Your psychophysical presence is required in class. When you listen to views not your own, write notes to yourself about topics you hadn't yet considered, and voice publicly your reactions and analyses for others to learn from, you increase your own depth and breadth of learning immeasurably. Since I assume that students who are present in class are learning more than those who are not -- an assumption at least as useful as the assumption that students who do well on tests are learning more in class than those who are not -- I take attendance and use it as a component of your final grade.
Missing more than 3 class meetings will usually lower your final grade, as much as 1% per additional absence. Missing more than 10 class meetings may result in your being dropped from the class.
Absences due to Uncontrollable Natural Disasters (illness, family emergencies, alien abductions) will be "excused" but will be noted; excuses other than UNDs need not be recited.
If you begin to accumulate absences of any sort, you should see me to make sure you're getting what you need to from the course. You also need to plan to be alert during class. Students who are psychically elsewhere may be marked absent.
Lateness is allowed for (since past and present and future are, of course, all occurring all the time) but as in most places in our unremittingly linear society, it will not be without consequences.
Assignments are due at the start of class, not "any time that day," unless otherwise specified. Minor computer problems -- the crashing or loss of a single disk, the dying of one printer ribbon, the insensitivity of one person in the printer queue, the mistaken hitting of a "Delete" key -- are now a part of life. Such events will earn you sincere sympathy, but are not a consequence-free "excuse." Back up your files, and plan to print early; if you run into trouble, advance notification (see below) will lessen the penalty.
Late assignments will lose points. Without advance notification, they will generally lose 10% per calendar day. Grace periods may be granted if sought in advance of the due date; points may still be deducted but the penalty will be much less drastic (3-10% total).
Lateness due to Uncontrollable Natural Disasters will not incur penalties; it is the student's responsibility to provide explanation/documentation of such absences.
Note: Sports competitions, class trips, interviews, and other school-associated events are laudable endeavors, but are not Uncontrollable Natural Disasters. While a conscientious student should be able to "make up" most missed work, some crucial class experiences are "had to be there" events, particularly those involving small group discussions, and thus sometimes neither the experience nor its grade-equivalent can be "made up." Students planning such absences must take responsibility for checking the syllabus, informing the instructor well in advance, and completing applicable assignments in advance. They should also attempt to reduce other absences; if students' total absence count reaches 4 or higher, they must take responsibility for contacting the instructor to discuss class participation and grade credit.
Penalties for late assignments cannot be erased by revision.
Special cases will receive special consideration. Overwork, as you know from your friends' experiences, is not a special case. Alien abduction is a special case. Between the two lie a range of cases that can be discussed. Don't panic -- but do plan ahead when possible.
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