Course Policies

The policies below tend to be consistent across most of the courses that I teach. In many cases, I have forgone the boilerplate language that I tend to use for undergraduate courses--this shouldn't be taken to mean that I don't take these things seriously. Rather, it's simply recognition that my students should already be familiar with the details of such policies, and that they don't need repeating here. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Attendance is expected; if you need to miss more than 1-2 class meetings, we should probably have a conversation outside of class, and scheduling that conversation is your responsibility.

Accommodations are available; I am happy to do what I can to make this course as productive for you as possible. For this course, that may mean making our facilities available to you outside of class. Simply let me know if you'd like me to do so.

Participation is important; I do not structure my courses as lectures—I try to incorporate material that is new to me so that we have a chance to work through it together, but that places responsibility on each of us to contribute. It should go without saying that I place a high value on constructive participation—the best seminars are 15-week, ongoing conversations. They are not contests to see who can speak first or to see who can be “right.”

Privacy is an increasingly important issue, and I'm mindful that you may not wish to put unfinished work online. Often, the work you place online will be available publicly, and we may find that some of the people we are reading come across our course in reference to themselves--this is particularly true in the case of blogging reading notes, for instance. This can be both exciting and unnerving. I urge you to make every attempt to be civil, constructive, and polite online--take seriously the idea that the broader world is your audience, and behave accordingly. If you find yourself in a position where you are not certain whether to post something publicly, and would prefer to submit it privately (either to the class or to me), that is always a viable option, and it will not affect your grade for the course.

Weather can sometimes be a factor in the early part of the spring semester at SU. Generally, I do not prefer to drive in the snow and ice--in cases where our meeting time makes this unavoidable and/or dangerous, it is possible that I will ask you to "meet" with me online. This may mean conducting a conversation over Twitter or in a Google Hangout--we will cross that bridge if we come to it.