COMM 460
Fall 2014

Course Policies and Standards
Student Responsibilities

Requesting an Excused Absence

Late Papers and Incompletes

Academic Integrity

Disabilities and Religious Observances

Classroom Conduct

Electronic Devices in the Classroom

Course Copyright Restrictions

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Requesting an Excused Absence for a "Major Scheduled Grading Event"

The university has a set of defined procedures designed to ensure fairness to all students in obtaining an "excused absence." I abide by these procedures as adapted for the special circumstances of this course.

On normal class days no excused absences will be authorized. Note no documentation or self-declarations of illness are required on these days.

For "Major Scheduled Grading Events" (exam days, or days when papers or undergraduate unit assignments are due), 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.

  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 time-stamped 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 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 an 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.

Since the abstracts are primarily designed to assist in your preparation for discussion and discussion cannot be made up after an absence, and since documenting absences as the University requires for make-up is too complicated for the value of the assignment, I will use an alternative: I will collect abstracts seven times during the semester (grading your best five). Abstracts not handed in when I collect them cannot be made up. If you prefer the documentation requirement to this method of make-up, please notify me within the first week of class.

The "Beyond the Classroom"assignment carries no specific due date, just some time in the month. Of course, if you put it off until the last minute you will create a due date. In such case, you have made the assignment a "major scheduled grading event." Thus, the documentation requirements above apply. These assignments turned in after the end of the month will apply toward the next month but not the month that you missed.

Late Papers and Incompletes

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on due dates. Those handed in after the beginning of the class are considered late assignments subject to the following.

On specific assignments:

  • Abstracts. No abstracts will be graded after they are collected at the beginning of class. Remember, however, that only five of the seven collected abstracts are included in the final grade so a late abstract does not influence the final grade. At your request, late abstacts will be commented upon, but not graded.
  • Beyond the Classroom assignment. These have no specific due date, just one each sometime during the months of September, October, and November. Any assignment handed in during the month of October (even if you intended it as the September assignment) becomes the October assignment.
  • Undergraduate Unit Discussion. Because this involves your contributing to the discussion during class time, by definition it cannot be completed late. These are thus defined as a "Major Scheduled Grading Event." You will be required to request an excused absence and to document the legitimacy of your absence within the university guidelines. If your request is granted, and if the opportunity is still possible within the daily schedule, you may arrange to research and present in conjunction with a later group in the semester.
  • Undergraduate Unit Bibliography. A "Major Scheduled Grading Event." If you participate in the class discussion on the subject of the bibliography, you may request an incomplete on the assignment using the incomplete agreement. This form must be handed in the by the beginning of class the day the bibliography is due, and to use this option you must participate in the discussion. If both of these conditions are not met, you will be required to request an excused absence and document the legitimacy of your absence within the university guidelines. If your absence is approved as excused, and if the opportunity is still possible within the daily schedule, you may arrange to research in conjunction with the discussion in which you participate with a later group.
  • Graduate Paper assignment. An "incomplete agreement" should be handed in by the time the paper is due, negotiated with the instructor. The late paper will be handled within the rules specified on that document.
  • Exams. These are "Major Scheduled Grading Events." You must request and excused absence and a make-up providing documentation of the legitimacy of your absence as required by university policy. If your request is approved as an "excused absence" a time to take a make-up exam must be arranged among all students awarded an excused absence. Only one make-up time is available to take the exam.
  • If you have not handed in a due assignment by the last day of class, or if you miss the final exam for any reason, you must contact Klumpp within 48 hours and sign a university "Incomplete Contract." Without it, your grade will be calculated on the basis of an "F" on the missing material.

Academic Integrity

You are responsible for knowing the university's Code of Academic Integrity. The principles governing that policy are two-fold:

  • the work that I should mark as yours is material that you have authored, and
  • you have the responsibility to give recognition to others whose work you incorporate in your projects.

You should review the university's policy and make certain that you implement these two principles, especially on your web page work.

Obviously things like handing in papers you have purchased from internet sources or "paper mills" violates principles of academic integrity. So does bringing information into exams in forms other than memories and judgments in your head. But there are other important things you need to know and develop a feel for such as when to cite the work of others in papers and when infonnation can be used without being attributed. The guidelines of the university policy will assist with your mastering that. I will be more than happy to assist at any time during the semester. If any of these suggestions or the University's material is unclear, I urge you to ask me. The responsibility for understanding academic integrity is yours.

Another wrinkle in the principle of individual work in this class are group projects. Although you are not required to do a group project, it is an option for you on the bibliography portion of the undergraduate unit discussion assignment. You are authorized to work with others in your group on this assignment. In this case the grade assigned to the group’s work is assigned to each student who has participated in the group. By signing the honors pledge on the bibliography you hand-in, you are accepting this sharing of the grading. The discussion portion of the assignment will be graded individually.

Please, please do not take this issue lightly. It is my obligation as a professor and my ethical obligation as an academic to report any cases directly to the Student Honor Council and I will not hesitate to do so.

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.

Classroom Conduct

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. Courtesy also suggests that you let me know before class of your need to leave to early.  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 judgements 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 class in any way will be asked to leave the class 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.

Electronic Devices in the Classroom

Please observe the following with regard to electronic devices:

  • 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 of the class.

  • No laptops or other computers will be permitted in class. The most successful students in this course have reproduced the notes available on the website and modified them to reflect the material of class. Those who find this too restrictive typically reserve time after class to compose notes on class. I do not mind students taking notes on things we discuss 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 communities and speeches we study. 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).