Attendance counts. If you miss more than 25% of the class meetings (seven classes) without an authorized excuse you will automatically fail this class. At four absences, your participation grade will begin to drop by a letter grade for each unexcused absence. Missed work cannot be made up or excused except in the case of severe illness, death in the family, or religious holiday – these absences must be documented if you’d like to make up missed work. Documentation for a university-authorized absence must be cleared with the professor in advance.  Come to class on time. Coming in late disrupts the class, and you’ll likely miss important information. It is your responsibility to ask classmates for announcements you may have missed by arriving late. Arriving late repeatedly will bring down your participation grade.


If you have, or think you have the flu (swine, bird or whatever) do not come to class. Do not come to class to tell me you have the flu. Send me an email before class and contact the Wellness Center for advice – and get documentation!


Attendance and lateness policies described above factor into your participation grade, and so does your contribution the community of learning in our classroom. Your participation in class depends on quantity and quality of participation. In this class, you’ll attend lectures, discuss, work in groups, and provide peer review feedback to classmates. Your positive and substantive contribution to each of these class elements is expected for a passing grade – completing the bare minimum requirements will earn you a bare minimum grade. Your physical presence in the room is less than bare minimum participation; participation includes attendance, attention, and attitude as well as substantive contributions. Leaving early, texting, checking facebook, chatting, sleeping, eating meals, and doing other non-class related work are distractions to you, me, and your classmates and will bring down your participation grade. If you need to leave class early, please tell me before class starts and sit near the door. If you miss class, ask 3 classmates what you missed before you ask me – I will ask you which 3 people you asked before you came to me. If you need clarification on anything after talking to those 3 students, come see me during office hours.

Classroom Citizenship

Students are expected to respect each other. When you enter a classroom, you are a member of a cohort – a community of learning. Your success depends on your neighbors’ success. Learning is a collaborative effort – in discussion, group work, and even lecture, understanding is co-produced. Your questions and perspectives matter, and so do your classmates’. Treat each other with tolerance, understanding and respect. The people you’ll interact with in class are your peers and future colleagues. Strive to do better on your own, but also strive to help your classmates to elevate the level of conversation in the classroom. You are responsible for your own work, but you are also responsible to your teacher and your peers – your positive substantive participation in discussion and group work is a valuable aspect of the class. It is essential in group work. Take your role in group work seriously, consider how you’d feel if your partner left you with all the work before you bail on a group assignment.

Technology in the Classroom

Use of technology in the classroom is encouraged! Bring laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. Use note-taking software; use bibliographic software; use the Internet. Class topics are not bound to lecture, discussion, and the room we are sitting in. Take your discussion, questions, exploration online – look up definitions and more information as we discuss and share that with the class. Use the class wiki to discuss, post helpful definitions or outside articles. Use Twitter to post class related comments (use #comm200 to mark your class-related tweets). With laptops, smartphones, tablets and other communication devices, you have a world of resources to help you learn – use them!

A Warning: Be respectful with your use of technology. Using technology is a skilled literacy and is a privilege – do not take advantage of this privilege. If you have a laptop or smartphone in front of you, expect to be called on to look up additional information. The presence of technology in the classroom does not give you an excuse to be physically present in the room but intellectually absent. If you are not using your technology as a learning tool relevant to this classroom, put it away. Technology can be a distraction to you, me and your classmates. You are here to substantively add to a community of learning. Texting under the table, using headphones to listen to music, messages or videos, giggling at facebook status updates, chatting, etc. during lecture, discussion, workshops, or any other in-class activity is rude! If I suspect that you are not using your laptop, smartphone, or whatever as a learning tool, I will call you out in class. Each time I have to call you out for using technology inappropriately in class, your participation grade will drop by a whole letter grade. If I have to call you out a second time you will be asked to leave the class. If I call you out a third time your technology privileges will be revoked entirely.

Students with Disabilities

Any student that needs special accommodation during exams or class periods should provide documentation from Services for Students with Disabilities confidentially to the instructor. The instructor will accommodate that student’s needs in the best way possible, given the constraints of the course content and processes. It is the student’s responsibility to plan in advance in order to meet their own needs and assignment due dates.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Plagiarism in your work will result in a minimum of a failing grade for that assignment. The case may carry further sanctions from the School of Communication or the University, the most serious being permanent expulsion. Avoid turning in work that could be interpreted as plagiarism or academically dishonest (e.g., failing to properly credit a source or using someone else’s ideas without clarifying that they are not yours).

This is an academic community; being uninformed or naïve is not an acceptable excuse for not properly referencing your sources.

It is dishonest to:

  turn in the same work for two classes;

turn in a paper you have not written yourself; or

copy from another student or use a “cheat sheet” during an exam.

Late work/ Lost work

Late work will not be accepted. Extensions will not be granted. Incompletes will not be assigned. Make-up work will not be assigned unless pre-arranged, or due to an authorized documented absence. If you anticipate you will miss an assignment, please discuss it with the professor early in the semester to arrange an alternative. You must give at least one week notice to arrange alternative exam/quiz locations and times. Save early, save often, and archive your emails. If an assignment is lost or you discover a discrepancy later in the semester, email documentation will be required (e.g., if you are sure you handed in an assignment that I do not have a grade listed for, be prepared to show me your dated original files or dated emailed work). Always double-check your emails when you send in assignments – all files should be PDFs; all links should be functioning. It is your responsibility to make sure I get your work – it is not my responsibility to tell you your file was corrupted, or your email bounced, or to remind you to hand in work.


The grade given to average work on all assignments is a C.  So, if you just complete the bare minimum for each assignment, expect to earn a C for your work. Grades of B or A indicate impressive achievement above the average. Grades of A in particular indicate especially exceptional work. Grades below C indicate inadequacies or errors in any or all of the grading criteria.

The grading scale is as follows:

94% A

90% A-

87% B+

84% B

80% B-

77% C+

74% C

70% C-

67% D+

65% D

0% F

Percentage grades are not rounded up. An 87.45 % is a B+, not an A-.

Students will receive comments and grades for each assignment. It is your responsibility to keep track of the grades you earn. I will not send you updates on cumulative grades. I will not send you warnings when you drop below some point value. I will not send you prompts to participate more or to work harder. Again, it is your responsibility to keep track of the grades you earn. The total points for the class and for the assignment are listed in the syllabus so at any point in the semester, you should be able to calculate an approximation of your grade easily. Students may meet with me during office hours throughout the semester to discuss their grades and comments.

If you would like to discuss a grade on an assignment you must make an appointment to visit me during office hours. Bring the assignment, my comments, and a written explanation of how your work met the requirements of the assignment, and showed impressive achievement above the average. You have two weeks from the day I return the assignment to dispute my assessment of that work. After two weeks, I will assume you are satisfied with my assessment, and I will not reconsider the assessment for any reason.


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