The following policies & expectations are authoritatively stated in each course syllabus, but provided here for quick reference.
Student Responsibility. It is the student’s responsibility to know the administrative procedures established by the University that will be observed in this class. This is especially important regarding dropping or withdrawing from courses of instruction. Students must adhere to deadlines for drops and withdrawals in order to avoid academic and financial penalties.
Americans with Disabilities Act. Valdosta State University complies fully with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you believe that you are covered under this act, Students requesting classroom accommodations or modifications due to a documented disability must contact the Access Office for Students with Disabilities located in Farber Hall South. The phone numbers are 245-2498 (V/VP) and 219-1348 (TTY).
Professionalism. Strive to create a respectful, relaxed, and enjoyable environment. Be professional. Use good judgment with regards to food, beverages, gum, phones, sidebar conversations, laptops, etc. Everyone has personal needs and obligations, so just be discreet and considerate. If one must respond to an urgent email or text message, please step into the hallway to minimize distraction. Untenable situations will be addressed individually first and, if unresolvable, referred to Student Affairs. ⇒ The University’s Student Code of Conduct is incorporated herein by reference.
Technology. Laptops and tablets are welcome and encouraged! Smart phone are considered generally impractical but are not prohibited.
University policy 2101.1 §4.1: “Faculty may expect that students will read messages sent to their official email addresses, and faculty should use the official email addresses accordingly. Faculty will determine how email, web, and portal resources will be used in their classes and should specify requirements and expectations of the use of these resources.”
Electronic Communications. The official calendar for this course is established on, by, and through the University’s Live@EDU service (a cloud-based Exchange Server). Calendared items and emailed assignments shall have the same force as if announced in class regardless of one’s presence or absence on a given day. In the event of a discrepancy or dispute, email shall be the most authoritative, with the outlook calendar and class announcement following, respectively. Individuals with Blackberry, iPhone, or Android devices should earnestly consider configuring their devices for the exchange server in order to access both email and calendar. In the alternative, one should access his or her email and calendar daily through the www interface. It is highly recommended that students avail themselves of the Exchange resources for maintaining a healthy school-work-life balance.
Attendance. “The University expects that all students shall attend all regularly scheduled class meetings held for instruction or examination. […] When students are compelled for any reason to be absent from class, they should immediately contact the instructor. A student who misses more than 20% of the scheduled classes of a course will be subject to receiving a failing grade in the course. Make up work or alternative assignments will be determined by the professor and at the sole discretion of the professor. These assignments may or may not exactly duplicate the original and will not entitle other students to the same alternatives since they may not have experienced the same situations.” (Undergraduate Catalog 2012-2013, pg.86-87). Any extraordinary or catastrophic will be handled appropriately and fairly provided timely and adequate advisement is made. With respect to late arrivals, it is more advantageous to come to class late than not at all, but unreasonable or wanton tardiness may be recorded as a partial absence and partial participation (i.e. 25% late = 75% present, 75% participating).
Participation. Participation is a critical factor of learning a language and participation depends in part on being in class (not present = not participating). As with any course, some days are better days than others so there is some presumption of full participation each day unless there is evidence to the contrary (sleeping, studying for other classes, etc. Also, dominating activities or discussions to a degree that hinders other students’ full participation will have negative impact on one’s own participation. Since participation is so highly correlated to attendance, in addition to the University’s 80% attendance requirement, students with a participation quotient of less than 80% may also be subject to summary failure.
Academic Integrity. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Academic Integrity Policy as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and the faculty members’ syllabi. Specifically, University policy states: “No student shall receive or give or attempt to receive or give assistance not authorized by the instructor in the preparation of an essay, laboratory report, examination or other assignment included in any academic course. No student shall sell, give, lend, or otherwise furnish to any unauthorized person material which can be shown to contain the questions or answers to any examinations scheduled to be given at any subsequent date in any course of study offered by the University. No student shall engage in plagiarism. Essays, term papers, laboratory reports, tests, online writing assignments, and other similar requirements must be the work of the student submitting them.”
Display of weapons. No actual or simulated weapon may be visible or discernible. This applies equally to any public servant, uniformed or otherwise. No opinion is expressed concerning the Second Amendment, open carry laws, or concealed carry laws. Neither is this a prohibition of the possessing of weapons by anyone authorized by law and university policy, but such weapon may not be actually or discernibly visible at any time. Anyone who allows her or his lawful (or unlawful) weapon to become visible in the classroom will be failed or administratively disenrolled. Anyone who objects to this policy should enroll in a different section. Equipment which by design can only and exclusively be used for sport, hobby, or recreation and which cannot reasonably be mistaken for an offensive weapon shall not be considered a weapon. (Example: fencing foils and archery bows would not be reasonably construed as weapons; BB guns are simulated weapons; hunting bows are weapons; pepper sprays are not designed for offense; belt-holstered multi-tools are tools, not weapons.) This policy is intended to prevent distraction and alleviate anxiety in the classroom. Even when an item is not prohibited, an expectation of professionalism and maturity still applies.
Instructional philosophy. Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard lecturer and author of several books on positive psychology, argues that being happier lies partly in continually engaging oneself in self-actualizing challenges. Goals must be relevant, incremental, and beyond current ability, but not so great as to become daunting and discouraging. One way to facilitate the challenge is allowing students to demonstrate the skills they acquire individually. This is to say, a variety of composition topics allows students to select their most comfortable balance of structure and creativity. While one student might choose to write a detailed narrative about his Thanksgiving break, another might prefer to write a sonnet about her wrecked car. Both examples challenge a student’s expressive competence, but the two students remain free to capitalize on their own talents and intentions for using Spanish in the future. Self-actualization is demonstrated when the student calls upon her or his talents, capacities, and potentialities in order to meet an objective. Although certain assessment standards within the discipline cannot be altered, students should feel free to propose alternatives or variations of assignments that will enable them to demonstrate their abilities.