Course policies

Initiative and Responsibility: One of the most significant ways in which this course may differ from the other writing studios you’ve taken is the degree to which you will be expected to be responsible for and to initiate your own learning. For instance, when you are preparing for a presentation, you are responsible for determining what means will work best and for letting me know if you need some assistance from me to make things work.

My responsibility is to respond to your inquiries and requests for assistance, to offer whatever help I can, and to suggest alternatives when I don’t think I can offer substantial help; however, I will not be telling you what you should be doing. It is your job to determine what is appropriate and to ask questions when you don’t know.

Attendance and Participation:  You are expected to show up and participate in all class sessions, peer reviews, presentations, and out-of-class meetings with me and your writing partners. This requirement is fair to all students and consistent with what your future employer will expect of you.  Responses to drafts, presentations, etc. are time-sensitive and cannot be made up. Participation does not mean simply attending and being available; it means working collaboratively, responding promptly, thoughtfully, and constructively to one another’s writing, and generally being a resource for the rest of us. If you miss the equivalent of three weeks of classes (6 meetings) or more without any official documented excuse you may not be able to pass the course.

If you do have to miss a class, please consider the following:

  • Contacting me about an absence ahead of time is an appreciated courtesy, but not an excuse.
  • Do not email me to ask what you missed in class. Use this course site and/or Blackboard as your guide; reach out to your colleagues in this class when appropriate.
  • University-sanctioned absences (such as team travel) should be cleared with me early in the semester.
  • I do not give extensions or incompletes except in extreme instances (i.e. ongoing, officially documented illness or the sudden death of close relatives).

SU’s religious observances policy recognizes the diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to observe religious holy days according to their tradition. Under the policy, you are provided an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance provided you notify me before the end of the second week of classes. An online notification process is available through MySlice/Student Services/Enrollment/My Religious Observances from the first day of class until the end of the second week of class.

Late Work: Deadlines are crucial in professional contexts, whether for a job application, a client proposal, or a grant progress report.  They are similarly important in this course, where project planning and time management are part of the skill set you should be developing. Written assignments are due by the beginning of class or at the time specified for online submission. Major assignments (i.e. not blog posts or weekly assignments) are reduced by one letter grade per business day.  All major assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. In-class work cannot be made up.

Collaboration: You will be working in groups throughout the course.  This work will include drafting documents, organizing team roles, and preparing for class, as well as collaborating on the production of actual texts. Relying on others and negotiating differences in working styles and tastes can be frustrating, but it is also part of the way work is done in the world. Therefore, you will be expected to conduct yourself as a professional, to complete jobs on time, and to contribute to the success of the team and the class.

I expect for you to be able to use your social skills to resolve your basic differences on your own. However, if you find a particular collaborative situation to be unreasonable or irresolvable, please notify me so that I can help you resolve it. If you find yourself considering taking this step, use this test: in a real job, would this be an issue worth taking to your boss and soliciting managerial intervention? If so, then it’s time to let me know. If not, then find ways to work it out yourselves.

Professionalism and Respect: This course models the standards of professional conduct applicable in virtually any context. You are expected to behave professionally in your contributions to discussions, feedback given to your peers, interactions with the instructor, and, of course, in the work you do on class assignments. Respect works both ways. I do my best to be courteous and fair in all situations and at all costs. If you ever feel that you’ve been treated otherwise, come and talk to me about it.

Technology:  Computers and networked applications are a part of writing culture, especially in the workplace, and any professional writing course must address current technologies. Obviously, we will be using computers as a means of communication as well as a means of production.

All texts produced must be cross platform compatible; despite what we may hear, the reality is that the working world is a mixed platform environment. You are responsible for knowing how to save files in formats that anyone can read. In most cases, saving text files in Microsoft Word format (.doc, or .docx), for instance, is safe; I do not accept Microsoft Works, Word Perfect, or Microsoft Publisher files. Specific guidelines will apply to each assignment, but you should assume that all submissions of work will happen in digital formats. Much of class business will be conducted via this course site and email. We will use your SU email address; if you choose to use some other account, it is your responsibility to either (a) also check your SU account or (b) take care of forwarding your SU mail to that other account. You will be expected to check your e-mail daily and to respond promptly. All email messages to me regarding this class should include “307” in the subject line; otherwise, I cannot guarantee that I will respond promptly. All attached files should bear names that indicate the writer and the assignment (e.g., smithpaper1.doc).

We may be doing some writing for the web; however, the degree to which this will become a significant feature of your work will depend on the choices you make in the nature of your projects and your level of experience and interest. None of the things we’ll be working with require you to do any programming or have any special technical knowledge, but they do require that you be prepared to push yourself and ask questions when you need to.

In addition to the computer use that I assign, you will be responsible, just as you would be in the workplace, for using the technology in whatever ways will make your work more efficient and appropriate for the audience.

Academic Integrity: The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. The policy also governs the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. For more information and the complete policy, visit the Office of Academic Integrity’s website.

Fair Use:  Continued enrollment in this course will constitute permission for the instructor to use materials written for this course as samples in other classes or in research. Work will be presented anonymously in all situations.  Staying in the class beyond the add/drop period indicates to me that you have agreed to all of the above published principles and policies.