My Expectations for You!
Whenever you have a new class, one of the most important things to
learn quickly is what the teacher looks for from you. What are the
things that you I expect from you? How will I grade? How firm am I on
late homework, or missing an exam? What flexibility will I allow in your
postings? Usually, in an on-campus class, you can get a "sense" of your
teacher from how they talk, smile, joke, answer questions from other
students, their tone of voice, how sternly they read the syllabus, etc.
But in an *online* class, it can be MUCH harder to gauge your teacher.
And having been an online student for many, many years, I really do
understand that feeling of "not knowing your teacher" as well as with
1. I expect you to participate actively in our online class, logging in and posting something significant to the discussion board at least once a week.
Each week, instead of attending a lecture on campus, you'll participate in our class through Blackboard, making posts with your homework assignments, and reading and responding substantially to the posts of your classmates - just as if you were in class, listening and responding to others when they share ideas. A significant response is more than, "I agree" or "Good point." A significant posting should be something original you add to the discussion, a question you want to explore about the reading or homework, or perhaps a question about something you read in a magazine or newspaper, or heard about on TV or in the radio or movie, etc. You certainly can, and should, support your classmates when they say something you agree with, or when they ask a question you share as well. Don't expect that short replies to their notes constitute significant additions to the discussion. Aim for 50 words or so as a minimum target. If you write a great 40-word reply, don't worry - I'm not counting words that closely to establish grades. But if are writing 10-30 word responses, it will be clear, and your response credit will be reduced.
2. I expect your postings and communications to be professional at all times, neither hostile nor disrespectful to anyone in the class.
One of the hugely difficult things about online discussions is sometimes gauging whether the author is trying to be humorous or serious, whether they are angry or joking, whether they are emotional or just using words in a fashion different than you yourself might. Consider using "emoticons" to help you express just what you mean when you write! They will help your reader understand you meant a remark casually, or humorously :)
I will encourage you to participate in debates about controversial issues in our class, and don't want you to hold back on your emotions, nor avoid taking on someone with a different point of view. But you can do that effectively, and without hostility. If I see postings that are in some way inappropriate - too hostile, too personal, offensive, etc. I will immediately remove them, and notify the author privately about the problem. I'll expect that if this happens once, it is accidental. If it happens more than once, you may be locked out of the discussion, or in more serious cases, removed from the class. In other words, all of the normal codes for student conduct documented in Chabot's Handbook for students in on-campus classes also apply here.
3. I expect you to turn in homework on-time and according to the directions posted.
Our homework/quiz calendar is clearly posted, and assignments are available 24/7 via websites inside and outside of our online course system. For our online class, you'll need to do work at Mastering Astronomy, which requires your own userid and password. (See the syllabus for more information). And I'll also ask you to post some things to the discussion area, and to reply to the posts of other students.
Late discussion posts - even if perfect - will not be accepted without
some advance discussion with me that you will be late. Folks don't
read late posts to a discussion forum, that occur long after others have
posted, read, and moved on. (It will be OK if homework is submitted within an hour or
so of the online
deadline dates, so please do not worry if you have to make a post a few
minutes late. However, I understand that things happen, and you
might have intended to make a post, but found something came up.
You will have *one* opportunity to turn in any discussion post
(assignment or response) up to 3 days late without penalty.
And you can drop one of the 16 discussion assignments completely from
the overall course grade. So an accidental late post, and/or one
week where you cannot get the work done, will *not* hurt your overall
grade at all. But multiple late posts absolutely will affect your
4. I expect you to finish our exams on-time, during the week-long exam window I'll offer.
In our class, we have two exams, and you'll be able to submit your answers to the multiple choice questions and essays during a week-long exam "window". If for some reason work or home requirements means that you will not be able to finish the exam during the window, I expect you to notify me ASAP before the exam window opens. Telling me on the next to last day of the exam week that you cannot take the exam the next day is not sufficient. If you do not notify me that you will miss an exam, you will receive zero points, without exception. Treat it like a job interview.
If you leave the exam to the last minute of the last day, and a
problem arises with your computer or internet provider, do not expect to
re-take or re-submit the exam late. If you will delay, and aim for the last day, you
should be *very* sure of your internet and computer.
5. I expect that all research you do on your homework and exams will include a bibliographic citation, and that you will not pass off work copied from other sources as your own.
One of the largest issues in online learning, and in online business today, is copyright. If you use material from another online source (or even from a different textbook), I expect that you will include at the end of your homework a "works cited" bibliographic list, with full information. This applies to ALL resources you use outside of our textbook, including those I provide.
This means that providing a URL that you visited is not sufficient - I want you to find out the author, the institution, the date of creation or last update, the page title, etc. If you can't find this information, don't use the site as your only reference. Find another site, one you can reference completely, and use that information. You can always include the partial citations from other sites you visit, but you cannot get credit for any research you do without documenting your sources.
This is a "hot button" for me. I'll give you a few chances
get this wrong, asking you to resubmit your work correctly. After
the midterm, if you still neglect to include or correctly format your
you will not receive credit for that portion of the homework. Look in
the START HERE area of our class for more information about citation
expectations and assistance on how to format your work.
6. I expect you to ask questions, and let me know if you are lost or confused!
I'll do my best to proactively check on your progress in our course, and to email you if I see that you are missing concepts or making some errors. But in a large class, especially an online class where some folks will be logging in at totally different days and times from others, it is very difficult to keep track of everyone. Help me by asking questions! You can always "raise your hand" in class by posting something to the discussion board, which will be visible to the entire class. And, you can also always email me within our online course privately, which means no one else will see your question but me. And please don't think that I will not want to see your questions! :)
If you do find that the on-line course is not to your liking, and is not working for you, please do let me know by phone or email, or just a note under my door. It is important to me to know why our class did not work, and you can help me improve it significantly for future students by explaining what didn't work for you.
Please let me know if you have *any* questions about anything mentioned above. I'll do whatever I can to help you succeed in our class; give me a chance to help you!
SH - 8/13