Course Policies

My course policies can be reduced to one simple rule:

Be a good citizen.

Good citizenship in the academic classroom entails the following:

  • Being a good citizen means coming to class regularly, well-prepared having read the assigned materials and being ready to discuss the assigned materials AND participating in activities, discussions, and listening actively and attentively in turn.
  • Being a good citizen means NOT “multitasking” with other online work when using the computer, working on anything unrelated to this course and its work.
  • Being a good citizen means keeping up with work if and when you must be absent by contacting a classmate (in advance whenever possible) to take notes.
  • Being a good citizen means turning in your work on time OR requesting extensions in advance when necessary.
  • Being a good citizen means being kind and courteous to your instructor and classmates by giving everyone your full attention fully.
  • Being a good citizen means NOT chatting with your classmates, texting with your friends, or being a source of distraction.
  • Being a good citizen means bringing appropriate materials to class (computer, books, notebooks, pen, paper) and using them appropriately.
  • Being a good citizen means upholding the University Honor Code, NEVER CHEATING and ALWAYS DOING YOUR OWN WORK.
  • Being a good citizen means meticulously citing all your sources, both primary and secondary. In other words, being a good citizen means not plagiarizingThe Instrument of Student Judicial Governance defines plagiarism as “the intentional representation of another’s words, thoughts, or ideas as one’s own” (4) but it also means doing everything in your power to avoid unintentionally representing another’s words, thoughts, or ideas as one’s own: the onus is on you to ensure that you are not plagiarizing yourself or others.
  • Being a good citizen means not recycling one of your own projects from another class: such an act is also plagiarism (see above).
  • Being a good citizen, in short, means becoming as you are: a responsible, hard-working adult.

Failing to be a good citizen has consequences: 

  • Coming to class late may count as an absence.
  • Coming to class unprepared will count as an absence and will impact your participation grade.
  • Failing to participate may count as an absence.
  • Failing to submit work on time is grounds for failing the assignment but if accepted, late work will never receive full credit.
  • Failing to remain on task, being distracting, texting, chatting, doing other homework or generally not paying attention will impact your participation grade. 
  • Missing more than 75% of the course is grounds for failing the course.


Grades are determined by what you EARN based on the work you put into this course and its merit as determined by the rubric below. Accordingly, no one begins this course with the assumption of an A; instead, everyone begins with a blank slate and the work they submit throughout this course will earn them an B, C, A, D, or F according to how well the work answers the assignment and its quality according to the following rubric:

Rubric for Course Assignments:

  • compositions – whether written, aural, or visual – represent exceptional work that more than fulfills the requirements of the assignment. A compositions tackle the topic in an innovative way, with a clear sense of the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, etc.), with an insightful or novel ideas conveyed in a compelling manner, with appropriate and effective, and carefully planned organizational logic and “flow.” A compositions excel at not just summary but analysis, synthesis, and argument. The style is energetic and precise: when written, A compositions maintain varied sentence structure and thoughtful diction. How the writer or speaker or designer says/shows things is as excellent as what the writer says/shows. There is evidence of careful editing since the essay contains few (if any) grammatical and/or mechanical errors and, if necessary. A compositions have careful use and documentation of research in an appropriate format.
  • compositions are clearly above-average and more than meets the requirements of the assignment. Like the “A” composition, it demonstrates clear thinking and organizational strategies, providing a unified, coherent, and developed support for its argument and assertions. While B compositions takes some “risks,” attempts complex strategies of development, and pays attention to audience, it falls short of the “A” composition in one or more of the following ways: the argument may not be as interesting or insightful; there may be weaknesses in organizational strategy or its execution (flow); the support may not be uniformly conclusive and convincing; and the style may not be as energetic or the diction as thoughtful. B compositions show strong evidence of editing since there are relatively few grammatical and/or mechanical errors and B compositions have clear use and documentation of research in an appropriate format (with only few errors).
  • compositions are average, solidly meeting the requirements of the assignment but not exceeding them. C compositions have an argument and organizational plan, which demonstrate thought on the composer’s part, a generally clear style, an awareness of audience, and adequate documentation (though possibly flawed). C compositions have unified and coherent support, but may have difficulty with any of the following: the argument may be too general or vague; the evidence may be predictable (more summary than analysis or synthesis), may not be thoroughly interpreted, or may not be clearly related to the writer’s point; with written compositions, paragraphs may be uneven in development and lack effective transitions. Even with “C” compositions, there should be relatively few grammatical or mechanical errors–not enough to interfere with readability—but these errors may cause distractions; the student has done some editing, even though it may be superficial and/or incomplete.  C compositions, finally, have clear use and documentation of research in an appropriate format (with only few errors).
  • compositions are below average work that demonstrates a serious attempt to fulfill the assignment and shows some promise but does not fully meet the requirements of the assignment. D compositions may have one or several of the following weaknesses: it may have a general or implied argument, but the idea may be too broad, vague, or obvious; it may have some awareness of audience, but may not be evident in use of inappropriate tone or diction for the genre; the organizational plan may be inappropriate or inconsistently carried out; evidence may be too general, missing, not interpreted, irrelevant to the argument, or too repetitive; documentation may be incomplete or inaccurate; the style may be compromised by repetitive or flawed sentence patterns and confusing syntax. Grammatical and mechanical errors may interfere with readability and indicate a less-than-adequate attempt at editing or unfamiliarity with some aspects of Standard Written English. D compositions, finally, may have research but it is not used or cited effectively or in appropriate format.
  • compositions are substantially below average for the assignment. F compositions exhibit one or several of the following: they may be an attempt to meet the requirements of the assignment, but it may have no apparent thesis or a contradictory one, or the composition is so general or obvious as to suggest little thinking-through of the topic. They may display little or no apparent sense of organization; they may lack development; evidence may be inappropriate and/or off-topic or may consist of generalizations, faulty assumptions, or errors of fact; it may display little or no awareness of audience. They may fail to handle borrowed material responsibly and/or to document appropriately. They may be plagiarized or simply off-topic. The style suggests serious difficulties with written, oral, or visual fluency, which may be revealed in short, simple sentences and ineffective diction. Grammatical/mechanical errors may interfere with comprehension or indicate problems with basic literacy or a lack of understanding of Standard English usage. F compositions, finally, do not have research or the research is not cited correctly.

Your final grade will be based on the following three categories of work:

EXAM (25%)

  • Final: 25%

Paper Sequence: (55%)

  • Keyword: 5%
  • Sentence: 10%
  • Prospectus: 15%
  • Final Paper: 25%

Participation (20%):

  • Class Participation: 10% (based on contribution to class discussions, activities, and active listening)
  • Attendance: 3%
  • Quizzes, etc.: 7%

I will calculate your final grade according to the following scale:

94.0-100% = A
90.0-93.9% = A-
88.0-89.9% = B+
84.0-87.9% = B
80.0-83.9% = B-
78.0-79.9% = C+
74.0-77.9% = C
70.0-73.9% = C-
60.0-69.9% = D
0.00-59.9% = F

I’ll use sakai to post your grades so that you know your standing in the class grade-wise. You can access sakai using your university ONYEN and password.

Access, Accommodations, Identity:

Any student in this course who has concerns that may prevent the fullest expression of his or her abilities should contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss accommodations and recommendations necessary to ensure full participation. Please see UNC’s Accessibility Resources & Services for more information on accessibility services. 

Additionally, The UNC Writing Center offers free tutoring services for students. You may visit the writing center to ask for help with a specific paper, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues.

A note on pronouns: I use she/her to identify myself. If you have a specific pronoun you wish to be identified by, please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Most importantly…

Always bring a towel and if anything ever seems amiss, never hesitate to contact me in person, during office hours, or via email and in that order: in person is best in office hours or before or after class, email only if and when the question is urgent and you are unable to meet in person in time and you cannot find the answer to your question on the syllabus or from a classmate. I have instituted this rule because email is the easiest, but often not the best mode of contact for most questions and my email often gets clogged with dozens of questions that take more time and energy to answer over email than in person.

All requests to review papers via email will be ignored.