Course Policies

Course Policies

On-Time Attendance and Participation

Since discussion will be an integral part of the course, you must be prepared for class, on time, and offer productive comments based on the assigned readings.  Preparation involves not only reading but also making notes about the reading so that you are prepared to discuss issues in depth.  I reserve the right to add quizzes to the class agenda if too many class members appear to be unprepared.

You can accrue THREE unexcused absences on a MWF schedule, but your final course grade will be reduced by a half letter grade for each unexcused absence thereafter.  To receive an excused absence, you must provide official documentation; if for a sponsored University activity (such as intercollegiate athletics), documentation must be provided in advance. The University Senate and the Division of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Media set a limit on total absences—both excused and unexcused—at 1/5th of the total class meetings.  This means that you will receive an E for the course on your 9th absence.

Students who are 10 minutes late on a MWF schedule will be marked absent for the day.  That absence will become an unexcused absence, weighing against your total number of unexcused absences, if you cannot provide proper documentation.  If a quiz occurs, you can only make it up if you have a valid, documented excuse for your tardiness.  So be prepared and on time!

Late Assignments

Your assignments for this course, including speeches, essays, journals, and informal assignments, are due on the dates indicated in the class outline below or as indicated in class. Late assignments are not accepted.  All assignments must be posted on Blackboard, which applies a date/time stamp to them.  They must be posted BEFORE class in order to be marked as “on time.”  You may request (in advance) one two-day extension of the due date on the final draft of a major written assignment (not drafts).  Late assignments are not accepted unless a two-day extension has been requested and approved in advance of the deadline.  If you are absent on a day when an assignment is due, your speech is scheduled, or an exam is given, you will be allowed to hand in or make-up that work only if the absence is officially excused.


Part II of Student Rights and Responsibilities states that all academic work‚ written or otherwise‚ submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors‚ is expected to be the result of their own thought‚ research‚ or self–expression. See section 6.3.1; online at

In cases where students feel unsure about a question of plagiarism involving their work‚ they are obliged to consult their instructors on the matter before submission. When students submit work purporting to be their own‚ but which in any way borrows ideas‚ organization‚ wording or anything else from another source without appropriate acknowledgment of the fact‚ the students are guilty of plagiarism.

Plagiarism includes reproducing someone else’s work‚ whether it be published article‚ chapter of a book‚ a paper from a friend or some file‚ or another source, including the Internet. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own‚ whoever that other person may be. Plagiarism also includes using someone else’s work during an oral presentation without properly citing that work in the form of an oral footnote.

Whenever you use outside sources or information‚ you must carefully acknowledge exactly what‚ where and how you have employed them. If the words of someone else are used‚ you must put quotation marks around the passage in question and add an appropriate indication of its origin. Plagiarism also includes making simple changes while leaving the organization‚ content and phrasing intact. However‚ nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain.

You may discuss assignments among yourselves or with me or a tutor‚ but when the actual work is done‚ it must be done by you‚ and you alone unless the assignment has been designed to be conducted with a partner or small group of classmates. All work submitted must be new, original work; you may not submit work you have produced for another purpose or class, including a previous CIS or WRD 110 course.

Class Conduct

We will have fun this semester, and there will be a great deal of give and take in our discussions. But we will only have fun if you conduct yourself with respect for yourself and others. I expect you to

1)    come to class prepared (do all reading and come prepared to discuss it; do all homework) and take pride in the work you do

2)    offer support and encouragement to your classmates

3)    listen to others carefully before offering your opinion

4)    talk to me outside of class if anything that happens during class bothers you.

In order to maintain a productive work environment, I expect you to put away your cell phone and turn off its sound before each class period, as well as refrain from eating, sleeping, reading irrelevant materials, talking once class is in session unless asked to do so, and entering the classroom late or leaving early without permission. Additionally, laptop usage will be allowed only during appropriate workshops. Students who engage in behavior so disruptive that it is impossible to conduct class may be directed to leave for the remainder of the class period. See the UKY’s Code of Student Conduct for further information on prohibited conduct:

Peer Groups

Because most writers, educators, and other professionals must learn to work collaboratively, you will collaborate—cheerfully—with your peers both in and out of class. I will ask you to form groups early in the semester. You will work with this group often in class as well. Treat everyone in this class as a valued colleague, and you will have few problems. That means that you will honor all deadlines agreed to by your classmates as though I were the one who set them and in general be respectful. Consequences for “slacking” may result in anything ranging from a full letter grade deduction for the assignment to a zero (determined on a case-by-case basis).

Gender and Pronoun Reference

It is no longer customary to use the masculine pronoun for cases of indefinite pronoun reference, e.g., “When a professor grades papers, he is often swayed by a student’s degree of effort.” Instead, style books recommend changing pronouns to the plural form, e.g., “When professors grade papers, they are often swayed by a student’s degree of effort.” Some call this practice “gender-fair language.” Others just call it good sense. Regardless of the reason, it is standard procedure in professional settings and this class, so bring your gender-bender sentences to class so we can figure them out together.


The daily schedule may change during the semester. You will be responsible for checking the online syllabus and schedule before beginning your homework for each of our class meetings for any changes or updates. I will post all major assignments here and on Blackboard. If you lose an assignment page or handout, you are expected to get a copy from the website or Blackboard rather than from me. In general, all assignments will require a title, your name, my name, and the date, but this is particularly important for items posted to Blackboard. You are responsible for keeping back-up (I recommend several) copies of all your work since electronic texts can be lost.  Copies of work can be saved in the “Content Collection” area of your Blackboard account.  You are also responsible for checking to make sure that your assignments are posted to Blackboard on time, in the right location, and in the right format.


When communicating online, consider the conversations as having the same boundaries as any real life interactions. No personal attacks. If you happen to be attacked by a member of the class, it is best to let me handle it. If you feel compelled to respond, I recommend a request for information, e.g., “What makes you say that?” Responding in kind feels good momentarily, but escalating the flame will only quash discussion for the rest of us. In addition, do not download material to the class listserv or send messages to members in private or on Blackboard that could make other members of the class uncomfortable. Think of the class as a professional place, like an office, and your fellow classmates as fellow professionals. Within these guidelines, our online interactions should be an enjoyable and productive.

Writing Center / Multimodal Communication Lab

The Writing Center is located in W. T. Young Library, Thomas D. Clark Study, 5th Floor, West Wing (phone: 257-1368).  You can walk in or make an appointment online ( The staff can help you identify and correct problems with all aspects of your writing as well as work with you on visual design. If you have additional problems with your speaking, you may also go to the Multimodal Communication Lab in 106 Grehan (phone: 859-257-8370).  I recommend that you consider going to either location if you feel stuck at any stage of the communication process.

Students with Special Needs

If you are registered with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and require special accommodations to complete the work for this course, you must produce a letter from the DRC that details what you need before I can grant you these accommodations.  Special accommodations cannot be granted retroactively.  This is a non-negotiable class policy.  Please contact the DRC at 257-2754 if you have questions about your eligibility for special accommodations.