Tuesday, August 31, 2010

syllabus template, for the policy police

 My syllabus template, in an ideal world:
Course: (X)
Instructor: Me
Where and When: (some classroom, sometime)
Course Goals: By the end of the course students will know more about (X) than they did when they came in. If you a) show up and b) pay attention. If you don't, I don't see how that's my problem.
Evaluation: (whatever I'm grading them on)
  1. Hand it in on time, or there will be consequences. See flowchart for your chances of talking me round.
  2. Disturb the class and you will be outside the door.
  3. Plagiarize and we will fuck your shit up . I mean it.  Don't even.
About covers it.
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    1. "I worked so hard" is grounds for a regrade request? You're more generous than I. To my thinking, "I worked so hard" is code for: "It takes me much longer to do simple tasks than it does for a normal person."

    2. I specifically have a section in my syllabus that says: excuses like "I tried really hard" or "I'm having a hard semester" hold no weight in this course and will not be considered legitimate reasons for grades to be reconsidered.

    3. You forgot the ADA statement and the Academic Help/Referral/Retention statement. If you omit those two statements, then an assistant dean gets promoted to associate dean. Otherwise, it looks fine.

    4. Usually an "I tried really hard!" doesn't net a new grade. But "I tried really hard!" usually means "I really don't know what I did wrong", and I'm willing to go over the paper with them and help them figure that out; particularly if it was a TA who did the original marking, and didn't have the time to put more than the generic comments on the paper ("needs organization; what is your thesis? more references would be useful ...") - as is usually the case, because the TAs are swamped. So, I'm happy to go over the paper with them during office hours and help them figure out how to do better next time. This process almost never results in a changed grade, but their next papers are better.

      What I will NEVER do is give a paper a second reading if the student is not sitting in the office with me at the time. If it's not worth their time to come and talk to me, it's certainly not worth my time to read it. So, papers shoved in my mailbox get dealt back to the student without comment, and without a second glance.


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