Participation and Attendance
Participation in this course, and therefore attendance,
are important. Let me convince you of this with multiple approaches.
Let me start by appealing to your intelligence. Attendance is more
important in this class than some others because of three facts.
First, material you will need to do the projects and the exams will
not come from the readings. You are responsible for material from
lecture and discussion. Second, both projects and exams require
understanding beyond information, and notes only record information.
Projects and exams go beyond information to require that you are
able to talk intelligently about rhetoric and the internet. Third,
both projects and exams require that you analyze internet sites
and pages. The only way to master the analysis of such material
is to articulate your analysis and the class will provide you that
opportunity. You will need to aggressively take advantage of it.
If you cannot be reached by intelligent reasoning on the need for
attending and participating, let me address you more frankly. There
is a culture at Maryland that values non-attendance based on: "I
paid for it, so I can go or not, as I choose." This is dumb
"consumerism." If you insist on a business metaphor for
your education, the following variation governs: you have not paid
for my performance; you have instead entered into a contract with
me that says I will teach you about interpreting strategic discourse.
Part of your obligation in that contract is to attend. Of course,
you may opt not to enter such a contract. You do so by dropping
this course today.
Of course, I spoke of participation, not just attendance. Being
involved in the class, asking questions, and trying out your ideas
is what participation in the class is about. You will master those
aspects of the course that go beyond the acquisition of information
A final word for students who add this course after the first day.
The university permits you to enroll after the first day of classes,
but you are responsible for material from the first class period
on. You will put yourself at a disadvantage by enrolling late, and
the disadvantage and the responsibility for diminishing it are yours,
not the instructor's. You are excused from no assignments which
occur before your enrollment. Not being enrolled is not one of the
legitimate reasons for absences. This course begins on the first
day of class, not the first day after drop/add closes.
A word on classroom etiquette
I am concerned that everyone assume responsibility for enhancing
the learning in the classroom. I will, therefore, insist on consideration
for the learning of others. 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
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. If
you have to leave class, take your books with you because no one
will be readmitted.
Keep your verbal and nonverbal comments about the ideas of other
students considerate and be prepared to defend judgements that you
The University of Maryland subscribes to policies requiring respect
for other students, including policies pertaining to nondiscrimination,
sexual harassment and disruption of the class. 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 regulations
I am the final judge of what behavior disrupts my classroom.
Obviously, you need to turn any cell phones or aural pagers off
before class and keep them off for the duration.
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 manor of completing assignments.
Electronic Recording of Classroom Sessions
No disruptive 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