WE Need a Reliable Way of Contacting YOU
*Students sometimes do not activate their Utah State University e-mail accounts. Please activate the USU e-mail account now. Each student should activate this, since your tests are scored by the Network and Computer Services division of the university, and the results are e-mailed to you at that address only. They do not contact you with this information at any different e-mail account (e.g., your e-mail address "email@example.com"), nor are test results made available to you (by me or anyone) in any other electronic form. Obviously, too, you won't receive the results that USU is trying to send you, unless you actually check the messages awaiting you at the USU e-mail address or set that address to forward to the e-mail address you typically do check (such as, "firstname.lastname@example.org").
*Those of you unfamiliar with the considerable support and services that USU's Network & Computing Services provides to students should additionally consult their Student Support section.
*On the first day of class, I will ask you to give to me the e-mail address that you frequently check and that you prefer me to use to contact you. You do not need to give me your USU e-mail address -- just the one your regularly check. I frequently e-mail students, regarding many matters (but not concerning test results), and these e-mails are extremely important for you to know about and read. Failure to read or receive any message is equivalent to failure to have important course information. If this e-mail address changes, be sure to let me know.
Contacting Tamara Outside of Class Time
*I, and other faculty, have noted that students assume that the faculty to be in their offices all the time. We suspect that students assume this, because the students have an incomplete view of all of the tasks that faculty are scurrying around trying to get done during the week. We simply have a lot of responsibilities, and tasks to complete either on and off campus, that are part of our jobs. These do frequently take us out of the office.
The above statement probably leads you to ask how to best be in touch with me. There are many alternatives, outlined next.
*We can always discuss matters (besides your grade or points) on the phone or via e-mail. If you do call me at 797-3272, and you get my voice mail, be sure to leave me your name, complete phone number (enunciated clearly and slowly), and why you are calling, as well as the best time to call you back (we'll avoid phone tag that way).
*E-mail to me at email@example.com is a great way to contact me outside of office hours, but be sure to be clear in your e-mail about what you're wanting me to address. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Please use our subject header for this class when you e-mail me (otherwise, your email might be accidentally junked as SPAM (this does happen), and I won't even know that you tried to contact me via e-mail. I can't get back with you if I didn't even know you were trying to e-mail me. Moreover, students from different courses send me tons of e-mails, and it's important for you to have your e-mail filtered into the correct course folder, so that your issues are handled promptly. THUS: When you send me an e-mail, you always should use the subject header:
3510 F05, your last name, your first name
*Our busy schedules are also why faculty set office hours, so they can do their best to be in their office to meet with you in person you during those times. Please feel free to visit me during those hours -- that's the entire purpose of office hours. I always appreciate students letting me know (when they themselves know) that they will be visiting me during office hours (this helps me anticipate whether we're going to be facing a long wait time for students during office hours; it allows me to try to make alternate arrangements with the students or forewarn them of the wait). If the scheduled office hours do not fit with your availability, then please feel free to e-mail me in a timely fashion asking to make an appt., and we will set up a special appt. for you.
*Moreover, it is important to understand that even the scheduled office hours will sometimes suddenly need to be changed or will suddenly be cancelled, since the university will have suddenly scheduled a meeting that the faculty member is required to attend. We try to anticipate these meetings, and we try to schedule them outside of our office hours, but we simply can't anticipate fully when the schedules of a larger group basically don't accommodate our office hours. In these cases, I always put a note on my office door, letting you know that a meeting has called me away from the office. I hope you will understand and e-mail me so we can arrange a meeting at another time.Adhering to University Rules and Regulations
Buried in the universities' Schedule of Classes are definitions of academic honesty and specific rules of conduct expected of all students. Read them carefully, since we adhere to them!
Cheating. USU defines cheating as..."...using or attempting to use or providing others with any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, examinations, or in any other academic exercise activity...." (to be clear: this applies to all of your work in the class) )
There are different versions of each test. This means that it is not wise to peek at your classmates' answers, since they may be taking a different version than you are. If anyone is caught cheating, you'll receive an "F" in the class and be remanded to the Vice-President for Student Services for discipline (which could mean suspension from school).
Plagiarism. USU defines plagiarism as..."...representing by paraphrase or direct quotation, the published or unpublished work of another person as one's own in any academic exercise or activity without... full and clear acknowledgement." (to be clear: this applies to all of your work in the class and the word "person" obviously includes any animate source, living or now dead, or sources off the Internet)
Anyone plagiarizing or copying someone else's work will be dismissed from the class and receive a failing grade for the course. Ditto the VP deal (discipline, possible suspension).
Student Civility. USU has published standards regarding civility...
but do I really need to post these for people who are at this stage of life or their school careers? It should go without saying that we all are expected to be polite and considerate toward each other in class and in all exchanges. Polite behavior includes, but is not limited to: arriving to class on time, not leaving class early, not interrupting the class (e.g., turn off all electronic devices such as cell phones, do not constantly talk with neighbors in class), not asking for special favors or exceptions that would create an unfair atmosphere (e.g., don't ask to take exams early or late; don't ask for extra time to prepare an assignment), not expressing discriminatory or downright insulting remarks or behaviors, and paying attention (e.g., don't sit there reading a newspaper or material that is irrelevant to class; don't sit there playing electronic games, etc.).
If we all adhere to the message being conveyed in the Golden Rule, or remember the Buddhist equivalent (to the effect that "I am the other, and the other is me"), all should be well! These rules obviously assume that you prefer to be treated politely and with respect, which I hope is a valid assumption.
Just in case you are a masochist, simply remember: It is each student's and instructor's right to be in a course (whether inside or outside the classroom) with people who respect these norms of politeness and consideration for others. If a person violates these norms, it is perfectly appropriate for others to "call" them on this. I've unfortunately heard of students (in others' courses) who were remanded to the higher administration to remediate their impolite or inconsiderate behaviors. I reserve the right to do the same, even though I hope we never "go there."
Finally, if you do need to arrive late or leave early, it would be nice to let me know this in advance.
Make-Up, Incomplete, & FERPA Policies
*There are some important contingencies for you to understand regarding the make-up policy, so please read carefully.
The essay is not required. It does, however, count for 20% of your grade. Thus, if you wish to be eligible for more than the 80% your earn via exams, then you do need to submit a high quality essay. You need to submit the rough draft and the final version of the essay on time, and follow all guidelines, for the essay points to count toward your grade. There is no option to submit either of these late. The rough draft is due Oct. 11 and the final version Oct. 27th. This gives you plenty of time to get these done. Similarly, any of the extra credit assignments that you want credit for simply need to be turned in on time, since you've been given plenty of time to prepare those. I would simply get my work done and turned in early, if I thought I was going out of town, or whatever, on the day that these assignments are due.
You are allowed to miss only ONE of Tests 1 through 4. That test can be missed and "made up" only when you adhere to all of the following: Immediate and prior notification to me of your or an immediate family member's sudden incapacitating illness or accident, a sudden death in your immediate family, a sudden and unavoidable change in work schedule required by your employer, or an unavoidable absence due to you being out of town for an officially sponsored USU event that involves you as a team member. Vacations, weddings, family reunions, etc. do not count as reasons for missing a test.
In any of these unavoidable cases, you (if you are not desperately ill or hurt), an immediate family member (if you are desperately ill or hurt), or the employer (and only the employer), or the "coach" need to fax to Tamara Ferguson at (435) 797-1448 a letter, a death certificate, or funeral announcement. Any letter has to be formatted using the responsible person's letterhead and including the responsible person's signature (e.g., from a doctor's office, a hospital, an employer, a coach). Each letter needs to address the nature of the problem, on which date it arose, and which test you will miss as a result. For example, the letter from the employer would need to state that the employer had to decide to change your work schedule, with no invitation from you to change it, such that it now causes you to miss a test on such-and-such a date. Remember, you need to let me know that you will not be at the testing session prior to the test. Failure to put someone in touch with me before the test, unless you can demonstrate that this was absolutely impossible, means that you cannot make-up the missed test. Thus, it is probably wise for you to let your family know in advance how to be in touch with me regarding any emergency.
If you miss one of the four unit tests for these reasons, and showed due attention to providing the documentation and prior notification, we simply prorate the score you receive on Test 5 (the final exam) to also count those points toward the approved missed unit test. For example, if you earn 90% on the final exam, this would be .90 x 45 points = 40.5 points for the missed unit test.
The final exam is required and must be taken on the day the university has scheduled it. I am sorry about this, since I know many of you would like to finish the exam on a different day. However, our college simply enforces this rule in the interests of fairness to the class as a whole.
Sometimes people will advise students to ask for incompletes when they are not doing as well as they would like in a course. Unfortunately, this advice actually violates the policy of the university. "Incomplete" grades are not given to avoid a less than desired grade in the course, or to avoid affecting your GPA negatively, or to avoid any other consequences of the undesired grade. The university has strict policies regarding approving "incompletes" for students. The grade of "incomplete" is given only when dire circumstances prevent you from completing the bulk of the coursework over an extended period of time. It is, moreover, not only the instructor's discretion that is used in deciding whether to approve an "incomplete." You essentially would need to prove to your dire circumstances to your instructor and await his/her decision; if the instructor decides you have met the criteria to the letter of the regulations, we then need to approach the higher administration to demonstrate that the situation was unavoidable and dire. Refer to your USU Class Schedule. Complete documentation is needed of your dire situation.
The message is thus: If you think you are going to get a grade lower than you'd hoped for, or know in advance that you will miss important deadlines, it is best for you to drop the course or, if it's too late to drop, then to withdraw from the class. You need to be aware that the university has set policies and non-negotiable deadlines regarding "course drops or withdrawal," including their financial and academic consequences. Again, refer to your USU Class Schedule, since it addresses all of these issues. My best words of advice: Be honest with yourself about your performance from the start of the course, or your availability to meet the deadlines. You wouldn't be fair to yourself to live in denial that a miracle will happen toward the end of the semester that suddenly will earn you the grade you want or need. If you are dissatisfied with your performance, please come see me at the first signs of this. We'll work on study habits and the like. If you are still struggling after consulting me or using the study habits resources, or after you've made contact with USU's Academic Resource Center, it might be best to submit your "course withdrawal" to the university as soon as your "gut feelings" tell you: "As much as I hate to admit this, I'm not going to get the grade I want."
Finally, FERPA prohibits release of grade information to any one besides yourself, unless that person is officially affiliated with the university (e.g., an academic advisor, a coach, one of the student services' offices, the financial aid office, etc.). USU has this policy out of respect for your legal privacy rights. Moreover, do not ask me to release your grade information or points earned via e-mail or over the telephone. I have no guarantee that you truly are the person requesting this information and I have learned to simply not do this, again out of a desire to protect your legal privacy rights.
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© Copyright 2005 Tamara J Ferguson (with thanks & kudos to Heidi Eyre)
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