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ComS 5 The Communication Experience




How should I behave in class?

For this course to be useful to all, it is important to keep in mind the necessity to protect the self image of all members of our class/community.  Communication competence, I define, in part, as sensitivity to the personhood of every individual.  I intend to treat each student with respect, dignity, and civility, and I assume I and your classmates will receive the same treatment from you. 


Can I use my laptop in class?

If you wish to bring a laptop, please keep it closed until there is “tops up” time for writing a few notes to yourself or there is a need to do some research online. I find it hard to connect with students who are focused on a laptop display; some students find the key clicks and monitor images distracting as well.  New research indicates that "mulitasking" results in lower grade performance. You don't want that!


If you have a disability verified by the Services to Students With Disabilities (SSWD) office and you wish to discuss academic accommodations relative to laptop use in class, please talk with me immediately.


 If I see you gaming, emailing, IMing, surfing the web or otherwise playing with your laptop during "tops up" time, I will dismiss you from the class.  The reason is that you cannot actually multi-task when it involves control of attention--you can't be involved in processing significant, complex ideas in class while texting.  Take a look at this video.


What about cell phones?

Using cell phones is not permitted during class; these devices must be off for the duration of class sessions. Texting or websurfing indicate users devalue what is happening in the classroom. This is a first and last warning. If I see you texting, tweeting, gaming, surfing the web or otherwise playing with your phone, I will dismiss you from the class. Why?


Can I record the class?

No.  No recording of the class is permitted apart from a request from Services to Students with Disabilitites (SSWD).


How often do I have to come to class? 

Plan to attend every class session for the duration of each session. Prompt and regular attendance is essential for you and your colleagues to learn as much a possible here and enjoy the task; it also will earn you 50 points. We develop significant knowledge and skills objectives for each class period and I expect you will take advantage of the opportunity for learning provided by each class session. Here's the breakdown: 0-1 absence = 50 points; 2 absences = 40 points; 3 absences = 25 points; > 4 absences = 0 points

If you miss a class period in which I choose to collect an assignment and you are not there, you will assume responsibility for a zero recorded for that day's assignment if I collect one.


You will also take responsibility to work out something with your study group members for a tutorial regarding the class content, and notes. 


Can I make up tests if I miss one? 



Can I turn in assignments late?

No. All assignments are due at class time on the date announced or assigned.  Plan ahead—printer glitches, long lines in labs, etc. won't persuade me to change the policy for you. NOTE: Once you commit to your contract, it will be up to you to remember to turn in assignments on the due dates you set.  I will not remind you individually, nor will I accept your assignments on dates other than those you set.


What if I think I was not fairly graded on an assignment? 

I will not discuss any grades for any assignment on the day I hand it back to you, nor will I discuss individual grades in the classroom.  All such discussions will take place in my office at least one day after the grade has been received. If you wish to contest a grade, write out your argument clearly, concisely and completely and bring it with you to the meeting.


Do I have to type assignments? 

Every assignment listed in the course syllabus must be typed or I will not accept it. The only assignments that may be handwritten are: homework assignments I pass out in class (data collections, activities to be completed between class sessions, etc).


What happens if I cheat on an assignment?

I follow the departmental policy on plagiarism.  Cheating on any assignment will result in an "F" on the assignment and I will report the incident to the Dean of Students for further possible action. If you not know what plagiarism is, go to <> for an explanation. In short, plagiarism is acting as if someone else's words or ideas are yours.  To avoid a charge of plagiarism, simple give credit for words or ideas to the authors.


What if I want to drop the course?

 I follow the departmental policy on dropping.  Be sure you drop by the end of the second week if you are at all inclined to do so because I will NOT let you drop after that unless you can provide a substantial argument that I find compelling.  I will require documentation of extenuating circumstances to drop after week two.  Make your decision early if you are shopping.


What if I want to take an incomplete (I) for the course?

I will not assign an “incomplete” unless the requirements and conditions stipulated by the university are met.  “Incomplete” is not routinely assigned if you are slow in getting your work done; if you have not been responsible in managing your time, or if you are achieving a low grade.  As is the case with dropping the course, you must present me with substantial and compelling documentation that persuades me that your case meets the requirements for assignment of incomplete.  You must also present to me, at the same time, a clear and coherent plan and time line for completion of the course, then we’ll negotiate the final version of the plan.