A Short Discussion of Academic Policies (adapted from UBC Academic Regulations)

Discussions around active learning in education have had an important influence on my teaching. I organize my courses to encourage student engagement including making observations, problem solving, discussion and writing. This course is organized around discussion of the course readings and learning activities. We will also synthesize our ideas about readings and activities in writing.

The University recommends regular attendance of students in all their classes (including lectures, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, etc.). Research suggests that neglecting class attendance is often directly related to poor performance on exams and assignments. I expect the guided discussions surrounding readings in our class will be important for your understanding of material and performance on assignments. Attendance is not, however, mandatory for the discussions of readings.

You can choose the attendance policy that best suits you. If you miss class it is your responsibility to catch up on missed material. If you decide to attend class please do it respectfully – do not leave unnecessarily, hold unrelated conversations (out loud or online) or otherwise disturb the room. If you choose to attend class give it your full attention for the 50 minutes you are there.

Gadgets like laptops, tablets, and phones are a common part of the University classroom today. The research on multitasking and attention, particularly with information technology gadgets, is conclusive that it is not possible to engage in two cognitive activities at once. In this class I request that you use your gadgets in a way that serves our goals for the class and enhances your focus on our class materials and discussions. Email, chatting, texting, shopping, watching movies, and a number of other activities that are easy to practice during class would not be serving our class.

Late papers can not be excused. Of course there are special circumstances that the University recognizes, and will also be recognized in our class. Students with disabilities can arrange alternative procedures, students with religious obligations that conflict with assignments dates can be accommodated. Some other commitments can also be considered. In every case it is your responsibility to contact a University office such as the Disability Resource Centre or Arts Advising to document your circumstances. Following this, contact me in advance of assignment/quizz dates, preferably in the first week of class.

All grades in our course are final. You can ask to review any assignment with me or a teaching assistant, but this review is for pedagogical purposes only. All faculties and departments at UBC reserve the right to scale grades, but it is not a policy of this course.

Please review the other Academic Regulations here.

At any time during the semester, please do not hesitate to talk with me about any questions or comments you have about topics covered in the course or readings. I look forward to an interesting, informative, and enjoyable course.