by two-thirds of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a  “B-”). A valid excuse for missing class will require written documentation from a person who can certify the seriousness of your illness or other misfortune. Your instructor may require some form of make-up work for participation missed during an excused absence (emphasis added).”  This make-up work is described here.

  • Students may make-up their missed participation if they have documented illnesses, required sports games/meets or other university event, or a personal or family  emergency (such as a death of a close relative). It is the professor’s discretion as to which absences can or should be made up.      
  • To make up an absence, students will provide a written analysis of the readings/websites/films for the missed day.  The response will be a minimum of one page long , typed, 12-point font, and will be submitted via email within 24 hours of the student’s return to class.  It will be evaluated for quality and will count toward missed participation that day, depending on the quality of the paper.
  • At the beginning of the semester, athletes/debaters/etc. should provide me with the dates of class to be missed due to official university activities.
  • Students who are too ill to come to class should go to health services and provide documentation with their make up assignment if they choose to make it up.
  • Students with a personal or family emergency should email me to see if the absence can be made up.
  • Lying to avoid a penalty is a violation of the Honor Code
  • Make friends: Students who miss class should get notes from a peer before coming to talk to the professor about missed material.
  • The make-up policy outlined above is designed for students who have unavoidable commitments or emergencies, which will lead to more than a week of absences.  Students with multiple absences at the beginning of the semester should not expect accommodation late in the semester.


Grading Additional Writing and Participation

Additional Writing assignments (including Blog Posts) will all be given points.  The Additional Writing grade will be given a letter grade corresponding to the percentage of points earned.

Participation has many components, including in class activity, the discussion facilitation, blog post responses, and other assignments.

40% of the participation grade will be based on in class regular class participation

20% of the participation grade will be based on the discussion facilitation

40% of the participation grade will be based on blog post responses and other assignments designated CP (Class Participation) on the course schedule.  These assignments will have points.  This part of the Participation grade will be a percentage grade:  the percentage of points earned.

Don’t forget:  Participation and the final course grade are also affected by absences.