COMM 453

Course Policies


Course Information

Course Policies

  • Missed Exams
  • Academic Integrity
  • Disabilities and Religious Holidays
  • Classroom Etiquette
  • Electronics
  • Copyright
  • Assignments

    Study Aids

    Class Notes

    Procedures for Missed Exams

    Consistent with university policy, make-up exams will only be available for those granted an excused absence. They will be a different exam and may have a different format than that described above. You will need to request an excused absence. University policy requires that you do so in writing and "provide documentary support for [your] assertion that absence resulted from one of the [approved] causes" (emphasis added). There are thus several obligations if you are going to be absent for the midterm or the final. (1) Notify me as soon as feasible of your upcoming or recent absence and provide documentation for the reason. I am serious about prompt notification. In general you should notify me before your absence. When that is not possible, you need to notify me as soon as you are near a telephone or email. I have voice mail and email that provides a timestamped documentation of your notification. (2) You need to request the make-up (an excused absence) in writing specifying the reason for your absence. The university has a limited number of legitimate reasons for absence (see University of Maryland Undergraduate Catalog ) and these are the ones I accept. (3) You must document the validity of the reason you have provided for the absence. Such documentation must be signed by a person who testifies to the reason, and should contain information on contacting (phone or email) someone who can verify the reason. Medical excuses must be from licensed medical personnel, must contain contact information for that personnel, and must indicate a condition requiring absence not simply that you were seen by medical personnel. Please note that it is now the policy of the University Health Center to no longer provide documentation of illness. Thus, if you are ill enough that you need to miss an exam or assignment you will need to find medical personnel that will provide such documentation.

    Academic Integrity

    all rules of the Code of Academic Integrity apply (see University of Maryland Undergraduate Catalog), including the use of the University Honor Pledge on each exam.

    Journals should be your own work. Material borrowed from elsewhere and commented upon should be properly indicated as quotation and should provide link or full citation.

    All examinations are "closed book."You may study as a group to enhance your knowledge, but when you enter the examination room, you should be able to provide answers to the question from your own knowledge.

    Disabilities and Religious Observances

    The University of Maryland accommodates students with disabilities and recognizes the rights of students to exercise their religious rites. I ask only that you notify me during the first week of classes if you have concerns in either of these areas and require that I accommodate your needs in any way including alteration in the due date or manner of completing assignments.

    A Word on Classroom Etiquette

    Since the opportunity to work in the classroom is so central to this course, I am concerned that everyone assume responsibility for enhancing the learning in the classroom. I prefer that you think of the necessary behavior as common courtesy -- behaving so that if others do the same, the classroom will be an environment for learning. Just in case, let me be more stern, however. Following are some basic rules:

    • No talking or whispering to other students. If you have something to say, say it aloud and we will talk about it.
    • Be on time for class. If you are late, sit in a chair as close to the door as possible and avoid disruptive behavior.
    • Do not plan to leave class early. If you must, sit close to the door and leave with minimum disruption. If you have problems with physiological needs, relieve them before class or hold them.
    • Keep your verbal and nonverbal comments about the ideas of other students considerate and be prepared to defend judgments that you make.

    The University of Maryland subscribes to policies requiring respect for other students, including policies pertaining to nondiscrimination, sexual harassment and Code of Student Conduct. Those disrupting the classroom in any way will be asked to leave the classroom after a first offense and to drop the course after subsequent problems. Disruptive behavior is defined as any behavior that distracts students concentrating on the normal operation of the class.  According to university rules, I am the final judge of disruptive behavior in my classroom.

    Electronics in the Classroom

    Please observe the following with regard to electronics:

    • Audial electronics (watches, cell phones, computers, etc.) should be turned off or silenced before all classes.
    • Cell phones and text messaging devices are potentially disruptive and certainly inappropriate in the classroom. Those engaging them during class time may be asked to leave the classroom. Similarly, no ear phones may be worn during class. Your attention is important to mastery of the subject matter.
    • No laptops or other computers will be permitted in class. The most successful students in this course are not the ones with the most complete notes, but students who feel they need notes and find this too restrictive typically reserve time after class to sit down at their computer and compose notes on class. I do not mind students taking longhand notes in class, but mastering facts and information is only the first dimension of the material you need to get from the class. So, do NOT let the taking of notes distract from a more basic understanding of the perspective of the course. It is for this reason that I prohibit computers in class: I do not wish for the things said in class to pass from your ear to your fingertips without your brain engaged.
    • No disruptive audio or video recording will be allowed, and any recording at all can occur only with my permission. That permission will be granted only for extraordinary circumstances. Recording is no substitute for attendance.
    • No electronic devices of any kind will be permitted on test days.

    Course Copyright Restrictions

    The lectures that I deliver in this class and course materials I create and distribute for your learning, including power point presentations, tests, outlines, content of this website, and similar materials, are protected by federal copyright law as my original works.  You are permitted to take notes of lectures and to use course materials for your use in this course.  You are not authorized to reproduce or distribute notes of lectures or my course materials or make any commercial use of them without my express written consent. persons who sell or distribute copies or modified copies of instructors' course materials or assist another person or entity in selling or distributing those materials may be considered in violation of the University Code of Student Conduct, Part 9(k).