Classroom Policy

Classroom Policy

In general, our classroom is to be a safezone, a place where we can share ideas with one another and engage in intellectual activities without fear of harassment. You will never be ridiculed for expressing your opinion or beliefs. This does not mean we cannot hold different perspectives or have classroom debates—diversity is a wonderful thing– but this does mean that everyone must respect one another’s differences. Asking insightful questions or challenging someone to back up a claim with evidence is very different from simply attempting to degrade someone or shutting down the conversation. Furthermore,
everyone deserves the chance to speak, and no one should dominate the conversation.  Those who choose to ignore this policy will face possible disciplinary action and a severe lowering of their class participation grade (up to 15% of your final grade).

Electronics in the Classroom

Obviously, we will be using technology in the classroom often. You are required to bring your laptop to class every week, and it is possible that some of you may use your cellphone for tasks assigned. I ask that you be courteous with your electronics use. Use electronic devices for class purposes only. If I constantly catch you texting or on Facebook, you will lose points on your grade. Furthermore, while I can tolerate you being rude to me, I will NOT tolerate you being rude to your classmates. If someone is giving a presentation or speaking during a discussion, your eyes should be on them, not your devices.

Please do speak with me if emergencies arise.

Plagiarism Policy

When you plagiarize, you are stealing, and you’re not just cheating a person out of the credit he/she deserves for his/her intellectual property, but you’re cheating yourself out a real learning experience. As a result, plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, will be met  with consequences ranging from redoing or failing an assignment to expulsion from the university.

Some reasons students plagiarize:
• They don’t know they have plagiarized. When in doubt, cite it. In my opinion, it is better to  overcite than not cite at all. If you paraphrase someone’s ideas or copy word for word, then give the person credit.

• They wait until the last minute and don’t have enough time to write a well-thought essay, so they decide to copy-and-paste, recycle a paper, use an argument they have read elsewhere, or rely on a friend/hired associate to write a paper for them.

• They view writing as an assignment and only an assignment.

• They have learned that copy-and-pasting a few words or simply finding synonyms for words in a text is not plagiarizing. It is.

• They are afraid to rely on their own knowledge and skills and think the experts must know better. “Experts” don’t always know best. If we simply accepted what they said without question, we’d be stuck in the Stone Age. Feel free to question and challenge authorities.

Know that I am never looking for you to write about the “right answer.” I am most interested in what you have to say and how you go about saying it. Can you imagine how boring it would be to read 20 versions of the same exact argument?

If you find yourself tempted by the Plagiarism Monster, consider some of the following options:
• Talk to your instructor. Perhaps you didn’t know this, but I do NOT want any of my students to fail. As a matter of fact, I would love it if everyone in my class earned an A. If you’re finding it difficult to make the grade or find time to complete your assignments, please come chat with me, and we can devise some strategies for success.

• Visit the Writing Center. The tutors at the Writing Center are trained to help students without feeding them words (which would be plagiarizing).
More about plagiarism and how to avoid it can be found at:
http://www.stjohns.edu/media/3/fff33cd05bf644dc9ea206b7cdf6c933.pdf

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