Course Policies

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The “No Busy Work” Principle

Assignments are meant to challenge you intellectually in some way and/or give you concrete experience doing relevant tasks, not to see how much “busy work” you can put up with. So I’ll never intentionally ask you to do something that takes time but that doesn’t give you more insights. Put another way, if you find yourself doing busy work in an assignment, re-read the instructions to see if they advise against doing what you’re doing. If that doesn’t end the busy work, ask me if you’re doing what is expected.

(Thanks to Robert Glushko for this one, and to Ryan Shaw for bringing it to my attention.)


Policies on submitting assignments & late assignments

  • Assignments must be completed by the beginning of the class session in which they are due.
  • Do not come to me with questions about assignments within 24 hours of the due date. You should start working on assignments well in advance, and think through the issues and questions that may come up for you in working on an assignment well in advance. I have little tolerance for cramming and rushed work. Besides, what if I was out of town during that last 24 hours before a due date, & couldn't get back to you right away?
  • Any assignment completed late will be scaled down so that the highest grade that a student can receive on the late assignment is the lowest grade that any student got who submitted the assignment in on time.
  • No assignment completed more than one week after the due date will be accepted, period.
  • Use a spell checker. Spelling errors are cause for your assignment to be graded down. Let's face it, there's really no excuse for spelling errors when spell check functionality is built into software.
  • These penalties will not apply to students who know in advance that they will be completing an assignment late, and let me know in advance. (Except the policy on spell checking; that applies regardless.) "In advance" means up until 24 hours before the class session in which the assignment is due.


Policies on participation in the course

  • The Honor Code, which prohibits giving or receiving unauthorized aid in the completion of assignments, is in effect in this class. It should be noted, however, that students are expected to both receive and provide some assistance in their work -- group work would be impossible otherwise. What is prohibited is not assistance, but major creative assistance or continuous minor support. The Honor Code can be read in full here.
  • You must attend every class and arrive at each class promptly. While I do not take attendance, I pay attention to attendance. You cannot participate in class if you're not in class. See the University's Class Attendance Policy in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
  • You must participate in class discussions, both in the classroom and online.
  • Reading assignments must be done before class so that you can ask questions and participate in discussions in class.
  • If there is something you don't understand, ask a question! If you don't want to ask during class, post it in the course online forums, talk to me before or after class, come to my office hours, or contact me by email. Participation counts for a percentage of your final grade, but there are many ways to participate.
  • If you know in advance that you must miss a class, let me know in advance. "In advance" means up until 24 hours before the class session.
  • If you miss a class session unexpectedly, get in contact with me ASAP.


Also, read this. It pretty much sums up my attitude.