Class Policy: Absent, late...
Policies: Attendance, WebTalk, Reading Essay and Book
There are can be many reasons why you may not meet the class requirements listed in the
syllabus: religious holidays, problems with your home computer, sickness, family
emergencies, overwhelming assignments form other classes, need to help your friends,
demands from romance, and so on. I expect you to consider seriously your commitment
to the class and do you best to meet the class requirements. However, I believe that
meeting class requirements may not always be possible. I respect your judgment and
decision making even if I may disagree with it.
When you violate class requirements, you often put some stress on our class community.
So I expect you to do some community work in exchange for us accepting your violation and
dealing with the stress (exchange of favors).
Here is what I expect form you to do when you violate class requirements. By
fulfilling these expectations you making good stand in the class (i.e., requirements for
"A" in this class).
Attendance. I'm taking attendance roll. If you
didn't attend a class meeting because of special circumstances, you should post either
a) a 1-2 single page thought paper on the WebTalk on the weekly topic,
see the syllabus for the list of topics (in addition to required 2 minimum weekly web
postings) or b) find a relevant and interesting website, summarize how and why it
is interesting and relevant, and post it on the Webtalk, or c) wrap-up and analyze
weekly reading essays or mini-projects for the week you missed the class on the
Postings on the WebTalk. If you didn't post at
least 2 weekly messages on the WebTalk, you should post these messages later plus one
more posting in addition to next week postings.
Reading Essays. If you post a late reading essay, you
should summarize (wrap up) the posted papers of the other students (common threads,
controversial points, disagreements, interesting examples in their writing) for this week
on the webtalk (1-2 single-spaced pages) in addition to you minimum weekly web posting.
Finally, there are four notes:
- If the violation of requirements occurs because of technical problems
with the web, I'll make adjustments in the requirements. However, please, make
creative efforts to inform me about the problem and to send me your assignment on time via
another channels (e.g., email, paper).
- It may be beneficial to inform me about your special circumstances and
expected/occurred violations of class requirements as early as possible via email or phone
- Your special circumstances may be at such scope that class requirements
may not work for you and may not be beneficial for your learning. If you feel that
it may be the case, please, contact me for adjustment of requirements as soon as possible
via email or phone call.
- The policy may be amended with emerging new concerns and problems in our class
community. Please, check this page when you have a question or a concern and then contact
to me if you can't find the answer.
Concerns: Pros and cons of having a policy
I have several concerns regarding both having a class policy regarding breaking class
requirements and expectations and not having such policy. My concerns stemming from
my primary desire to facilitate and to protect your learning and my secondary desire to
avoid being burnout and overwhelmed.
Pros of having a policy:
- Some students can fall through cracks when there are no consequences of their violation
of the class requirements. It can occur because of many reasons including the
students: being overwhelmed with many other classes and their strict requirements, being
raised in educational institutions that do not promote responsibility for students' own
learning, not knowing how to get support and guidance, and so on.
- Class requirements promote students' engagement in learning activities and each other's
- Class requirements create a class common focus than otherwise would be dissipated.
- Violation of class requirements can often create additional work for the instructor.
Cons of having a policy:
- All the requirements and deadlines are more or less arbitrary (e.g., why the deadline is
on Friday and not Saturday).
- There can be emergencies and more important priorities in your lives that force to
violate the class requirements. Sometimes following the requirements is not in the best
- Students themselves are the highest authority for their own learning.
- Students' failing class requirements and expectations and experiencing their
consequences can be itself important learning. Having a policy against violations of class
requirements can rob students from experimentation with it and experiencing consequences
of the violations. Finally, it can inhibit students' ownership for their own
- Often when class requirements are violated, the instructor asks the student to do more
learning activity to both compensate some losses in student's learning and to discourage
the student from further violation of the class requirements. Such "punishment
by learning" may send a wrong signal to the student that learning is torture and not
- The policies can promote adversarial relations between the instructor and the student
and diminish students' trust in the instructor.
Philosophy: Exchange of favors
Taking into consideration of all the concerns, I have come to a conclusion that the
class still needs some policy of what I expect you to do when the class requirements are
violated. The policy is based on the following philosophical assumptions:
- It is the student who makes a decision about the appropriateness of violation of the
class requirements. Thus, by making this decision, the student is taking full
responsibility for its consequences for his or her own learning. However, you are welcome
to consult with me your circumstances and decision.
- By violating the class requirements (deliberately or non-deliberately,
"rightly" or "wrongly"), the student is often putting additional
stress on him/herself, the rest classmates, and the instructor.
- Our class and the student violating class requirements can be educationally benefit from
additional work that he or she can provide for the class.
- Student's violation of class requirements should follow exchange of favors
between the instructor and the student: the instructor accepts the violation as legitimate
and the student does not only fulfil the requirement after the violation as much as
possible but also in addition does work beneficial for the entire class.
- The instructor welcomes raising new concerns regarding the policy by students and
further discussion of possible solutions.