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Course Policies




CONTACTING THE INSTRUCTOR: If you wish to reach us for some reason, please feel free to email at any time. We will try to respond as quickly as we can but please expect delays on the weekends. if you believe your question is one that may be answered by others in the class or would be useful for others to see, post it in the forum portion for others, to consider.

HOW WE RESPOND TO STUDENTS: In general, when you send a direct question,either privately or to the forum,you should expect to receive a response within 24 hours. We will not always respond to every message sent to the forum by every student (any more than we would always comment on every statement made by every student in a physical classroom). When we don't respond to your discussion postings , it doesn't mean we're ignoring you or are displeased with your response --it simply means that we trust students to carry on class discussion without constant instructor control. When a major assignment is due (an essay, for example) you should expect to receive your critiqued and graded work back within 48 hours of the assignment deadline unless you see a message indicating otherwise.

ONLINE COMMUNICATION: This course may be, for some of you, a very different experience from other college classes. We will not see each other every day for class discussions, lectures and other activities, but we will nevertheless engage ourselves in these activities on a very regular basis. It is possible that we will not get to know each other as well as we would if we were sharing the same physical space day after day, hearing each other's voices and seeing each other's facial expressions -- but we will get to know each other very well in other ways by reading each other's written questions, comments and essays.

FLEXIBILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: We will, in all likelihood, appreciate the relative freedom allowed us by this course's schedule: we will do our coursework on a regular basis, but when we have the time, not when it is time for our daily class sessions. Bear in mind, however, that this course is not self-paced -- it does follow a regular schedule -- and the absence of in-class meetings places a good deal of responsibility on your shoulders: you are the only person who can motivate yourself to get your work done thoroughly and on time

CLASS PARTICIPATION: Your active participation in all class activities is absolutely crucial to your success, and to the success of your classmates. When you have questions or are unsure about a course concept, you cannot "hide in a corner" in the classroom and wait for a classmate to ask: you are the only person you can count on to ask the right questions. The successful student in this course will be dedicated, responsible, and self-motivated.

MESSAGES: Often, students send us private messages asking very good questions. Some of them are new, unasked questions, and some of them have already been asked and answered in the forum. In order to avoid the dual problems of students who lack information and an instructor going bonkers from repeating herself, we'd like to propose two things: First, every time you have a question whose answer might benefit the entire class, please post it in the forum instead of sending it to me privately. (Of course, if you feel a need to be private about your question, go ahead and send it to my mailbox.) Second, every time you log on, read the headings of unread messages to see if there is something you should be looking at.Even if it doesn't have a heading that makes it look earth-shatteringly important, a message might tell you precisely the thing you were wondering about.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Students who have documented disabilities that require accommodations in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the student services office as well as the instructor of the course in order to ensure that together we create an optimal environment for educational achievement.

FORMAT POLICY: All work prepared for this class should be posted to the appropriate place as instructed. Keep in mind that even though you are submitting work electronically, you are still responsible for the correctness of your writing (sentence structure, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) All "formal" writing assignments should follow the same format you would use for a hard-copy academic essay (but you should single-space for the sake of on-screen readability); be sure to include your name, the date, the assignment, the course name, and a title on each assignment. Remember that you must create your own title -- don't use the title of a piece of literature you're analyzing or critiquing, which has already been taken -- and that your title should both intrigue your reader and provide a meaningful indication of what your essay's main point will be. Note: It is easiest to accomplish all of the formatting requirements by writing your assignments in your favorite word processor, and then cutting and pasting .

DEADLINE POLICY: In general, whether we're teaching an on-campus course or an online course, we do not accept late work, and this course is no exception. If anything, the importance of deadlines is heightened in an online course, in which your classmates are often dependent on your timely participation in order to complete their own work on time. Your course outline informs you of the exact dates when your work is due; all work is due by 11:59 p.m. on its due date -- in other words, before it becomes the next day. ( Please keep in mind that, foremost all assignments, you are not required to submit work ON a specific day, but rather BY a specific day -- if you will be out of town and away from a computer on Tuesday when an assignment is due, feel free to turn it in on Monday, or Sunday . . . but not on Wednesday, if you wish to receive credit. Should you ever find yourself in a position where you turn in an assignment past its due date, rest assured that we will critique it as thoroughly as if it had been submitted on time, but it will not receive any points. If you are prone to last-minute writing, you are advised to discipline yourself and break the habit in order to avoid the panic and frustration that come along with last-minute emergencies. My job is not to evaluate the quality of your excuses; it is to assess the quality of your work.

ORIGINAL WORK POLICY: All work submitted by students in this course is to be original. This means, of course, that plagiarism (turning in someone else's words or ideas as if they were your own) is unacceptable in all its forms, and should it occur, it will be dealt with severely. Beyond understanding the penalties for intentional plagiarism, however, it is important that students realize that all work turned in for this course must be the original work of the student, prepared specifically for this class. Turning in an assignment that will also be used (or has already been used) in another course is strictly forbidden unless advance permission is received from all instructors involved. Additionally, it is imperative that, before undertaking to include research materials in an essay, students clearly understand the difference between "unintentional plagiarism" and careful, legitimate research with appropriate citation. If you are unclear about what plagiarism is, be sure to ask me.

"CLASSROOM" BEHAVIOR POLICY: The college classroom, both "live" and electronic, must be a working and learning environment in which adults treat each other with respect. Students who demonstrate a disregard for working, learning, adult behavior, appropriate use of language, or respect for others' ideas may be asked to leave the class.

ADVICE ON READING: This is a course involving the critical and analytical study of texts. As such, you are assigned a significant amount of reading, which you must complete with care and thought if you hope to get the most out of this course. You would do well to set aside at least 35 hours per week, plus or minus, for the work required in this class. Careful reading of difficult text can be accomplished at about 20-40 pages per dedicated hour, depending on your reading speed and often a text should be read twice for full understanding; do the math and plan accordingly. Note: One of the skills you will develop in this course is effective and efficient reading; it's a good idea to read the weekly agenda, assignments and discussion questions carefully before completing the week's reading,. Often printing accompanying lectures, assignments and discussion questions is very helpful.

ADVICE ON REVISION: Revision is an integral part of the writing process. Papers simply don't pop out of the printer (or zip through cyberspace, as the case may be) perfect on their first drafts. We believe that drafting, getting feedback, and revising in response to that feedback are necessary steps in the process of good writing. Therefore, we require students to submit drafts and revisions of all essays for this class; further, we strongly encourage students to consult with me, and with each other, while preparing all writings for this class. We are happy to read drafts and make comments that will help you improve your writing.

WORKLOAD -- A WARNING: Although the workload in this class is comparable to an on-campus class, it will take you more time to complete than it would in the on-campus class. This is because it simply takes longer to have discussions online (reading and writing) than in a classroom (speaking and listening). If you signed up for this class thinking it would be "easier" than an on-campus course, you were mistaken. If you signed up for this class hoping that you could squeeze it into your busy schedule better than an on-campus course . . . well, that may be true, but chances are, if you're too busy for a "regular" class, you won't have enough time to devote to this class either.

ADVICE ON APPROACHING THE CLASS: Engaging in this class shouldn't feel like a chore that you resent having to perform. If it does, you should probably do some serious thinking about why you're enrolled. This isn't the kind of class -- if such a class exists -- that you can pass by memorizing a bunch of stuff on Thursday and spitting it out onto a Scantron form on Friday. In this class, you are expected to spend your time actively engaged in thinking about, and wrestling with, complex themes and ideas. We'll do a lot of difficult brain work in this class. You will be expected to read a lot, think a lot, and write a lot. If you approach this class by wondering how little work you can do and still get by, or if you approach this class by thinking only about what grade you're getting instead of what you're learning, then you will not succeed. If, however, you approach this class with dedication and a positive attitude, we guarantee that you will be rewarded with the satisfaction that comes from the genuine acquisition of knowledge and skill.


In this course, students have the right to an instructor who will:
* help students to learn
* be organized, and share that organization with students
* establish realistic goals
* pay attention to students' needs
* be aware of different learning styles
* attend and participate consistently
* maintain open lines of communication
* be a good resource for students
* share knowledge
* consistently offer constructive criticism
* maintain an open mind
* treat the course and all its participants with dignity and respect

In this course, the students are responsible for:
* learning
* attending class consistently
* coming to class prepared to work
* completing all assigned readings on time
* submitting all assignments on time
* participating in all activities of the course
* seeking assistance when it's needed * maintaining open minds
* giving the course and all its work their best effort
* taking control of their own attitude, time, and performance
* participating in effective and useful groups
* treating the course and all its participants with dignity and respect

If you have questions about anything in this document, please post them so that other students can benefit from the answers.

* Syllabus