Shelley Reid .

English 302H27
Advanced Composition

Spring 2006  --  MW 3:00-4:15  --  IN 318
Professor E. Shelley Reid

Virtual Class Information


The Electronic Classroom and The Virtual Classroom: Assignments & Policies

Keep your computer screen focused on class activities:  While some net-surfing is no more distracting to a student than other common non-class-related activities (doodling, jotting down song lyrics, daydreaming), the Web is more tempting and interactive than a doodle, so an innocent little surf "just to check your inbox" can quickly consume 80-90% of your attention.  And while your neighbor is unlikely to be distracted by your daydreams, he may get sucked in by the dancing bears or blinking advertisements on your screen and miss an important piece of information. 

Students who must be reminded to keep their mouse-fingers under control during face-to-face class meetings will lose class participation points.

Virtual Class Meetings:  We have ten online class meetings scheduled this semester.  Each will require you to complete an assignment, post it to a small group of peers, participate in a discussion board, and/or evaluate someone else's writing. 

Virtual Class, Real Deadlines:  Since all VC exercises will have a collaborative element, just like all face-to-face classes, missing a VC deadline even by a few minutes is like showing up late to a car pool:  you make everyone else in the group late (and very grumpy!). 

Thus, missing a VC deadline without advance notice will have significant penalties. 

  • Latecomers -- anyone missing the first deadline by more than 10 minutes -- will lose class participation points:  half a point immediately, and another half point if the assignment is more than 12 hours late. 

  • Latecomers missing the first deadline will also earn at a 5% grade deduction on the Folder the day's assignment belongs to.

  • Slowpokes -- anyone missing the second or third deadline by more than 10 minutes -- will lose half a point from their class participation grade.

  • Note:  Over half of all final grades are likely to be within 2 points (1%) of earning a higher or lower grade.

Notifying Prof. Reid several hours before a deadline that you may miss will lessen the grade penalties.

Finally, any significant breach of civility in the Virtual Classroom could result in your losing some or all of your Peer Review and/or Participation grade points.  Everything you "say" is on record here: please act respectfully just as you would if you were in a face-to-face classroom.

What if my computer gets a virus or my disk crashes or my Internet connection dies?    Like inveterate carpooler Dagwood Bumstead, you get some leeway: you can use your one Crisis Pass to limit the late-work penalties, provided you find a way to contact Prof. Reid and find a way to make up your work.  Beyond that, you're on your own, so don't wait until the last minute to complete and post your assignments!

What if I'm sick or have to rescue a friend or am stuck in traffic?  These are all crises; you can use your Crisis Pass for the first one you encounter (but contact Prof. Reid as soon as possible).  If you know your life is crisis-prone, plan to complete your VC assignments early.  If you believe you have encountered a true Rare, Uncontrollable, Natural Disaster (see Space Time page), contact Prof. Reid.

What if the WebCT server crashes or a tornado strikes or aliens attack?  In case of a true system-wide or natural disaster, we will reschedule or change the assignment.  If you are on-time in starting a VC assignment but something crashes in the middle of it, or in the case of another kind of breakdown, contact Prof. Reid about making up part of the workshop.


The Five Virtual Classroom Commandments

You shall be early:  Be early in posting your writing, early in logging in, early to add a lively comment to a lagging discussion, early in providing feedback, because everyone's time is valuable and some people are actually busier than you are.

You shall treat your peers' documents as classified information:  These documents are entrusted to you and to you alone; you will not share them with others nor keep copies of them for yourself after the workshop is done.

You shall treat your peers as intelligent, hardworking, sensitive humans:  Sharing writing is risky business, so while it is important to give specific suggestions and to offer alternate views, remember to critique the idea rather than the person.  Remember that humorous teasing -- "You're so stupid! Just kidding!" -- often doesn't seem that funny when it comes in a class posting.

You shall represent yourself modestly:  While it is tempting, from the safety of your own computer, to proclaim great truths to the masses, you will endear yourself to your group members by indicating that your suggestions and comments are not to be taken as The Final Word.

You shall think twice before you hit "send":  Although the dialogue is informal, it is still a public, classroom situation with real human beings involved, so if you or any other human could be hurt, embarrassed, or legally liable if your words were broadcast on the JumboTron TV at a sports arena—or if your language would not make it into a "PG" film—do not post those words here. 


Last updated August 2005.Email Shelley Reid